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Nov
10
2012

Burning books

in Life Lessons, Random Musings

Photo by ugaldew on www.sxc.hu

A cool breeze invited me onto my back porch last week. As my kids ran off some of their energy, I started a fire and sat with an acclaimed novel in my hand. Thirty pages in, I knew I wasn’t interested in finishing it and for a brief second I considered tossing it atop the flame. At least then the paper would add some enjoyment to my afternoon.

People often ask me why I write. The popular writer answer is “I have to” or “I need to,” but for me, I really want to. The deeper question is what purpose I want my writing to serve. That’s what I’ve been grappling with for the last month.

What do I want from this?

Sure I want to make money. Ultimately, I’d love to make enough money for my husband to retire early so we could go on mission trips around the world. I would love to see myself on the Best Seller Lists, too. But last week really made it obvious that there is more in my heart than just having my writing become a profitable career. I want there to be a real purpose to my words.

I want some of my writing to entertain, some to offer hope, and some just to make you think. But no matter what I’m writing, I’m putting my heart and soul into my words. Every story is a piece of me. It’s like a child that I’ve birthed and I’m now setting free for the world to judge.

Writing, to me, is similar to the Scouting idea of always leaving a place better than how you found it. I want my words to impact lives and make them happy to have stopped and enjoyed it.

I respect books… all books (even the bad ones). I know how much time and effort goes into completing a novel-length manuscript, and I know how much intimacy goes into short stories. I want nothing more than to daydream about someone sitting next to a fire and reading my words now, 5 years from now, and 50 years from now. If my words can make that person smile, cry, or think about what they take for granted, then the work is worth it. Whether I ever make money from it of not is yet to be seen.

 

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