Authors: Why do you write? My answer.
On January 5, 2017, I saw the movie, “Hidden Figures.” It’s a great movie. I encourage you to see it. People were applauding during the film and there was a standing ovation by many in the audience at the end.
What does seeing a movie have to do with why authors write?
I’m glad you asked.
When watching a movie, one tends to forget the process that spawned that audio-visual experience. At least that’s what the producers hope it does!
That was my experience while watching “Hidden Figures.”
It was after the movie ended that two thoughts struck me.
1. Someone wrote that script.
2. I’ll bet it’s based on a book.
Both book writing and script writing are forms of writing. While there are similarities, there are significant differences between those types of media.
Scriptwriters focus on dialog. They include some stage direction and set design, but they rely heavily on the directors and actors to provide setting, pace, and tone.
Book writers have to create their entire world inside the mind of a reader. Hopefully, not just one reader but many, many readers. That type of writing requires more written detail in setting, pace, and tone of the story.
It is safe to assume that most writers of a published story of any kind would like to have a lot of people read it . . . after buying it!
The five reasons for writing I provide below are not in a conscious order of importance to me. They are in the order I thought of them.
One reason I write is financial. I’d like to make some money.
I’d like to make at least enough money to cover my expenses of writing, editing, promoting, and publishing every story.
Another reason I write is that I like to write. To be honest, this is the number one reason. There’s something about engaging in the process of developing a story around characters that become real to me—and hopefully to my readers—that is highly motivational.
A third reason I write is the therapeutic value of the writing process.
Writing allows me to express ideas and complain. I don’t do this often, but when I do, I feel relieved of a burden. When I’m writing fiction, not a single character has ever done anything I didn’t want her/him to do.
Fourth reason: I also do reflective writing. While I’ve listed it as a separate reason, the therapeutic value of reflection to me cannot be overstated. I feel strongly about that difference. I find myself remembering valuable lessons when I am engaged in the reflective process.
The two areas I reflect upon with regularity are my teaching career and my faith in God. I have four continuing blog post categories.
1. The focus of A Science Guy’s Almanac is my teaching career. I reflect on the incredible good fortune I’ve had in working with the best colleagues and students I can imagine—and I’ve got a good imagination.
2. The Timeless Truths series is a reprise and restructuring of over twenty years of sermon notes I have. I am awestruck by the insight into Scripture that I’ve been allowed to experience.
3. Expressions of Faith is my personal reflection on a verse or a few verses of Scripture. These short homilies are formulated in my devotions.
4. A Day in the Life of a Science Fiction Writer concentrates on the writing process. This post is in this category and is a combination of reflection and the next reason.
The fifth reason I write is to inform. I suppose this post qualifies for inclusion in this reason. I hope you, Reader, find some tidbit of information you can bite into and savor. I lump many topics into this category: writing tips, teaching tips, science concepts are the front-runners. Although there is overlap with other reasons, I’m lumping all my science-teaching products here, too.
I’m stopping at five reasons. There are other reasons that I write. They are hard for me to describe in a way that conveys my definition to my satisfaction.
Without a transition of any type, other than this sentence informing you, Reader, that I’m not including a formal transition, I’m going to keep my promise of closing the loop on the reference to the movie, “Hidden Figures.” [BTW: My Hemingway app marked this a “very hard to read” sentence. That’s true. I blame that on the lack of transition.]
As I stood with the others in the audience watching the credits of “Hidden Figures,” I wondered
· if the author of the book was aware of the influence of the book on American society.
· how the now-deceased characters portrayed in the film might feel about the story of their struggle finally being given a voice.
It was then that I realized the fundamental reason I love reading and writing stories.
Good writing moves minds and hearts.