Monday, July 22, 2019

Know Why You're Writing

by Alycia W. Morales     @AlyciaMorales

There are many reasons writers author books. Some are superficial, while others dig deep into our purpose in life.

What is your true WHY behind your desire or call to write? Let's do some exploring to find out.

WHO are you writing for? 

This defines your audience. Once you know who your audience is, you can write for your audience. Keep in mind that you are not your audience. Others are. It helps to define one specific person you are writing to for each individual project (like a book or devotion or article) and for your mass projects (like a blog). Maybe your audience is just one person, perhaps a family member.

Ask yourself a few questions:

Do you want to reach believers or those who have fallen away from their faith? Or does your audience have no idea who the Lord is?
Are they young or old?
Are they married or single? Have kids or not?
What is their career? Are they still in high school? Or younger?
What are their hobbies?

Consider how we develop characters, and do this for your avatar audience.

The first person we, as Christian writers, should be focused on writing for is the Lord. Everything we do should aim to please Him.

Does this mean we don't write about the harsh things in life? No. Every story has conflict. His Word is filled with harlots, murderers, and other topics we try to be soft about. And there are many lessons we can learn about God's love by how he presents these people in His Word. Keep that in mind when you're writing. Find freedom in writing raw and real.

WHAT are you writing?

What you are writing may be influencing why you are are writing.

If you're writing memoir, you probably have a story to tell. Is the story for yourself? Your family? Or the world?

If you're writing novels, what genre are you writing? Romance? Suspense? Thriller? Contemporary? What age are you writing for? Young adults? New adults (college-aged)? Adults?

If you're writing devotions, what topics are you covering?

If you're blogging, what's your theme?

It's one thing to have a desire or sense a call to write. It's another thing to know WHY.  {Click to Tweet}

There are several reasons we write. Let's start with the surface reasons:

- We need to work from home, so we write to make money. We pay household bills and put food on the table.
- Some of us need a secondary income or we supplement our spouse's income. So we plug away and pound out articles during our evenings so we can help pay for the new car or take our family on a vacation. We write for the "extras."
- We want to write a bestseller or award-winners. This gives us a sense of accomplishment.
- We want to see our books become movies. We write to entertain.
- We want to see new places in the world, so we travel to new places in the name of research for our books.

There are more reasons like these, I'm sure. But these are all surface reasons for writing.

What is your deep-down desire for writing?

What is your WHY?

For me, it's an opportunity to be creative with my Creator. It's another way for me to spend time with the Lord. It's a desire to share His truth with the world by presenting the nitty gritty of life in a clean way that teens will enjoy.

My daughter is a young adult reader. She loves all young adult novels, but she doesn't like when an author takes a great adventure and then adds sex to it. She doesn't need or want to read about sex at 16. There are ways to imply something or to note that something has happened in the life of our characters without getting detailed about it. My daughter is not only my who and what for my novel writing; she is my why.

I also love reading. I love reading romantic suspense. I also love reading young adult novels. I want to write what I read. I want to write what I know. I want to write what I love.

The blog I'm releasing in August is another story. My audience there is a group of mothers. Mothers of all types. New moms. Great-grandmothers. Step-mothers. Foster and adoptive mothers. Mothers of normal kids. (Is there such a thing?) Mothers of chronic kids. Spiritual mothers. Moms of all ages and races and experiences.

Why such a large, non-niched audience? Because God has blessed me with a gift of encouragement, and there's no one I can think of who needs more encouragement than mothers.

We lay down our lives to serve our families and the Lord, and there's rarely any payback other than the joy of doing so. The occasional thank you. But many feel as if their hard work is unseen and unappreciated. There's an imbalance. And I want them to know that someone sees them. Someone knows them. Understands them.

But that's not my only reason for that blog. I also want to build a community of women and resources. Someplace central that moms can come to access information they may not otherwise have access to.

Plus, I know from my own experiences that what works for one family may not work for another. But it may help someone else like me. I love reading posts and resources other moms write and recommend. I'm always looking for something that will work for my family and our situations. I'm sure other moms are too. So I want to share experiences in our community.

Again, I pose the question: WHY are you writing? Keeping your WHY in front of you will encourage you to keep going to the keyboard even when you feel blank.

I recommend making yourself a vision board. Put something in front of you that describes your why, so that you can refer to it every time you are discouraged or drained or want to quit. Find things that describe your why (pictures, words, logos) and put them on a corkboard on your office wall or glue them to posterboard and hang that. You could create an art journal to flip through or add them to your planner and set goals to meet them.

If you're brave and want to share, we'd love to hear your WHYs in the comments below!

No comments:

Post a Comment