NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN DEAN
reposted from 22 February 2016
Why Writers Write
…or why this writer writes, anyway. 😉
I applied for a job after my last child graduated from high school. Since we homeschooled I hadn’t worked outside the home in quite a while, so putting together a resumé was something of an ordeal. How could I explain the twists and turns of my life?
As I wrote I began to see a sure direction in the seemingly random path of my life. In college I studied architecture but married after graduation instead of completing my masters and certification. I could design homes without the certification, and that’s where my heart was. Through many relocations and child-raising years, I drew custom house plans from a home office—a situation that gave my life balance. When our homeschool co-op needed a drafting teacher, I volunteered. They approached me about a high school writing course, and I accepted that position as well. I’d always loved writing and had written a state history course, Discover Texas, for my own children.
That experience was more or less like writing ten separate-but-related research papers, turning out one per month for each chronological era. I’d learned a lot of shortcuts between the first chapter and the last, so I knew I could teach high school students to write a research paper efficiently and make it interesting. While researching Discover Texas I’d also discovered many inspiring human interest stories. After my first child graduated, I tried my hand at historical fiction. The result was More Precious Than Gold, the first novel in an inspirational series. I was hooked…but life was busy. Discover Texas had become a cottage industry in its own right. Children graduated high school, then college…then marriage proposals and wedding plans and more moves. I got to put my architectural talents to work remodeling the house we left and the one we moved into, juggling time to help aging parents with moves of their own. Frustrated, I made time during one quiet month to enjoy combining my love of architecture and writing in a project just for fun—Home Sweet Hole: A Folio of Feasible Fantasy Floor Plans. I told myself I was just “keeping one foot in the water,” but the little book came out about the same time as the Lord of the Rings movies and surprised me by becoming a very good seller. Encouraged, I waded cautiously back into writing—this time returning to non-fiction to produce a series based on my most popular homeschool convention presentations. How to Teach the Way Your Child Learns and How to Make Learning Meaningful, Memorable, and Fun are published, and the final two books in the Homeschool How-To series will release by summer.
In the end I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I commented to a family member that I was glad I wrote the resumé. It helped me see how everything I did fit together—even if it sometimes didn’t seem to while I was doing it.
She responded, “Oh. Well, I’m glad. You never really decided what you wanted to do when you grew up.”
Gotta admit—that stung. I wanted to snap back a protest. “Oh yes, I did! I wanted to do it all…and I did!”
Instead I bit my tongue, but as usual I’m putting down in writing all the things I wanted to say but couldn’t.
You’re welcome. 😉
Writers write down the things they can’t say out loud. Most of us are introverts. It isn’t easy to speak publicly until we’ve had time to organize our thoughts. Writing gives us that time. Besides, the largest group I’ve ever spoken to at a convention was about 200 people. My books have been read by thousands of people—not enough to be called best sellers, but still a larger audience than I could have reached any other way.
Writers have something to say. Because I spend a lot of time quietly observing and “living inside my head,” I have many perspectives to share. Writing is a comfortable way to do that. It’s not “pushy” or confrontational. No one is obligated to buy or read what I write, so it’s almost as if readers are inviting me to share with them personally.
Writers write to help others. I like doing that! I wrote Discover Texas because I didn’t want my children to be bored with history, and there was no hands-on history course available at the time. Other homeschool parents liked it and asked if I’d publish it for their children. I’m writing the Homeschool How-To series to explain how and why hands-on learning works. I wrote More Precious Than Gold to show how God take difficult circumstances and turn them into a blessing, and I wrote Home Sweet Hole because…well, sometimes we just need a “happy place” to dream a little, even if it’s imaginary.
Often, writers want to help without hurting your feelings. We can say things through our characters that we wouldn’t and couldn’t tell you to your face. Instead we tell you a story like the one Nathan the prophet told King David. For example in the beginning of More Precious Than Gold the heroine, Eliza, is having a pity party—and she has every reason. Both her mother and her fiancé died in a war that she had no part in. She heads west to New Mexico Territory to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. At this point she has to decide whether her faith in God is just lip service or if she really trusts Him in both good times and bad.
Writers get a rush out of creating. Lest you think that writers are motivated solely by noble causes, I must admit that telling stories is just plain fun! There’s something about creating characters who will come to life in readers’ imaginations that gives me the same satisfaction as creating plans for a home that will envelope a family. Besides, I rather enjoy telling people what to do…but only in the kindest possible way. 😉
So that’s my story. All of our lives are a story, really, just as history is a story—the story of God working out His plans and reconciling the world to Himself, one life at a time.
Whatever direction your life and work take you, if God called you to it, He can use it even if the path is not always direct.
Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.
I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.
You can find Lynn at:
New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Discover Texas, More Precious than Gold, Home Sweet Hole