Updated: Dec 21, 2021
"If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, WRITE IT." - Beverly Cleary
Recently, I have answered the question "what motivates you to write?" quite a number of times. I have been given limited time and limited space to do so (Twitter in particular limits my ability to answer this question). This being the case, I thought I would expand on the reason I write today.
I do not know when I began writing. I suppose every child begins writing at an early age for school. I suspect I was writing lengthy stories and poems even before I was required to write them for school, though just as I read well beyond my reading level. It wasn't until I was 12, however, that my mother inspired me to write beyond what I was already doing. I was an unpleasant 12-year-old. Actually, unpleasant doesn't truly cover it. I was nasty. Cruel. A horrible child. In an attempt to banish the monster in me, my mother took me away on a mother-daughter trip on my twelfth birthday (a trip that had originally been planned for my 13th), and in the car on the way to Vacaville, she gave me a pen and a notebook and told me I was made to be a writer.
I remember little else about the trip (except that we went to the Jelly Belly Factory which was awesome). I know that I came home unchanged except that now, I was inspired to be a writer (I was still a horrible child though so in that case the trip hadn't helped).
From that point on, I wrote with the intent of publishing. For a long time, I got nowhere. I started and stopped books for years. I even tried to compile portions of half-written books, poems, journal entries, and devotions into a notebook kind of book that was to be entitled something like "The Journal of a Middle-Schooler" except that I did not finish it.
I remember the first time I finished a full-length novel. It was on a family trip. I still had tendonitis, the surgery for which was scheduled for about a month away. It was on this trip that I injured my shoulder and began a terrible medical journey that did change me from being a horrible child into being a kinder adult (even if I do say so myself).
It was also on this trip that I finished the first draft of what I was sure could be the next installment of the Percy Jackson series (I believe it was called The Fate of Olympus and though it was once on Wattpad, I seem to have at some point taken it down as I cannot find it). I was so sure that once I finished it, I contacted Rick Riordan in every way I knew and tried to get him to let me publish it like that. Finally, I came across something that told me that he legally could not publish it as the next installment of the Percy Jackson series. I was still proud though. I had finished a novel-sized book! It was the next step!
It was around this time that I came up with the idea for the Once Upon a Tome series and though I wrote the first draft of the Cinderella book (which I have previously mentioned will not see the light of day) before The Criminal I was thankful to get the practice of a second full-sized novel beneath me before starting on what I hope will be the book I publish through a publisher. I then of course published my poetry anthology Imagine This: From Pain to Possibility before finishing the most recent draft of The Criminal.
So why do I write? Is it still because of my mother? Or is it something more?
I do write because my mother inspired me. I write for all those who have told me my writing is good, amazing, spectacular. I write for my Dad who told me my poetry made him cry and for my 5th-grade teacher who collected our writing for us in binders to give to us upon graduation. I write for every English teacher I have ever had who encouraged me and I write for my beta readers who have told me they like my books.
But I write for more than that. I write because I love my stories. I write because when I start to talk about my books, I get excited. I write because I could talk about my books for hours and never stop. I write because my books inspire me and make me happy and I want to share that inspiration and excitement with others. I write because I have found enjoyment in The Lunar Chronicles and The Red Queen Series and Talon and in so many other book series and single books and I have a dream that someday I could be the one that brings a reader enjoyment or inspires them to write their story.
And I write because it is my passion. I plan on doing two things in life (two clarify: two things for money because I plan on doing many more things which I am not paid for). I plan on writing and I plan on working in youth ministry. I am blessed to have found a passion for these two things both of which I can be paid for.
I write not because I think I could make millions but because I have a passion and because I want to inspire.
Why do you write?