Why Do I Write?

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This question has been rolling around in my mind for a while, especially as I went through my AP Language & Composition class this last year in school. Why do I write? Or maybe the question would be, more appropriately, What do I want to accomplish with my writing?

I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I have old notebooks with drawings and half-finished stories and stuff I wrote for school. Stories come to my mind, ideas, wondering “what if…?” and thinking of what people’s lives might be like.

Writing has always been a part of me. I write because I love thinking of stories, of characters, of making worlds and plots and delighting in how they all fit together. I can’t imagine life without writing (though I still manage to procrastinate it).

But as I attended my English class last year, new questions came to my mind. Should I be writing for a greater purpose? Is my writing supposed to accomplish more than just pleasure?

We read books–classics–and I realized that the reason these books were classics was because they talked about problems in our world. My teacher said once that “Many books come from exaggerating one idea or belief and looking at the results.” Racism, communism, class differences, scientific thought, and so on–we read about them. Discussed them. Thought about them and what needed to be changed.

And I began to wonder: when people read my writing, will it change them?

I’ve always loved fantasy, but I’ve never yet read a fantasy book in school. Is that because they don’t talk about world issues, or just because heroism isn’t classified as something the world needs?

Maybe both.

I love the idea of heroism–and I believe it is something the world needs. We could learn so much from reading The Lord of the Rings in school–strength, heroism, friendship, the battle between good and evil, the struggle to resist temptation. Isn’t better moral character what the world needs?

But that seems to be slipping away in books. It’s hard to find a popular book that doesn’t swear or have innuendos or bad scenes…or actually shows the consequences of bad choices.

We, as humans, are so attached to stories, and so the characters within them become our heroes. We want them to win. We want to become like them. Even if it’s not in very significant ways. Even if it’s just me wanting to be a little more selfless or a little more kind or a little more forgiving.

That is what I want my writing to accomplish. That is why I write: because we need more heroes in the world.

So my books might not become classics, and people won’t read them in school, but so what? I don’t want my books to be a social critique, I want them to be inspiring, to show that there is a difference between right and wrong, and that right is better.

What do I want to talk about? I want to talk about what true love really is or should be (not shallow, not instant, not physical), the difference between right and wrong and why, how emotions like grief, fear, and hurt can be changed to hope, how one person really can change the world, true friendship, forgiveness, love, truth

Yes, I do love writing about wars, dragons, fantasy cultures and religions, and fairy tales, but that’s the outer wrapping. In essence, those things are what I want to write about. I know that God has given me this gift of writing for a reason–and, I think, a love for fantasy. There are people I can reach and touch, and that is my goal: to change the world by changing people, one story and one hero at a time.



tell me!

Why do you write? What do you want to accomplish with your writing? Or, how do you think you might have been blessed to be able to change the world? What is your passion? Are there any topics that you think go unaddressed too much in writing? What is the strongest type of hero, do you think?

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Finding Happiness in a Jealous World

There is so much talent in this world. So much that, at times, it’s really hard not to feel bad about ourselves or jealous of others. There’s so much comparison in the world, and we want to be the best. Or, sometimes, it’s not even that. Sometimes we just want to be as good as someone else, and we’re not.

As a writer, it’s hard not to be jealous of others; just think of the millions of books that have been published. Apparently, the statistic (from a quick search on Google) is that a million books are published in a year in the U.S. That’s strong competition. The questions start to creep in: will I ever publish a book? Will someone ever read my writing and love it? Everyone is telling me that I’m a young writer, that I won’t be published for years, and sometimes it is so hard to keep the dedication.

In some ways, it’s even harder to not be jealous of the people close to us. Even writers that I’m close to, that I love and are amazing and I should wish all the best for them, I sometimes feel a twinge of jealousy when they seem to be progressing so much farther or so much faster than I am.

The world is so full of competition and self-pity. We see someone who has practiced art for years paint something and say to ourselves, “I wish I was that talented,” and when someone asks us to draw something, we say, “I can’t.”

Tell me, what has happened when you have told a girl she was pretty? 90% of the time the reaction is “What? No, I’m not. What are you talking about?” I can’t tell whether it’s because they really are confused by the compliment, or if they want the compliment to continue; they want reassurance that they really are beautiful.

You are.

You are beautiful. You are talented. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially if it’s yourself.

But maybe the reason the world is like this is because we made it this way. In our jealousy, in our pity, we’ve become self-centered. When others have accomplishments, because of our lack of them, we have no joy in them. In fact, sometimes we even wish that others would not have done such a wonderful thing so that we wouldn’t feel so bad.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Just think of how wonderful this would be: whenever someone had a good day, you had a good day, too. Whenever someone accomplished something, you shared in their joy. Whenever you saw someone making a difference, you were happy that the world was a better, brighter place, and you were encouraged, not discouraged. As one of my teachers put it, “Life would be a party all the time.”

