Tag Archives: Why do you write

What if Only One Person Reads My Books?

writingThis thought has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if you’re doing what you’re supposed to as a writer. Doubt is always there, lurking in the back of your mind. My rankings are down, should I still be writing? My royalty check makes me blush, should I still be writing? I feel like I’m letting my publisher, agent, etc… down, should I still be writing?

Is anyone even reading my books?

So as I was once again re-evaluating if I should be writing (aka, I’m not feeling like I’m successful and wondering if my life would be better served doing something else), I had this thought: what if only one person ever reads my books? Then I took it a step further. What if what I was writing was meant for just one person? That God wanted me to spend my lifetime writing multiple series for a person who I will never meet, but someday would need to read my books because through those books God would change them? And not just one book, but God would use all of my books to help that one person?

Would it be worth it?

Would it be worth all the hours I pour into writing, the sacrifices I make so I can make time to write every day, the other “good things” I could be doing, but instead I am writing? Honestly? In my flesh that thought makes me cry. Just one person? But as I pondered this thought, I realized that God would do that, because of that one soul.

When we think of God doing above and beyond what we can imagine, we think of grandiose plans and ideas. But what if God’s plans involve a lonely writer, writing her heart out for the rest of her life, then connecting her books to one person who needs to read those books—every single one of them—and by reading them, comes to know God his or herself?

That’s exactly how God would do things…because to Him the value of a soul is priceless. He would do anything to reach people, including using the lifetime of a writer and all of her books to reach that other soul.

This thought has plagued me over and over again for the last few weeks. What if only one person ever reads my books? And not just one book, but will read everything I will ever write, and by doing so will connect with God? Is that worth it?

Yes.

That’s not to say sometimes I wish I had more to show for my writing, but when my focus is on God, it’s then I believe that what I am doing is not in vain, even if it might be for just one person. After all, every soul is precious to God. And that makes writing worth it.

How about you? Are you struggling with what you’re doing? Do you wonder if it’s worth it or is it time to throw in the towel? I can’t tell you yes or no, but I can tell you anything you do with open hands held up to God is never in vain, even if you don’t see the results.

Thick Skin

I never really liked the term “thick skin.” The Urban Dictionary defines thick skin as the ability to withstand criticism and show no signs of any criticism you may receive getting to you. In the writing business, a writer is expected to have thick skin. After all, it is one of the few professions where you put your heart and soul out for the world to critique you in a very public way.

RhinoThe reason I never liked the term is because many times it seems thick skin goes deeper, into a hardening of the heart. But if my heart is hard and calloused, how can I write from my heart? And how does one develop this “thick skin” that supposedly saves you from the hurt and doubt that comes from criticism?

Those were the thoughts I had this morning. I’ve been writing for years, I have two published books with another one soon to be released, and finaled in a couple awards.

I don’t have thick skin. What I do have is experience. It is not success that builds thick skin, it is disappointment. No matter how much you prepare for that first hard hitting review or intense criticism, it still hits hard. It is in that moment that you start to figure out who you really are as a writer.

Who do you write for? Why do you write? It is the answer to these questions that keep you going. This is your “thick skin.” No matter what other people say, you know deep down this is why you do what you do.

Who do I write for? Honestly? I write for myself. Yep. I don’t write for an audience, I don’t even write for God, although my writing becomes an outpouring of my questions, awe, and understanding of God.

Here’s why: audiences are fickle. Their tastes can change from year to year. If I were to tailor my writing after my audience, I would be chasing the wind and find disappointment when what I wrote doesn’t match up with what the current audience desires. If I am going to spend a couple hours a day for a year or more on a novel, I am going to write the story that burns inside of me. Granted, that may mean I don’t find an audience for my story, but I will have spent the better part of my time enjoying what I did.

Why do I write? I am a storyteller. I have these stories with complex characters thrown into awful situations and I have to figure out how they survive! As I start to write the story, I connect with the character. I feel what they feel. I understand their past and why they ended up in this situation. I ask the same questions they are asking.

This is my thick skin. When I receive a review that hurts, I remind myself why I write. No matter what the person says, he or she cannot take that away from me. When someone dislikes a character or scene, I take it in stride. I wrote for myself. I won’t please everyone. As long as I am pleased with the character or scene, then that is enough for me.

How about you? What is your “thick skin”? Why do you write and who do you write for?

 

Why Do I Write?

Ink and quillToday I was encouraged by post by my friend Mike Duran titled Your Reason to Keep Writing. This post came at a time where I was once again wrestling with the question, “Why I do I write?”

I struggle with this question at least once a month. I’m not wildly successful, at the top of the charts, or have thousands of reviews, the measurement stick of how the world would define my success as an author. So why put in all this effort, all this time, if the pay out for writing is peanuts?

But as I was talking to Dan this morning, I realized I write because I have stories burning inside my heart, stories about God. I have to write. If I didn’t, I think the words inside me would overflow.

I get discouraged sometimes, or afraid that I won’t finish the rough draft of my latest story, or secretly wonder if I would be more productive if I chose something else to fill my writing time, like a job. But I keep coming back to writing. Everytime.

I write the stories in my heart. I must. And when my story touches the heart of another, even better.

How about you? Why do you write? What keeps you going when you just want to give up?