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28 Jun
2016

Why Do You Write?

I have been asked recently why I am writing especially since I am retired and I am not building a career.  Here are my thoughts in answering that question.

I was standing in the Heritage Center in Dodge City, Kansas looking foWhy Do You Write? by Bev Scottr clues about the life of my grandfather before he met my grandmother.  We had also been to Weatherford, Texas where he lived with his first wife.

I had been on a search to find information about my mysterious grandfather for several years.   Although I had easily been able to find information on my grandmother’s family, I had reached dead ends in my search for information about my grandfather.  The documents in the National Archives had been an exciting find and had provided clues I wanted to explore further. (See my blogs on my genealogical search)

But I found nothing.  I could not fill in the gaps in the intriguing family story that many friends and family had encouraged me to document.  Could I write the story as fiction using the facts I had uncovered and creatively fill in the missing pieces?  I lacked confidence that I could be creative and write fiction since my previous writing experience had been non-fiction.

After taking a couple fiction writing workshops which built my confidence, I decided to try writing a historical novel inspired by the lives of my grandparents.  It has now been almost five years since I visited the library in Dodge City.  As I reflect back, I discover how much I have enjoyed the experience.

I loved the research and learning the historical details of longhorn cattle drives from Texas to Dodge City. To my surprise, I have treasured my alone-time, writing and the opportunity to imagine the life of my grandfather in 1878 or my grandmother in 1911.  I am excited when the words flow and I have written a description that creates a vivid picture of a character or the surroundings.  Working out the plot brought days of frustration and then delight in resolving the arc of the story.  I thrill when someone tells me they like my writing style.  And there is nothing like the satisfaction and exhilaration of completing a final draft.

Why Do You Write, By Bev ScottI not only needed to learn about writing fiction but as I have described in a previous blog, I needed to learn about building an “author’s platform”, the following of friends and colleagues interested in one’s writing.  Recognizing the importance of marketing and promotion, I reluctantly plunged more fully into social media.  I have increased my knowledge of publishing as I explored the options of self-publishing.  In fact, my forays into learning…learning to write fiction, book promotion on social media and choosing a publisher…have also brought new friends and colleagues into my life.  It turns out becoming a writer doesn’t have to be a totally lonely existence.

I’ve discovered that I write because I want to tell the story, because I found rewards in writing, because I found opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge and because I met new friends.

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7 Comments

  • Bev, thanks for writing these comments. My experience is very similar. I enjoy the creative aspect of making my writing palatable to readers while exploring my story. The experience helps me make sense of things and maybe provides something to help others makes sense of things too.

    • Catherine,
      I like your comments about making sense of things. As a reader, I often find that what I read helps me to make sense of things or gives me a new perspective.

      Thanks for your comments.

  • I like your writing and it’s interesting.

    I’m surprised that you put the answer
    at the end of the article instead of the
    front.
    I’m learning about writing.
    I would suggest that paragraph with
    The answer be moved to
    the front but if you don’t want to do that
    then I don’t know what to say

    Or maybe I think it would give me a better clue about what I am reading about if I knew the answer instead of having to speed read to find out where the answer was and then go back and read it with more comprehension

    • Thanks for your comments, John. My approach to writing is to not give “an answer” at the beginning but rather to provide context first. I think we all have different approaches to our writing.

  • Very well said Bev. Personal satisfaction is the best motivation for doing anything. The other rewards just follow. And in your case there have been many. Keep up the good work, but of couuse you will because you need to.

  • Thanks, Diane. Yes, I am grateful to find personal satisfaction in writing now. And I found it in my career as a consultant too. Thanks for the encouragement. It always helps.

  • What an amazing inspiration you are for me, Bev!!
    Am looking forward to reading your novel.
    What is the title?
    Am a bit behind on email but am returning home to Nica tonight and will.do better.
    Happy holidays!
    Kitty

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