Passion & Purpose

“Writers are the ones who notice the monstrosities that clamor around them. Writers hand love back through the ages to the child he once was.” — Jane Resh Thomas

If you write with your heart, you will, not by purpose or design, move in and about and change the hearts of others.

Writing is hard work. I will not lie to you. And I believe that we must start here, with the purpose of writing before we can go on to anything else. Purpose is what keeps me, a struggling writer, going to my desk day after day.

It’s not discipline, though discipline helps. It’s not skill, because I lack a great deal of that. It’s Heart, dear reader, for it’s the love of writing itself that brings me to the page every early morning. Without writing, I would be lost.

I write because I must. Do you write because you must? If you are writing for fame or money or success, I fear you are writing for the wrong reasons. And I promise that no amount of external rewards will not make you happy. History is full of writers who have achieved legendary status or awards and fortunes who have become depressed, hopeless, and addicted. Why weren’t the rewards enough?

This why matters because it targets the purpose behind your words. I want to know what is in your heart. I will admit that it is sheer madness to sit down every day, sit alone, and write something that no one will ever read. But I do not write as a hopeless writer. I have much hope. I tell myself each day I sit down to write, one day, one day I will publish a book, but it is not just any book … not just any story. One day I will publish hope.

Call me idealistic. Call my a moral pig who narrowly believes that writing must have a purpose. My writing teacher, Jane Resh Thomas once suggested that we writers of children’s literature are writing children’s literature for a reason, that we are handing back love through time to the struggling child we once were. You may not believe this, but I do.

I find that writers of children’s fiction more often than not had troubled or unhappy childhoods. Our stories tell the truth. We are honest, we show darkness, but we also show the light. We communicate a truth that children desperately need to hear – not a pat lesson, or moral instruction, or telling children how they need to be. What is that truth?

No matter how terrible things are, no matter how badly one fails, there is grace and hope and love, if only one has faith to turn the next page.

Your purpose does not have to be like mine. Perhaps your purpose is to share the kinds of stories that you love. Whatever the reason, your reason for writing must start from your heart and move out from there. And trust your heart, please trust. For it will lead you to where you need to go — straight to the heart of child.