Why Ask Why?

That question has been put to me more in the past several months than any other — except maybe, “What do you want for supper?” and “Watcha doin’?”

A few people have asked me why I write. Heck, I’ve asked myself that from time to time — many times over the span of years where I tried not to write. Yes, tried. Why? <shrug> The voices in my head couldn’t answer that simple question so I’m not going to even try. The scraps of scenes, dialogue, settings, and future plot notes that accumulated in a file drawer proved I couldn’t really quit even if I truly wanted to.

I’ve been asked why I pursued the traditional publishing route.

Then, later, why I veered from that route and turned to the indie road.

Tuesday I followed a Facebook link that led me to this post by Jo  Eberhardt written in response to one from Vaughn Roycroft. You need to go read both. They touched on goals and desires and not “what” those were, but “why” they were wanted in the first place. As it did with a great many other people, it got me thinking.

That, in case you’re wondering, is not always a good thing.

We often say we want something — we want to be thinner, richer, healthier, better looking, want the 3.5 kids, a white picket fence, and a dog. But how often do we sit back and ask why we want those things? Could we answer honestly? Could we answer on a deeper level than the knee-jerk “because I do” reaction?

When asked why I write, the answer is simple: The same reason I breathe.

When asked why I want to be published following either route the answer is not so simple. I would say it started as a childhood dream, sprouted from all the time I spent lurking between the stacks of the library my mother was the director of. The books on those shelves transported me. Happy or sad, true or false, they led me on journeys of learning, adventure, heartache, and laughter. I wanted to be one of those books.

Though the dream still exists, the why has become murkier, and has gone through several transformations from the basic to the ethereal.

The final answer as of today?

Because I believe in my story. I like my story. I want to share it with others. Nothing is more satisfying to my soul than to have someone tell me they enjoyed something I created. My entire psyche lets out a contented sigh.

And ultimately, if the psyche is unsettled and unhappy, life becomes the same, doesn’t it?chapflourish


  1. I like your answer a great deal. It has a resonance with which I’m quite comfortable. That’s why I’m going to steal it for my own use when the question arises –again — from those I know. But next time, I’ll be prepared. Thank you!

  2. That is a lovely answer. There are so many variables that have nothing to do with that answer when seeking the traditional deal, and most have to do with the broader marketplace, rather than simply connecting. I wish you all the best–much connection and many sighs of the psyche to come. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that, and for the link-love, KL!

    • It’s all your fault for contributing to my distraction earlier in the week. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Not as eloquently stated as your post, though.

  3. What a great answer. I love the way you connect your original goal to your childhood amongst books, and acknowledge how your reasons have changed over the years. Thanks for linking back to my post — it’s an honour to be in such great company as you and Vaughn.

  4. What a great post. I’m a bit like you – I can’t not write, but to explain why? It’s really not an easy question. Maybe because I learned to love books at an early age and I wanted to participate in the same conversation. I can also relate to the amazing feeling when someone ‘gets’ what you’ve created. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I get sick if I don’t write. Physically, emotionally. So, to me, I write because it’s a part of me. When I neglect writing, it’s like neglecting a part of me. I think you’re right, that after a while we get so caught up in doing what we want to do that we forget why we’re doing it. I wouldn’t be surprised if reasons for doing what we do change or grow over time.

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