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Writing to Know We're Not Alone

The question that haunts an author far more than: so where did this idea come from?

Why do you write?

I mean, aside from, "It's fun." "I've always wanted to give it a go." and "I have to. It just burns up inside of me."

All valid, but not strong enough to keep a reader turning pages.

Most writers I've met encountered a tragedy of some sort. Some lost a parent far too young. Others went through unspeakable abuse. Some had to fight discrimination and every sort of "ism" to put ink to a page.

Every time you read a book, an author had to fight years for those pages.

So when you fight against (literally) hundreds of rejection slips, thousands of unanswered emails (before and after you get a contract), and countless readers and writers who do not see your vision, what drives you to keep going?

Why do I write?

It took me a while to figure this out. I took up writing early, and started novels in high school because I could. Because my best friend wrote them, and I thought we'd have something in common.

But, as I started querying at 17, I began to lose my fire. Why keep writing if no one would read it? Why create worlds if no one would ever explore them?

I had to have a stronger purpose, a stronger reason, than: I write because I want people to read what I write.

I needed to give them something worth reading.

Hope and Writer's Block sitting in a tree. W-R-I-T-I-N-G.

First came divorce.

Then came depression.

Then came institutional regression (sorry, needed a rhyme).

A lot of things hit me hard at once. The college I attended, although a wonderful place at first, had a lot of dark spots that revealed themselves my junior and senior year. My parents split right around then, around the same time my anxiety and depression skyrocketed to an all-time high. Boys who I'd grown attached to, who I'd spent months and years kindling a relationship with, left me almost instantaneously, and I watched several friends go through unspeakable hurt, isolation, and loneliness. Plus, the rejections just happened to pour in right around then. Funny how that happens.

Something snapped.

For the first time in my life, I felt alone.

Truly, deeply, alone. Even cloistered in a tight wing of 24 girls, involved in various campus events with dozens of attendees, I felt completely and utterly alone.

I remember that summer when everything had snapped. I'd wanted to kill myself. Even had a plan. I never carried it out. But ever since, I still battle thoughts of my purpose on this world. I'm happy to have a Savior who gives me a purpose, even when things fall apart.

But still, things fall apart.

I'd had friends who had it worse.

I did. I really did. My friends in high school and college all had gone through their own versions of hell. And they all had something to write about.

But in my mini circle of hell my junior year of college, I finally had a purpose.

I felt utterly alone, and I didn't want any reader ever to feel that way.

So I wrote.

I wrote for all the readers who have fractured families, who deal with mental illness, and who feel as though they had no voice or that it has been censored.

I wrote because I was so, so, so alone.

I wrote because no one ever should be.


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