Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wilson James' answer to Why I Write

My books have been called inspiring.  I'd like to think they are also empowering.  But, why do I write them?  I first wrote the words below exactly 2 years ago, and I've come back to revisit that blog post because of a piece in HuffPostBooks about why famous authors write.   

In December 2009, I wrote: "I've had in my mind that I wanted and needed to write about my writing, so now I start. It is almost a year since I first published a book, and it's been an amazing ride. It was a big decision to start to publish, but I’m glad I made the choice. I will never forget the emotion that I felt the first time I held a printed copy of a book that I wrote. Since then, I’ve worked to get a number of my other books published.

In the past year, I have felt an even more astounding range of emotions as I consider that hundreds (now over 16,000 - Dec 2011) people have taken the trouble to purchase or download my stories. I suppose that humbled, excited, nervous, scared, thrilled and apprehensive are all emotions that have crossed my mind.

I got started writing simply because I wanted to get the stories from my head to a more permanent method of storage. Ever since I was a kid, I've had a bunch of story ideas rattling around in my head, but there they stayed. I experimented with writing a bit, and slowly did more and more, but it was about three years ago that I finally started writing in earnest. Sometimes, the ideas just pour out onto the computer screen, and at other times I can go weeks without writing anything new.

However it happens, I really enjoy the writing. I like creating characters and bringing them to life on the page. More importantly, I write for myself. I like Jesse Stuart's quote, “Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.”

There is one other quote about writing that I like, and by Paul Theroux. “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.”

Whether many people will like what I write, I don’t know, but I will continue writing what I want to write, for myself."

In April 2011, I posted these words:  "My books are about empowering youth.  
  • “If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. 
  • If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. 
  • If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. 
  • If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled.” 
The ultimate reward for writing?  

“If even one young person finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.”

Some of my successes in Young Adult fiction writing are:
  • A FAMILY LEGACY: THE WATSON WORKS -  made it into the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  A reviewer called it "Vivid Storytelling, Well Written," and said "I want to read more."  
  • PLAYING THE BASEBALL CARD - reviewed as a "Great Book, Very Inspiring" and "Seriously Good Writing," and well into the top 1% at Barnes and Noble for almost a year.

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