Why Do I Write?

That is a question I’ve asked myself for the past three years. Before then, I was never a writer, but man was I an avid reader!

I grew up in a rural area and my mom didn’t allow me to play with the neighborhood kids as much as I wanted to. Being an only child, I spent a lot of time by myself. Barbies, stuffed animals, and Strawberry Short Cake (the original version, not the new one!) were my BFF’s. Like any little girl, I spent time making up stories and acting them out. There were times when I would borrow my parents audio cassette tape recorder (omg, now I feel dated and old!), sit down with my stuffed animals, and make up stories and songs, record them, and use them to entertain my parents.

As I got older, dolls were put away, and books became my number one source of entertainment. Stories like, The Box Car Kids, A Circle In The Sea, and Homecoming were my favorites. I can’t remember how many times I journeyed to the local community and school libraries to check them out. If you were to look at the back on the little slip of paper where you signed your name when checking them out,  (dated again!) My name would be there repeatedly.

And then I hit high school. Alice in Wonderland became my favorite read. It was around this time I ran into books from Steven King and John Grisham. I remember being freaked out by Needful Things, unable to sleep at night, yet I couldn’t put it down. A Time to Kill brought tears to my eyes, the amount of emotion and feeling the father experienced was so well written. I remember the moment I finished that novel, I made a note to read each and every novel written by John Grisham. And for the next couple of months I did just that.

That was also when I discovered movies based on books, while good, are seriously lacking. No matter how well the actors portray the characters, no matter how well the screen writer adapted the film, there is absolutely NO WAY for the audience to feel everything the author put into the story. Explanations, feelings, and reasons why a character makes the decisions that drive the plot, can never be explained without taking the time to read the words the author slaved over to tell his/her tale.

Guess movies are the fancier version of Cliff Notes, huh?

But I digress…

Somewhere down the line I decided to start reading Sci-Fi . I love stories that follow a character as they grow and evolve, you know that elusive “they’ve found their HEA, but what happened next? Are they still happy???”

Around 2002, when Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was released, my family went to watch the movie. I had always been a Star Wars fan, having developed my love of the series as a child from my father. The original SW movies were mainly about Luke Skywalker leading the rebels to overthrow the evil Emperor and his henchman, Darth Vader. But then came the new movies based on events years in the past that lead up to the original motion picture. Talk about deep character development. It answered so many questions as to who Darth Vader was and why he became the man behind the mask. (Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, by James Luceno tells you what the newly named Vader felt like in that suite!)

I found myself immersed in the world of Star Wars Expanded Universe novels. For those who have no idea what those are, let me explain. If you’ve ever watched the Star Wars movies, Episode 1-6, and I say IF because I have a family friend that has NEVER watched one in his life. (I threaten to tie him down and force him to watch a marathon, lol) For those SW die hard fans who have to know what happens after Darth Vader dies and is redeemed, the Expanded Universe novels follow Luke, Han, and Leia, their kids, and numerous other characters in a wide variety of series. The amount of novels are too many to count. How do I know? I’ve read over 40 of them, and there are more than that I have yet to read! Yep, SW geek!

As I’ve said before, I am a lover of stories that continue and don’t end with just one book. Another great series is The Lord of the Rings. Somehow I found myself reading the trilogy…twice. Tolkien was a master at not only creating worlds beyond your imagination, and characters that are memorable, he also created languages. It took him years to pull all of his stories together. Just think of the sheer magnitude of the work. Not to mention the fact that a portion of his novels were written while he sat in the trenches as a soldier during World War I as he watched his friends die around him.


What does any of this have to do with the reason why I decided to write?

Everything.

Authors write for different reasons. Some have over active imaginations that drive them to put pen to paper. Others do so as a hobby or to entertain people around them. A lot of authors write to heal while recovering from a painful memory. Be it diary, blog, endless notes, short stories, or novels.  There is some kind of a writer in all of us.

I was never one to keep a running diary. I tried it once and got bored with my life. But my imagination, on the other hand, has always run rampant, even as an adult. I found myself making up stories to keep myself entrained while waiting in the doctors office, sitting in rush hour traffic, even while lying in bed at night unable to sleep. But it wasn’t until several life altering experiences affected my family did I realize putting pen to paper and letting the emotions flow from my fingers into the lives of my characters did I start to heal. I realized I had a story to tell.

