Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two Reasons

Picture this: Editor turned agent and author of The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner staring out at a sea of writers. Positioned carefully in her hands she holds a telescope, causing her vision to focus right at the core, the muse-igniters of the writing soul. I’m there. No, not there. I’m on the other side of the ocean. Do you see me with the jeans and the wool sweater? I’m holding something too. It’s shaped like a telescope, but it’s not a telescope. As I squint my eye to peer inside my handheld device I see twirling colors, spinning pinwheels and shapes and sheer mystery. My kaleidoscope is aimed back at the agents/editors conversing on the other side. I don’t have a clear view of what their lives entail—yet. Yet.

But in Betsy’s book her description of why a writer writes hits upon a proverbial goldmine.

Check this out:

“As far as I can tell people write for exactly two reasons: 1) They are compelled to, and 2) they want to be loved.”

Now if that ain’t some King Tutankhamen I don’t know what is?

She goes on to write later in the chapter, “Writers want love, and they hope that through their work, they will be recognized as special. And that is why most writers are so crazy. When a writer gives his editor the pages of his manuscript, he is, in essence, handing over his heart on a plate. And until he gets a response, his entire sense of himself is in limbo. It’s like waiting for the results of a biopsy.”

We know how accurately Betsy described the two reasons. Here’s your chance. Give me two reasons why you write.

*photos by flickr
**Blogging friend, Katie Ganshert got the call from her "dream" agent! Praise God.


  1. Why I write? Because I'm compelled to now, though I wasn't always. And, to try and figure me out and grow me. I learn more and more about myself with every story I write, and I do try and fix myself too.

    YAY for Katie. I'm so excited for her!!!

  2. I write because of my love for writing--it makes me saner:) good therapy . . .and because I want to make a difference with my words. I love those pictures!

  3. Wonderful post Wendy! I almost bought this book last week, looks like I need to go ahead and make this purchase.

    Two reasons...I believe God called me to write. I love writing, I feel complete.

  4. I write to minister to the hurting. I write because if I didn't, I think I would stop breathing.

  5. You know what? This fits me. I think those are my two reasons.

    Yay, Katie!

  6. I do not write for either of these reasons. Here's why I write:

    1. I love the written word. It is a gift of God. In creating writing, we reflect Him. We show that we are indeed made in His image. Writing is an act of worship, an offering back to the Maker of words and Creator of life and meaning.

    2. I have been called to express truth, meaning, and beauty through the written word. Yes, doing what God has called me to do brings joy, but I would do it without that, because ultimately, He himself is my joy.

    3. I write to manifest God's life to others -- to encourage, to instruct, to illuminate, to inspire, to comfort, to heal, to bind up the brokenhearted, to set free. I write to speak for others, to bring clarity and hope, to make a difference. For all these things, I hope and write.

    I do not write out of some mysterious compelling, inner force. I do not write to be loved. On the contrary, I expect to feel discouraged, to feel that I don't want to do it on many days, and to experience some rejection and criticism for my work. I also understand and accept that everyone will not like my work. That doesn't mean that it isn't valid.

    In short, I know that my strength and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. He is my reward.

    I love writing, because it is all these things to me.

  7. I appreciate learning your reasons.

    Cassandra, You make a beautiful point. I'm glad you wrote that in detail.

    I know I could very much relate to Betsy's words. But for me, as for probably all of us there are far more than two reasons. On my website I wrote, "I write to understand who I am. I love to let go of who I am. I live to represent Him." For me, that about sums it up.

    Hope the conversation continues and the reasons keep coming in...
    ~ Wendy

  8. I would have to agree with the two reasons but I would add one other reason: "my mom is making me!" I mean "encouraging" me. :-) She is my biggest fan an mothers do have a way of guiding us to the path where we belong.

  9. God has put this burning desire in my heart. Most likely to teach me a lesson per usual. But also to bless me big time per usual ;)

    And two? I love it.

  10. I'll just give one.

    "...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

    Writing allows me to obey this instruction. I hope it will one day allow readers to do so.

  11. Betsy's book sounds great. I'll have to check it out.

    I write because I communicate best through the written word and because the act of writing brings me joy. Whether my creation is a note to my husband, a letter to a friend or a novel length story, I take great pleasure in putting words on paper or screen.

  12. I write because I like to! But also because I want to make a career out of it. :-)

  13. Reason #1 God told me to

    Reason #2 I need a way to give birth to the creativity within. I love being alone, but you put a pen in my hand and a piece of paper, and I'm talking to someone...yeah. I'm crazy!

  14. That was awesome, Wendy. Thanks for sharing. It makes sense why writing is such a personal, personal thing.

    My two reasons: 1) To make the imaginary people happy. They can get pretty grumpy if they feel like I've been ignoring them for too long. 2) Because it helps me sort myself and my world out. Life is messy, and writing is one way for me to organize it. :D

  15. I'm intrigued with the way words communicate. I love the whole process, finding the magic to build a story, sentiment, essence, with just the right words. Really I don't think there's anything else I'd choose to do.

  16. I write because it's my gift.

    I write in gratitude the Person Who gave me this gift, and every other gift I have of any worth.

  17. I write because I love it, because it feels natural to get stories out on paper and bring life to characters that would otherwise exist only in my mind or not at all. And it's so rewarding to use God's words to make an impact, to get out a message that might bring something profound to someone's life.

  18. ooo, good book. I'll put that on my list. Why write? I'm not sure, it's just there. Because I read, or want to share, or feel it's a way to minister? I just do, as the kids say, "just 'cus."

  19. I write because I recently discovered that here lies my heart... it is my passion!

    The purpose for writing my first novel is simply for my very own healing. The story is my own. Every chapter will be a step closer to that healing. And once the book is finished, I'll close the book on all those hurts.

  20. I'm going to write a group response tonight. Lots going on. Will share more tomorrow. I thank you for letting me on the inspiration for why you write. Ultimately I desire for my writing to be prompted from God and for it to glorify God. The novel I'm working on right now does not have the word God in it, but it does explore many spiritual themes. I'll tell you more about that someday soon.

    Thanks for continuing to walk around in my thoughts. I enjoy the company. My characters do too. :D

    I hope your night is different than any other and mostly due to the way you decide to think about things...
    ~ Wendy

  21. Whoa...those two reasons really hit home for me. As much as I'd love to say I only write because I'm comprelled to write (which I am), there is definitely a part of me that wants to be loved. Why is this, when I already know that I'm loved by God? Completely and wholey loved, more than I could imagine? Why do I still yearn for other people to love me too?

    Can't wait to read your stuff, Wendy! Thanks for celebrating with me today. I just got The Forest Through the Trees in the mail from Amazon. Super excited to read it!

    Also, the song that is playing right now is one of my FAVorites! We love the same music!

  22. I write 1) to escape and 2) to create stories. I love it!

  23. The first reason is definitely true, I feel like I HAVE to write. The second one, I'd never really given much though to, but it makes TOTAL sense. This book sounds so interesting...I think I'm going to check it out!

  24. As always, I appreciate your honesty.

    I guess I sort of agree with Betsy -- just from years of watching and observing writers in a variety of settings. I was a news reporter for many years, and the drive was constantly there to land on Page One and to receive the accolades of readers and editors. I felt that desire, too.

    And now, when I teach writing at the college level, I see this in most of my students.

    I don't think it's entirely wrong. For God created in us the desire to be loved. But I think we have to constantly keep in mind our motivations. Are we writing for the approval of man, or to give glory to God?

    Great, great post, Wendy.

    You make me think. Keep at it, my friend. God has plans for you. I'm praising Him in advance for the ways He'll use your writing.


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