Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017!
In honor of ringing in the new year, I decided to take time to reflect on why I write. Not only to understand why I do, but to give myself a starting point of understanding my process and to help me harness that energy into my writing goals and blogs for 2017.
After reading Barbara O’Connor’s blog last month while doing research for my review of her book, Wish, I saw the following post.
“But writer’s of children’s books are rewarded in many ways besides money.”
It really hit me, what motivates me to write? I am drawn to writing books for middle grade and YA readers. I want them to read something that makes an impression and helps them through those tough teenage times. If they read one of my books and get a little advice that helps them out of a spot, or helps them avoid getting into that spot in the first place, I have accomplished something for my reader.
I started writing in diaries as a young girl. Sharing my day to day thoughts in them. I still have them in my hope chest. I have picked them up from time to time and looked at some of the entries. Some were as simple as went to the grocery store with dad today to being a recount of a hard day at school where I was not chosen to be on the team with who I saw as the “cool” kids.
My love for reading then and now has just added to my creative mind for storytelling. When my brother and I played with the other kids in the neighborhood, I could come up with some pretty good scenarios for our imaginative play. When we played school, I was always wanting to be the teacher. My parents commented that might have been a sign for what my career path should be. In college, I started an accounting degree but completed a sociology degree, so I could teach middle grade social studies. At the time I received my Bachelors, there was a surplus of teachers and not many teaching jobs available. So, instead of pursuing a master’s degree in teaching, I decided to go back and complete my other major idea, accounting, where I could almost always find a job.
Teaching is still in my blood. I can feel the draw to it when I sit down and work on my novels. I hope that my books will let them know that there are options to get through those tough spots and adults are pulling for them to do the right thing. And that us adults may know a thing or two about what they are going through.
When I started the process of writing and publishing a novel, I had a rose colored picture of what the process is really like. Over the last four years while writing The Hard Way, I’ve learned how much work it really takes to write and publish a book. When I think about being a writer, I imagine going to schools and libraries to do readings and be with the kids. O’Connor’s blog talks about welcome author signs on the door of the schools she goes to visit. Kids and parents reactions to her books. Just reading these things in her blog reinforces some of the core ideas of what my motivation to write is all about.
I think the other reason that I write is I truly have a passion for it. The writing itself, the editing, the long nights working though a certain part of a story that just won’t come together. To be able to work through the hard parts of anything, you have to have perseverance and faith. The ability to work out solutions to get through the roadblocks and the faith that you can do it and it will all work out in the end. But just remember, be open to the fact the process may not work out as you might want it to. Sometimes the end result is something completely different than what we would have ever expected. Be open to this opportunity if it is presented to you.
So, the answer to why I write? I have a passion for the process and a drive to relate a message to my audience, middle graders and young adults. The energy that my passion and drive create is what I’m going to put into my writing for 2017 and beyond.