So, for me, writing and learning the craft of writing, has become my passion on many different levels.

The stories I tell, while they fall in the romance genre, are not just about romance. Yes, sex is involved because it is a part of life, but my stories will never be considered erotic romance. Contemporary romance? Yes, because my characters reside in the same day and age as you and I. Interracial Romance? Yes, because my characters are from various racial backgrounds. The love, the relationships, the bonds formed between the men and women that reside in my head go well beyond skin color. Women’s Fiction? It can fit here too because the topics I write about pertain to the many issues women today face.

Yet, my stories are not just about the women. They’re also about the men.

My stories are about love, redemption, healing, and evolving into something more than what they were in the beginning. My characters lives are like yours and mine. We ride a roller coaster of emotions. Some days are good, some days are bad. There are times of overwhelming joy, just like there are times of pain and grief. And even though my characters go through these growing pains, they come out on the other end as changed individuals, having learned from their experiences, and become better from them. And that, my dear friends, is the message I write about.

Hope, love, understanding….evolving.

Just like a butterfly…

And that is why I write.

MJ

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8 thoughts on “Why Do I Write?

  1. A nicely worded 'share' M.J.! I write not only to help me understand my own life, but for others who don't to better understand their own as well. I read for the same reason. M.J. – You are truly doing us all a service by sharing so much of yourself – Thank you!~ Anker Frankoni

  2. Nice post, MJ! I'm the writer who writes because of my over active imagination! It fascinates me to take an idea, or a potential character and weave a fun and entertaining story for others (and myself) to enjoy.

  3. Wonderful post, MJ! It's amazing to see how your passion and drive for writing have evolved through your life, and your brand of romance sounds both unique and intriguing. Adore the picture of the butterfly at the end, that's beautiful imagery. I'm really glad you found my blog so that I've found yours in return. I look forward to many more of your beautiful posts. XX

  4. @Anker- Thank you so much! Yes, writing can held understand and heal from tragedy. The best 'free' medicine…cheaper than an psychiatrist.@Sharon- Gotta keep those characters in check or else you'll be wearing that special jacket!LOL Nothing beats creativity! @Nicky- Hi! Thank you so much for coming over! That pic above is the one I was talking about. Not too shabby….will do a fancier one next go round…lol. A different twist on romance is what I'm aiming for. Can't wait to share it!

  5. Great post! I'm not sure why I starting writing a couple of years ago. I was inspired by a song that made me think and ask myself a question. When I wrote my novel to answer that question, I actually found it helped me heal from two very bad events in my life. So it was cathartic. Now I write because I love it and I seem to have another story to tell. I do love movies, just not ones based on books. And one of my favorite books of all time is A Time to Kill, Grisham's first and best! (You know, he couldn't sell that story until The Firm had already made the bestseller list. True story!)Thanks for coming by today, commenting, and double following me! And now I've gladly returned the favor!!

  6. Oh MJ, this is precisely what we have in common:There are times of overwhelming joy, just like there are times of pain and grief. And even though my characters go through these growing pains, they come out on the other end as changed individuals, having learned from their experiences, and become better from them. And that, my dear friends, is the message I write about.My protagonist, Shayla, goes through so many changes, such a journey of self-realization that there's no better way to describe the her-story in Conditioned Response than to use your "butterfly memoir" idea.I keep meaning to write you and as if you'd take a look at my SciFi (both because I think you'd really enjoy it and because I'd like to know you think I measured up to the butterfly memoir storytelling :-)))I'm glad I subscribed to your blog so I noticed this post today when I logged in to write a post of my own. If I didn't have that dashboard, I'd never be able keep up!-Friday@phoenicianbooks

  7. LOL…sure, I'd love to read your writing. Send it too my email mjkanebooks@yahoo.comAlso, if you haven't already, check out my Butterfly Memoirs blog, yes there's a blog dedicated to the books! You'll find a few more things you might like, blog conversation topics, a character diary (just started that) and next month I will offer Butterfly Badge for your pages (think you might get a kick out of that one!) Stay tuned! http://thebutterflymemoirs.blogspot.com/

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