Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Occasionally, when I present my program on publishing to junior high students (grades 6, 7 and 8 in the US), I get the question – “Why do you write books?”

It’s usually asked by a student who hates anything to do with composition. But, if you think about it, it’s really an excellent question. Why do I write? Let me try and explain.

First, money is not the most important reason, although that’s usually what the kids answer when I ask what they think. They are certain writing a book is an easy way to make a bundle of dollars. They’re not happy when I tell them few authors make a lot of money. There are some exceptions of course, but even if you go back in history, few authors, then or now, made a lot of money.

You should hear the groans when I tell them the primary reason I write is that I have to write. However, it’s true. The characters running through my mind require I tell their stories.

However something special occurs when I write a novel. For a time, I get to dwell in another time, get to become another person, live a different life. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with my life, but I’ve always been a daydreamer. Writing romances fulfills all the daydreams I could ever have.

No matter if today I am a villain, or the next day I’m a lonely heroine, crying out for attention, or justice, or romance, I still get to be all kinds of people. Because I usually write in a historical time period, I also learn how people lived years before. In fact, researching a book is often nearly as much fun as writing the thing. And putting my tales on paper affords me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Is writing a novel hard work? You better believe it. Sometimes your characters won’t behave the way you want them to, or the plot takes an unbelievable twist and your whole concept changes. The ability to use appropriate words is critical and it can be a struggle to find just the right word or phrase. The actual writing, either on paper or on the computer, is physical work. So yes, writing is definitely hard work, but when you love what you do….

Visit Allison at www.AllisonKnight.com


Kimber Chin said...

Great post Allison.

Why do I write?

Definitely not for the money. That is why I waited until now (when I'm semi-retired) to write. I didn't want to have any money concerns taking away the joy.

I write romances based in the business world because I LOVE business and I want to share that love with other women.

Too often you'll read a book about a successful businessman or woman and read that they really want to be a writer or an artist. That's bullsh**. They're successful only because they love it (as is true in any other field). They love the game. They love business.

As do I. Business is exciting. Business is sexy.

Carol said...

I write because it's like playing with cutout dolls, is an escape from the humdrum activities in life. and most of all because the stories keep running around in my head and need an outlet. Add to that the pleasure of entertaining and it's a sure-fire way to keep me occupied. Carol McPhee

Rose Lerma said...

Rose Lerma said...

I write to give the characters in my head a home. Otherwise they'd clog up my brain.

Candace Morehouse said...

Why do I write?

Because the little voices in my head tell me to!

They're pretty active, too. They speak up when I'm watching TV or laying in bed trying to sleep or even when I'm grocery shopping. They insist on being heard and getting down on paper. The more I write, the more active those voices become!

I have to agree with Allison that I love writing historical romance most of all because it's an excuse to thoroughly research a time period, which I love. I love history and I love romance and bringing the two together is immensely satisfying.

Sure it's frustrating at times. But it's also a good deal of fun. I wouldn't trade writing for anything in the world!


Ciara Gold said...

Well said. I think only another writer "gets it." That all consuming NEED to write.

Another good question would be; So a writer writes because they feel driven to write, but why do they pursue getting it published? We open ourselves up to all sorts of critism, both positive and negative when our babies are published. For me, it's because I want to share my fantasy worlds with others in hopes they will find enjoyment out of the story I've created. It's really that simple.