Monday, June 9, 2014

Writing for a Purpose

What is your purpose as a writer? Are you writing for fun? Money? Because your head will explode if you don't keep writing?
It's good to sit down and write out a list of reasons, because there will be days when you question your sanity. When you receive that tenth rejection letter or when your Kindle book receives a not-so-great review, you might start wondering "Is this really worth it?"
I write lists for each one of my projects. It's a good way to generate ideas for blurbs and descriptions, to work into review requests, and to tell people when they ask, "Why should I buy your book?"

Here's a list I put together for my website about my series, "The Adventures of Toby the Trilby."

The kind of books I set out to write when I started the series:

  • Books that kids will want to pick up and read, especially boys. Even though lots of girls like my books, I wanted to write books with lots of exciting adventures that boys could get into and enjoy.
  • Books that leave kids (and adults) encouraged about life. So many books in the futuristic genre leave people (at least me!) feeling depressed and hopeless.
  • Stories that don't talk down to kids, but rather encourage them to find out what larger vocabulary words mean. The best way to teach kids big words is to expose them to them in a context where they can figure it out for themselves, or say "Hey. Mom, what does this mean?"
  • Books families can read together. Yes, there are some deep ideas in my books, and some extremely intense moments. I hope that families can read and discuss these books together, even though they are fine for individual reading as well!
  • Books that bring people closer to God. Yes, they are simplified, and no, they don't teach the entire gospel message. I wanted to explore a few, simple truths in each book, like "What is my purpose?" "How do I know God loves me?" and "How can I forgive that person?" I'm hoping to encourage kids to want to find out more about the Giver of Truth, to be excited to seek new ideas for themselves. 
The great thing about having a list like this is you can go back and check to see if you are meeting your goals. I have had great feedback from kids about my book, especially boys. I have had many people tell me the book has helped them understand more about God. So even if it's never a bestseller, I feel like I have, at least partially, accomplished what I set out to do.
So what's your process? Do you write a list of goals for each book? I would love to hear any thoughts you have in the comments!


  1. I'm writing to entertain and delight my husband. He has a whole bunch of worlds and characters, and we work on them together, for fun. If anybody else wants to enjoy our stories, they're welcome to! I feel that I'm glorifying God by honoring my husband this way. The stories are about the level of a PG-13 superhero flick. Lots of action and violence and monsters, but there's never blood on the swords. :-)

  2. Great post. WHY we do things is so important, maybe even more important than WHAT we do. Thanks for making me think

  3. I write because I think it is what I am supposed to do with the gift of talent God has granted me. Either that or I'm a cautionary tale for other writers on what NOT to do...I can't tell which :)

    I have found I have more energy, enjoy my day more, and simply am a nicer person to be around when I get up early and write something. The problem with this is I am NOT a morning person and despise getting out of bed.