I think if you ask just about any writer why they write, you’d get some version of, “I can’t not write.” We’re the sort of people who live for story, who want to tell the rest of the world what we’ve seen and experienced.
We’re the people who come home from the grocery store with a tale about what happened in the cereal isle and a new idea for a book based on what we overheard the check-out clerk saying to another customer.
The question that can be harder to answer is why writers keep writing. Because no matter how many contracts, good reviews, awards, and accolades come your way, those one and two-star reviews still sting. The less than stellar sales undermine your confidence. And while you try not to, you compare yourself to that other writer–the one who’s doing better than you–and you wonder why you bother.
And then . . .
Then you check your e-mail or your Facebook messages or even your mailbox and you find a note from a reader. And they read and loved your story, were maybe even changed by it. And just like that, you know why you keep writing. I received one such note just yesterday.
“I have just completed ‘Until the Harvest.’ I was drawn in and so happy to once again be a part of Perla, Casewell, and Emily’s lives. Henry’s devastating realization that there may not be a tomorrow with a loved one is something that we all experience at one time in our lives. Your characters do have a sense of being so real and also so indicative of the wonderful people in Appalachia! Thank you so much for carrying me back to the mountains and the special people who live there! I lived in the mountains of North Carolina in the time frame of ‘Until the Harvest.’ I met sweet mountain people who would give you the shirt off their backs as well as those like Clint Simmons who were suspicious of anyone who should venture down the lane. My father-in-law and my husband one time were going to make an estimate for seamless guttering and were met in the yard by the man who lived there holding a shotgun. By far the best of the book was the last chapter. The resolution . . . spoke to my heart as well as my husband’s! I had to share the last chapter with him and we both were teary eyed when I read it to him. Once again thank you and I look forward to ‘A Tapestry of Secrets!’ Blessings to you and take care of yourself!”
There. That’s why I write.