Isn’t that what we want life to be like? We want to be happy. But we mistakenly believe that this will come by others praising us for what we do, or from being better than other people.

Happiness doesn’t come from the outside in. It comes from the inside out. Only you have the power to decide whether you are happy or not. When people used to tell me that, I didn’t understand what they meant when I was so sad. But I think I understand now.

It means that when someone accomplishes something, you choose whether to be happy or jealous. It means that when someone is better than you, you choose whether to use them as a model or to covet their position. It means that when someone gives you constructive criticism, you choose whether to honestly receive it or to push it away because you don’t want to change.

It’s hard. I will freely admit that, that right now, in the short-term, making that decision to put others in front of yourself is hard. But happiness is worth it, and it becomes easier every time you make that decision.

I challenge you: make the choice. Say “thank you” when someone compliments you, and pay it forward by complimenting others. Share in the joy of other people’s accomplishments. Smile at people. Serve others. Work hard. You will be happy, and you will find your worth.

There is a quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a leader in my church, that I think describes this perfectly. “We become more substantive as we serve others. Indeed, it’s easier to find ourselves because there’s so much more of us to find.”

The Lady of the Vineyard Blog Tour + Character & Author Interview

This is an exciting post because I get to be one of the blogs that opens the blog tour for The Lady of the Vineyard, a novella by Kellyn Roth, who you may know from her blog, ReveriesYou also may have noticed her from the rather long comment chains we tend to make responding to each other’s posts.

Kellyn is a homeschooled author and she’s already self-published one novel, The Dressmaker’s Secret, which is a historical fiction novel. BUT that is not what our post is about. This post is about The Lady of the Vineyard, which…is also a historical fiction novel.

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and can I just take a moment to flail at you about how a cover I made is going to be on a published book? *MUCH FLAILING*

By now I’m sure you’re absolutely dying to hear the synopsis of the book, so no more waiting, I’ll just give it to you:

Judy has lived with her egocentric mother since her parents divorced when she was a baby. When her father, Troy Kee, shows up at her sixth birthday party and whisks her away to his vineyard in France, Judy is more than happy to go with him. But Adele, Judy’s mother, isn’t quite ready to give up her daughter. Can Judy forgive Adele? More importantly, can Troy?

The Lady of the Vineyard tells an amazing story of change, growth, and love, and it’s going to be published on September 10th–in two days! But if you don’t want to wait that long, you can preorder the Kindle version on Amazon.

And now, to the fun stuff! I was able to interview both a character from and the author of The Lady of the Vineyard for the blog tour, and so I chose to interview Judy, the serious six-year-old girl this story is about.


Interview with Judy

Did you ever think about your father much before the story began?
No, I guess not. I knew he was somewhere … but nobody ever talked about him. I mean, Aunt Lola did sometimes, but she didn’t visit all that often.
What is your favorite thing about your mother? Your father?
My favorite thing about my mother is that she is beautiful. My favorite thing about my father is that he is wonderful.
Would you rather spend time with other people, or on your own?
I’d usually rather spend time with other people, but I like being with Daddy a lot.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I don’t think I have one yet.
What do you want, more than anything else in the world?
I just want to stay in one place and have everything be the same. I don’t want things to change all the time anymore.

But change is fabulous and that is what this story is about–how hard change can be…and then how amazing the results can become! Isn’t that awesome?

Afterward, I got to interview Kellyn Roth, the author of The Lady of the Vineyard, about…well, author-y things!


Interview with Kellyn Roth

What inspired the characters in The Lady of the Vineyard?
I think for once I made character to fit a story instead of visa-versa. 🙂 Of course, they ended up jumping off the pages eventually, but y’know, their basic personalities were pre-determined.
Who really encouraged and inspired you to publish?
My friends, especially my friend Bailey, were always encouraging me too, and then NaNoWriMo (YWP, of course) is so awesome for encouraging young writers to write and write and write! But I think mostly if helped a lot to get my blog set up and feel like I was official.
What book(s) are you currently working on?
Ivy Introspective (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book 2) is really what I need to focus on what now … but I’m also plotting out At Her Fingertips (Book 3). And … writing random bits of writing based on every plot bunny I can catch.
What was the biggest thing you learned while writing The Lady of the Vineyard?
The Prohibition didn’t happen in England. Or France. XD
Not really. But that’s a hard thing to pinpoint. I suppose one of the things I learned is that oftentimes my philosophical rambles don’t make sense – at least not outside of my head – and it’s sometimes better just to do something that actually makes sense.
And … that didn’t make sense. 😛
What is the best part of writing and being an author?
Being able to control everyone. *evil laughter*


Be sure to head on over to Reveries and congratulate Kellyn on the publishing of her novella and to check out the rest of her blog tour! And if you’re looking for a short and sweet story to read, The Lady of the Vineyard is just the book for you.