Why Write?

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I am a writer.

I’m not a published writer. I’m not always a very good writer.

But because I love to put words on a page that express something, whether that be a story, a message, an emotion, an idea–I’m a writer.

When I was younger, writing was all about the stories that are trapped in my head, banging away at my skull. You know that quote about writing and schizophrenia?

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

-E.L. Doctorow

Well, I confess that the characters in my head are almost as real as the people around me. Believe me, I’ve gotten some strange looks when I’ve said that out loud, but just ask any fiction writer and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Now that I’m older, I still have stories that beg to be told, but I also write some nonfiction. I don’t count my academic papers in this category, but the creative essays or rambling thoughts I put down on paper. A lot of this ends up being focused around my horse, which is awesome. Poetry–well, as my friend Katie and I say, “We were not born under a rhyming planet.” Or any poetry planet, for that matter. It just doesn’t work for me.

I used to struggle a lot with using my writing for God. I still do, but I’ve realized that even if God Himself isn’t present in person in my writing, I work to use themes and ideas that reveal Him and His love for us. I like to start my characters out broken, and then try to heal them, and I hope that even if God isn’t in my story, people can see His hand in it. There are plenty of stories I come up with that don’t directly honor God, and I have to decide if I want to put that on paper. Sometimes the point is showing the brokenness of this world. Sometimes that story should not be written at all. It’s something that I continue to wrestle with.

I want to influence other people through my writing. I want to make them think, even for a moment, about seeing things differently or about something that is completely new. I’d say I want to change the world through my writing, but that sounds pretentious. I do want to change one person’s world. I don’t know who that person is or how it will happen, but if I influence even one person positively, I’ve done well.

Some of my favorite authors have had tremendous impacts on me at different points in my life. Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion trilogy. L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon trilogy. Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. I could go on and on, but the point is that writing can change people.

I want to write so that I can touch someone else the way those authors touched me. I want to make them feel the emotions of the characters, feel the beauty or ugliness of a description. I want to write so powerfully that it takes people’s breath away.

Can I do that? Not yet. Will I ever? By the grace of God, yes.

Why do I write?

I want to give other people the same pleasure reading my stories that I get from reading others.

I like to make the words represent the pictures and characters in my head.

Writing is how I make sense of the world around me.

I want to be God’s hands and feet in this world, and this is the talent He has given me.

Because sometimes I just want to tell a rockin’ good tale.

Because I always have a story.

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