January 26, 2009 – Why Write?

Why would anyone want to write for publication? Writing takes time, mental effort, emotional energy, and continual work to improve the craft. In the end you send your very best effort to a total stranger who, likely as not, will reply months later with a form rejection letter.


So why bother?


Some write to become rich and famous. A select few actually reach that goal. But most would get rich faster by working at a minimum wage job.  Even quite successful writers may publish many books and still find that few people remember their name.


Some write for the sheer joy of expressing themselves. This certainly helps. If you hate to write, you probably won’t last long in the writing business.


Many people want to become published authors. They may read a few writing books and attend a few conferences. Many also fizzle when they discover the learning curve to the process and the discipline required to publish regularly. Few will succeed until they have answered this question well—“Why do I want to write?”


I can’t answer that question for you, but I can tell you why I write.


First let me start with Amy. When she was six years old her family prepared to go to Taiwan as missionaries. Amy wondered what it would be like to live in Taiwan and prayed that God would help her to make friends in Taiwan.  When she got on the plane to fly to Taiwan for the first time, her family presented her with my book Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World. Here was a fictional girl named Amy Kramer who also went to Taiwan with her missionary family. The real Amy read my book over and over. It helped her know what to expect in Taiwan. She read my book about twelve times in her first term in Taiwan. Then she and her mom wrote me to thank me for writing the book. I get the sense that my book helped her respond to her new life in a positive way.


That’s why I write.


OK. That was unusual. Amy “just happened” to be placed in a situation that bore a striking resemblance to my book. But the principal is true on a smaller scale. In 1990 I published a filler with only 125 words in a Sunday School take-home paper. I received $6 for it. The paper was given to adults in about 15,000 churches. Most probably skimmed through my article and threw it away with no further thought. But two people wrote me. The short article on gossip had challenged them. One posted the article on her desk to help her to remember to be careful about her words.


That’s also why I write.


I get very little fan mail. But a simple article that gets into the hands of tens of thousands of people is bound to help a few. It makes a difference. My number one goal in life is to make a difference for God. And so I write.


Maybe you feel God leading you to write. You have a strong desire, but you are discouraged with the process. Hang in there. You can find ways to improve your craft. Some of those ways are listed on this website. I will recommend good books and conferences that can help you as well. Good marketing strategies can greatly improve your chances of acceptance. Many things that look impossible can be learned step by step. This one is for sure—if God wants you to write for publication, and you follow His leading, you will become a published author.


Don’t give up. I’m praying for you!

One thought on “January 26, 2009 – Why Write?

  1. Hi Deb, Thanks for these encouraging words. I love to write. When I write I never look at the clock. I have written so much and my computer files are full of “stuff” I have written making Christian applications or to help believers. But I want the things I write to count for Christ ~ for eternity. I am so blessed to have you in my life.
    I believe you are a major part of God’s plan for me. Especially Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

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