Why do you write?
Posted by Cynthia Justlin Sep 18 2012, 12:01 am
The answer seems so simple. I write because it makes me happy. I write because I have to. I write because the voices in my head make me.
But, lately, as I work on the follow-up book to my romantic thriller, EDGE OF LIGHT, I’ve struggled with this question. Struggled to find the emotional connection to my characters. And when I asked myself, why are you writing this book? The answer that came out was—because it’s what I’m supposed to do.
What I’m supposed to do? I’m the one who proposed the idea of writing a story for a secondary character from Edge of Light. Nobody twisted my arm and told me to write his story. So, why was I suddenly feeling obligated to write a book that I was initially super excited about?
I’m sure published authors on deadline can relate to this. You’re writing a story that you’re under contract to write, you know you have to get it done, and the pressure can sometimes take the joy out of your writing. But even unpublished authors can face the challenge of finding an emotional connection to a book that’s falling flat.
So, how do you fix it? For me, I went back to asking myself, why do you write? The answer: I write, not only because I want to entertain people with an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, thrilling, emotional, romantic read, but also because I want my books to speak to people, to make them think. I want them to come away from my books having learned something about life and love, something that sticks with them long after the last page has been turned.
And as I answered that, I could feel the drive to write this book rush back into my heart. But it wasn’t enough, because there’s a follow-up question we should be asking every time we start a book. Why do you have to write this book?
I had to think about it for a while. Why do I want to write a book about a hero that can’t remember his past and a heroine that can’t forget? What do I want to say to my readers? And I realized, that this book is about so much more than the hero regaining lost bits of his memory or the heroine struggling to do her job because she’s so emotionally involved. It’s about learning to let go. Learning to forgive. Learning that mistakes of the past don’t have to define what kind of person you are in the future. That’s what I want to say to my readers.
So, this is just your friendly author-to-author reminder that sometimes we need to stop what we’re doing and re-examine both why we write and why we have to write the book that’s making us tear our hair out. If we find the emotional connection, we’ll find the drive to tell the story.
Why do you write? And what compels you to write the book you’re working on right now?