by: Joelle Charbonneau
Okay. I admit that I hate when people ask me that question. Not because I don’t have an answer – I do, but I always feel like it’s the wrong answer. So many writers I know answer that question not only with a YES but with stories of writing their own books at the age of six or eight or ten. I love listening to those authors talk about their lifelong love affair with writing and their longtime desire to reach readers with their words. When they are done I always feel a bit ashamed that my answer to the same question is no.
No. I didn’t always want to be a writer. While I have had loved reading from the time I learned to do it on my own, I admit that while growing up it was never my dream to be an author. Reading other people’s stories or bringing other people’s words alive on the stage was what I was good at. It was what I did. In fact, when I started typing my first book it wasn’t because I had a burning passion for writing the next great American novel. I simply had an idea for the beginning of a story and was curious to see where the story would take me. It wasn’t until I finished that manuscript that I really started wondering if I could learn the skills necessary to make the words I wrote good enough for publication.
Funny, but while I’ve had one book published, another coming out this year and more on the way, my reasons for writing haven’t changed. I mean, sure, I’d like to make money at this adventure. If for no other reason than to justify all the time I spend in front of my computer putting words on the screen. But my core reason for writing remains the same. I have an idea that intrigues me. I write to see where that idea goes.
Do I hope that someone some day might want to read the story? Sure. But that isn’t the reason I write. I write because I want to know how the story unfolds. I want to see how the story ends. It’s about me. My curiosity. My interest in the characters and the troubles they face. I don’t wonder about the readers who might open the book or the publishers who might be interested in giving me a contract on the book until I hit THE END. Because until that point – it is my story. Written just for me.
So maybe I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. Maybe I never dreamed I could finish writing book let alone ten manuscripts. And maybe some days I feel guilty that I have adopted the dream that so many others came to early in life and have yet to find success with. One thing is certain – no matter if I never get another publishing contract and if no one else beyond my household reads another word that I write – I will continue to write. Because I want to know how the story goes. It’s as simple as that.
So I guess I want to hear your writing story. Why do you write? What makes you sit down and face a blank screen day after day hoping the words come in order to fill it?