Why do you write?
My middle daughter is currently studying Ancient Egypt in her homeschool history class. One of her least favorite things to do is read. (It’s hard to believe we’re related, I know.) Since reading happens to be one of my most favorite things – ever! – I volunteered to read out loud a historical fiction book that’s required for her class. Win-win, right? Actually, it’s been more of a win than I ever anticipated!
The book is called ‘God King’ by Johanne Williamson. It’s a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a boy king, Taharka, who becomes Pharaoh as a child, only to lose this throne to an older brother. He spends years in hiding, as he travels as a medical assistant, to Judea. Here he must decide if he will make an alliance with the king of Assyria, or King Hezekiah. Very little information exists about any of the characters, but Ms. Williamson took what little there was, and created a believable possibility of what very well might have happened.
Regardless, by only a third of the way through the novel, I realized I hated the thought of putting the book down, and I honestly just wanted to read the thing in one sitting, to find out what was to happen next! It occurred to me that I was just as enthralled by a children’s novel as my eleven-year-old daughter. That’s when I did a bit of research on the author. I found out that most of her books were published in the 1960’s, and when interest in historical fiction for children waned, she left the writing profession to focus on teaching music. She passed away in 2002 and this final novel was published posthumously. From what I understand, her writing was never very popular, until more recent years, when homeschooling has become more widely accepted. Her books are now widely read within the homeschooling world.
Which got me thinking: I wondered how she felt all those years ago, when she decided to stop writing her books? Was she bothered that her books weren’t the genre that publishers were looking for anymore? Did she worry whether any of her books would ever be read? Of course, now her books have had a great impact – on the world of homeschooling, anyway. A part of me wishes she were still alive today, to see how happy children are to read her works, and how much they help to inspire and keep children interested in history. So much so, that one of her works was even published after her death!
And then I thought of my own writing journey. It feels like I’ve been at this my whole life, but at the same time, it’s only just begun. I have hopes and dreams of getting published, to see the hundreds of hours that I’ve poured into a manuscript to actually make it into print. But what of Johanne Williamson? She couldn’t have known her works would have mattered so much to such a focused group of people, all those years ago. Yet, they do. They matter whole lot to a large group of people. And really… that’s all that I want, too; for my work to make a difference in someone else’s life. I’d rather something I wrote find it’s way into the right person’s hands – even just one – to encourage and inspire them in a way that they need right at that moment. To me, that will matter more than if a book I’ve written is published and ready by thousands of people who end up forgetting what it was about, a few months later.
That’s why I write – because I have a story to tell, a story that I hope will make a difference to someone, just as other stories have made a difference in my own life.
So, why do you write? What are your hopes and dreams within your writing career? Do you wish to make a difference to someone else, or are you happy just getting your words on paper? I’d love to hear your comments below!
Happy reading, friends!