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Why Do I Write?

As I turn 53 today, several recent events converged to make me examine why I write and whether I want to continue writing.

I wrote and published 8 books between 2007 and 2012. I have not written a book in a while and Create Space sent me an email asking if I was still writing.

I had lunch with a friend and we talked about my dry spell and she asked me what would make me passionate about writing again. I have suffered health crisis after health crisis since before I wrote Mythikas Island, which has resulted in a roller coaster of frenzied work and months living as a cat. Health woes certainly contribute to the ambivalence.

I began writing poetry and journaling as a young girl. I did not attempt fiction until I was middle-aged. So as I explored the reasons why I started writing books in the first place, a theme developed.

I wrote the Mythikas Island series (I: Diana, II: Persephone, III: Aphrodite, and IV: Athena) for my daughter Anna. She was a teenager and was sick of love triangles in YA books. She said some girls wanted stories that didn’t revolve around guys. Ideas for stories about goddesses and girl power had been percolating for a while and that became the impetus for the Mythikas Island series. Four girls are groomed to be leaders and must save themselves and fight for their future.

I wrote the Story Building Blocks (I: The Four Layers of Conflict, II: Crafting Believable Conflict, III: The Revision Layers, IV: Build A Cast Workbook) because I couldn’t find them anywhere when I needed them. I was tired of reading about the story arc and all those motivational tomes. I wanted nuts and bolts and tools for developing plots and characters. 
I wanted advanced craft lessons. I also wanted to centralize all of my notes on revision, editing, and proofreading. So, I spent several years learning, reading, dissecting stories, and researching. I developed a story architecture theory that made sense to me. This blog, Game On, is an extension of the desire to share what I learn. I also guest post on The Blood Red Pencil, another blog devoted to the craft of writing.

I have studied interior formatting, cover design, and website building. Although far from expert, I have added those skills to my tool kit.

Then I was blindsided with the misdiagnosis of a mystery muscle disease. That led to a year of research and another year of developing that research into a website for the rare disease, Stiff Person Syndrome, which became The Tin Man. It not only has up-to-date information on SPS, but a large section on how to cope with debilitating diseases and resources for patients with rare diseases. Again, things I couldn't find that I needed.

While I haven’t been entirely slothful, there was no book at the end of those two-plus years. Create Space had no way of knowing that, hence the gentle reminder.

It turns out, I am motivated by writing things that benefit other people. It is the sharing information and helping that bring me joy. If I inspired one teenager, helped one writer, or educated one patient, I consider all that time well spent.

I’ve always joked to my critique group that my biggest problem is that I don’t need the money and I don’t want to be famous. I admit to being turned off by the business and promotional aspect of publishing, as necessary as it is to being a lucrative independent author. It is an area I would need to research and I’d have to overcome my natural resistance to being in the spotlight and sales promotion. I would also have to work around my physical limitations. I’d much rather sit in a room churning out work and let others worry about what to do with the end product. Alas, successful writer-preneurs are not built that way. So, I have to decide if that is the way I want to spend time.

I attended a funeral yesterday for a friend that made me ponder what I want to do with my remaining time. He died during the adventure of a lifetime, checking off a big item on his bucket list. This led me to examine what I am still capable of and prioritizing my bucket list. The hubs is going to retire next year in August. After our relocation from Windyana to Adult Disneyland, I don’t know what my days will be like. All those long hours I spent working or sleeping while he was at the hospital will now be filled with different things.

My muses still visit and my characters still chime in with ideas of where they'd like to go, especially my goddess girls. I have more ideas for the Story Building Blocks series. I have a draft of a YA story, and first chapters of many others that I call my Widows & Orphans file including a mystery called The Wicked Stage.

But will they ever see print? Who knows? Once the reno nightmare of the new house and trauma of moving are over, I may put fingers back to keyboard. If for no other reason than to free the characters that haunt me like trapped ghosts seeking the light.

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