Why We Write


Tonight I’m writing about stories, instead of writing a story.

Well, kind of.

I was asked by my younger son’s teacher to share a lesson on creative writing. For a class of friendly 4th graders I’ve watched sprout up like spring flowers from kindergarten.

I simplified the idea of story and creative writing for the younger set and prepared a fun writing activity, keeping in mind they’re nine and ten.

Why do we Write Stories?

  1. To tell others about something that happened
  2. To create something new with words, using the imagination God gave us
  3. To entertain others
  4. To bring glory to God with words

What’s in a Story?

  1. Characters–who the story is about
  2. Setting–where the story takes place
  3. Action–what happens in the story

Use the five senses in your story:

  1. Touch—Cold, hot, slimy
  2. Taste—bitter, sweet, scalding
  3. Sight—bright, dark, shining,
  4. Smell—stinky, delicious, musty
  5. Hearing—loud, quiet, squeaky

Even writing about writing, the pull toward words and what they make when they’re strung together just so is overwhelming. Beauty and truth in little nuggets of sound and sight that speak to others.

Words. Oh, how we writers love them. (Just not too many of them.)

So…why do we write stories?

Is it for that pull, that sense of creating something from nothing, bringing life to our imagination and giving God’s grace words and wings? Yes.

Not really for this reason, though it’s very true.


Like many writers out there, I’m in the thick of NaNoWriMo 2015, in which novelists and aspiring novelists set a goal of fifty thousand words (or 50k, as we writers lovingly refer to it) during the month of November.


It’s grueling and exhilarating all at once.

So…why do we write these stories?

A quick search online brings up a number of ideas, reasons, thoughts on the matter.

  1. To be fully alive. 2. To make a name for ourselves. 3. To change the world. 4. To discover meaning.

Personally, only number one resonates with me from that list, because when I write, I’m doing what God created me to do.

Making a name for myself isn’t the goal, and my meaning comes from my Creator and my relationship with Jesus Christ.

And I’m much more interested in touching a few souls than changing the world.

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:2-3)

So maybe it’s more about this, writers.


God putting a story–stories, hopefully–or characters inside you, and your heart bursting with the need to get them out, into the world. Something so vivid you have to give it–give them–words and lives.

Yes. That’s it.

That’s why we write.

Keep writing, writers. The world needs your stories.

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45:1)

Two Great Books and a Blank Page

I heart books.

All sorts of them. Stories are undiscovered or old friends, holding out a hand for adventure, love, mystery, and lessons in grace.

I read two books recently that blew me away, and I wanted to share them.


51b9DsqgZeL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Promise to Keep, by Elizabeth Byler Younts

I don’t read a lot of Amish. I just don’t. But Elizabeth Byler Younts is an author I’ll always keep an eye out for.

In Promise to Keep, she uses her gentle, lovely way with words, mixing the quiet, insulated world of the Amish with the harsh realities of PTSD from World War II. It’s a poignant story about loss, forgiveness, trust, and blossoming love.

Esther Detweiler has spent her life caring for others, most recently her deceased cousin’s young daughter, Daisy. Daisy is deaf, and her father, Marine Joe Garrison, has no idea how to communicate with or care for his daughter when he returns stateside after service.

He not only mourns his late wife but now carries demons of his own via the war-torn trenches overseas.

Joe’s return to Sunrise, Delaware creates a whirlwind of emotions for Esther and Daisy, who communicate through sign language and are bonded like mother and daughter. Despite her great love for Daisy, Esther–who grew up fatherless–knows she must reunite Joe and Daisy and begin to let go of the sweet young girl.

But how can she without tearing her heart out?

Younts carefully crafts a tale of hurt and loss coupled with grace and forgiveness. There’s some truly beautiful writing in this story. The author’s turns-of-phrase are soft and strong, perfect for the depth of emotion needed to convey Daisy’s socially-shunned disability, Esther’s lonely spinsterhood, and Joe’s heavy nightmares.

The story builds at a steady pace, until the pleasing final chapters wrap up with satisfying sigh. Or two, or three. Fans of Amish fiction and of WWII, grace-filled romance will love Esther, Joe, and Daisy’s story. It’s one I highly recommend.


51xzbYMMWfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Secrets She Kept, by Cathy Gohlke

People often ask bookworm-types (I’m a proud bookworm) this difficult question: “Who’s your favorite author and/or book?”

Umm, that’s like choosing which of your children you love more/most. Impossible.

So. While I can’t claim to know which book is my favorite, I will claim a favorite author.

Cathy Gohlke’s stories simply change me. They shift something in my soul, on a spiritual and emotional level, and take my breath. They burrow deep.

Secrets She Kept?

It. Changed. Me.

Secrets a mother could never share…consequences a daughter could not redeem..

Secrets She Kept is Hannah Sterling’s story, set in the 70s, about a young woman desperate to make sense of her distant, deceased mother’s life. And it’s her mother, Lieselotte’s story, an independent teenager during Hitler’s heavy-handed regime, in love with her brother’s best friend and grieving a parental loss amidst Nazi turmoil.

Hannah and Lieselotte’s lives run parallel as the author weaves inescapable danger, loss, forbidden love, and their fractured family into a story at times so vivid I had to catch my breath.

The mysterious secrets of Lieselotte’s life unfold page after page, in a haunting way, revealing actions and decisions that, though fictional, honestly reflect the hatred and persecution we’re called to never forget.

And challenge us to forgive those we don’t think we ever could.

If you’re a fan of WWII women’s fiction, romance, or mystery, check out Secrets She Kept. It’s an unforgettable story that stirred my soul.


I heart books.

I just started book two in my young adult series. How I love that first, blank page. A blinking cursor and my characters, ready to reveal who they are and what they want–need–to do.

The blank page…where the Holy Spirit leads my imagination, and words combine to create something new.


I’m also praying and trusting God to provide the right agent for my YA and women’s fiction stories, and an eventual avenue for publication (Prov. 3:5 & 6). God is so good and I trust His timing.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever! ~ Ps. 106:1


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