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Why Do I write?

Author Gary Henry explains what motivates his craft in this week's Loudoun Writers.

Some write for the grandeur of thinking your writings might be the next classic novel or maybe the potential of seeing the words you wrote presented on the silver screen. Possibly the money you hope you will amass with a perceived talent is the goal? These things are quite possible if one of your novels shook the world’s imagination.

Might I suggest another reason? The absolute pleasure of knowing in a hundred years, when we all are dust, a reader will pick up a book written by you and be fascinated by a story which makes them believe in the power of words. The novel needn’t be a best seller nor does it need to be written by a well-known, celebrated author. Taking a someone to the point where they shed a tear, laugh or long for a time when life was a little bit better, transcends generations. 

To a future reader, the book would be a window to another era or an unread adventure longing to be lived. New discoveries in the next century will difficult to find. A tome from an obscure author from an earlier time who plied his thoughts on paper and hoped people would be affected in one way or another, could be that discovery.

I wonder if the literary genius’ of the past thought of future generations when they penned their extraordinary books? We write for the masses for myriad of reasons, some write for the praise and some for the potential riches associated with their creative thoughts. We all want instant success to validate our efforts in our era but the focus of a writer wanders well beyond their realm. An author writes for an eternity and for the people who can see the fantasy well after his or her present-day audiences have passed.

Should one person pick up a dusty, seldom read novel from a century past, written by a little known and obscure author, then he or she would achieve the greatest accolade ever bestowed upon an author. Remembrance and connecting with not only his generation but generations yet to come. This is the real gift that a writer should remember after their last story is told. A sense of immortality is achieved when a representative of a future time opens a book and turns the pages and takes generation after generation to places where the author always wanted to take them.

So, take heart and write your stories and don’t worry if sales are low or your name is not mentioned along-side the literary great’s. Time will decide whether or not you walk among them. At least this is my hope as a writer and is why I write.

Happily obscure and pleasantly unsung…for now.

– Gary D. Henry

E.M. Fredric April 29, 2012 at 11:06 PM
What a wonderful article - to have one's voice heard, in any lifetime is a beautiful thing. I believe I would like to be read before I turn to dust but the inspiration is wonderful! E.M. (Eva-Marie) Fredric

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