Last month’s meeting of OCCRWA, I met a young mother of twins. It was her first meeting, and seeing the flush of her cheeks, the sparkle in her eye as she listened to the speakers and networked with other writers, it made me smile. Because I remember, because I still do this. Because underneath the exterior of a busy, inspired, prolific writer is one giant WHY that compels us.
Why do you wake at 5 a.m. every day? Why do you take your free Saturday, exhausted from a week of work, to attend a lecture on craft, or business of writing?
And then there’s the stunned HOW that emerges when you meet another parent, and they learn that in the delicate, intimate first years of your children’s lives, you launched a career as an author…
There are as many reasons as there are people under the sun why a person would want to be an author. But it’s when the Whys and the Hows combine in a compelling narrative, that’s when you find the Way.
For each of us, the Whys and Hows and Ways are different. But it’s also the same, for all of us. It’s the touchstone we revisit when starting a new work: Why am I doing this? What matters so much that I must communicate it through story? It’s how we muscle through revising and editing the story until it’s good. It’s how we weather rejection from agents, editors, and readers.
Under the surface, there is always a driving WHY.
My Why stemmed from a need to share philosophy, varied and collected over my formative youth, a combination of Science, Buddhism, Christianity, world myth, and old world magic passed down through generations before me. At least, that’s my Why was when I started writing fiction. Today, still, I’m driven by philosophy, but it’s mixed with my interactions with my readers. The kids I meet at book fairs and school events for my Ennara series are a huge inspiration.
What’s your Why?