Why Do Writers Write?

Frequently, when I’m around non-writers, the question comes up, “What do you do, Henry?”


typewriterAnd, for some reason, I hesitate before I say, “I’m a writer.” I think it’s because I know I’m going to get a deer-in-the-headlights look from the person who asked. Or, even worse, I’ll get the equivalent of the condescending pat on the head grown ups gave me when I said I wanted to be a big league ballplayer when I grew up.


I remember one time a non-writer asked me what I did and I told him. He asked how many books I had published. At that time it was none. He laughed and said, “You’re not a writer. You haven’t even been published yet.”


Fortunately, this occurred after I found Jesus. Before Jesus, something serious might have happened to his kneecaps. I’m from the Northeast. I know people who know people.


The next question I often hear is, “Why do you write?”


Then I’m reminded of a quote by Elizabeth George, “I write because I was meant to write, I was called to write, I was told to Typing-Writingwrite. I write because that’s who I am.”


Somewhere along this writing journey, things changed. I moved, grew actually, from someone who dabbled in the craft to someone who grabbed this profession by the horns.


Writing became my profession. It became even more. Writing is part of my service to God.


My purpose is to tell stories that encourage and uplift, that reflect Jesus, that draw readers closer to him. Not in a manipulative fashion but by creating characters with Christian values who face challenges far beyond what we face everyday and who overcome them.


Somerset Maugham is quoted as saying, “We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”


I would modify this by one word. I don’t “have” to write, not in the negative sense of the word. I “get” to write. I’ve been given the privilege to use words to help people.


It’s a privilege I need to honor and respect and use for God’s glory.


Why do you write?




4 Responses to Why Do Writers Write?

  1. Jacqueline Stem September 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Well said, Henry. Writing is addictive. A check now and then is like saying sic ’em to a dog. And look at all the interesting people you get to meet! Almost everyone will open up to a writer.

    What a life. Jackie

  2. Henry September 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Thank you, Jackie. It sure is an exciting journey.

  3. Deborah Dee Harper September 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Henry… so, so right! We’ve been given a gift and the opportunity, desire, privilege, and responsibility to use that gift to further God’s glory. What a wonderful way to live!!


  4. Henry September 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Amen to all you wrote, Deborah.

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