Brief Bio of James R. Callan
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published four non-fiction books. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mysteries, with his sixth book releasing in Spring, 2014.
And why DO we write?
I have many friends who wonder why I spend so much time writing. Or why I spend any time writing.
Why do we write? There are many reasons. Money. Fame. Fulfillment. Impart knowledge. Fill a void. Keep a promise. Pass on family history. Therapy. Nothing else to do. Get the truth in print. The thrill of tracking down a story. The need to write. To make someone laugh. And probably a hundred others.
Money? Non-fiction does supply many a writer with a decent salary. One can write as a reporter with a regular paycheck. One can, particularly if they have some area of expertise, make money on a non-fiction book.
But when we’re talking about fiction, only a few make significant money against the time and effort put into the writing. I’m sure some fiction writers start out with that in mind. Ninety-nine point nine percent don’t achieve that. While I make money writing, the hourly wage writing provides would not be worthwhile. I could make more money selling rubber bands to a trucking company.
Fame can be as elusive as money. And even more fleeting. Warhol said we all get fifteen minutes of fame. Please don’t set your hopes your fifteen minutes will come from writing.
The idea of passing on family history is an excellent reason, one why many people should write. Family stories and history are often appreciated only when the opportunity to preserve them has passed. The person who knew those fascinating facts didn’t write them down and now is dead. Those stories are likely lost forever.
Therapy is another good reason. I know a famous writer who got into writing for exactly this reason. It worked – on two fronts. The therapy worked and the world got a plethora of good literature.
We as writers should understand why we write and make sure that reason actually gets fulfilled as we write. If we write for therapy, we cannot let the pressure or frustrations that sometimes come in writing affect us. We must avoid those by remembering why we are writing. Frustration is not the reason. If we begin to feel pressure, we need to readjust our thinking, back off, change whatever is causing the pressure.
If we write for fame, we need to decide what constitutes “fame” for us. If it’s to be on national TV as the next great writer, we might want to include some intermediate steps along the way. Perhaps start with getting a good review in the local newspaper, or an invitation to speak at the local Lions Club. Fame covers a wide range. Don’t let the only measure be the most difficult to achieve.
Money? Perhaps start on the non-fiction side. Once you’ve made some money with that phase of your career, then tackle the more elusive money of fiction.
Whatever the reason, take a good look at what is required to satisfy that reason, what milestones there are to measure your success. Think baby steps.
And from time to time, reevaluate your real reasons for writing or continuing to write. Because, foremost among the reasons for writing should be—enjoyment.
This is why I write, for the enjoyment. When I have crafted a good book, I feel immensely satisfied. A good scene makes me very happy. Even a well crafted sentence can bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. I feel good when I have written a satisfying paragraph. Writing offers many ways to enrich my life.
So, set goals which do not remove that most important reason for writing – the joy of writing.
Natalie here. Thank you, James. It's always good for us to examine our motives and count the cost--and rewards--of our pursuits. As in every area of our life as Christian writers, I know we hope most of all to bring God glory as we make use of our craft. And what indescribable joy and satisfaction He does give us as we follow His calling on our life out of a heart desiring to please Him! Then when He is pleased, we are pleased, and that is a wonderful combination.
James R. Callan's info:
Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1eeykvG
A Ton of Gold On Amazon at: http://amzn.to/UQrqsZ or Nook at: http://bit.ly/1kM7p1M
Crystal Moore stands on the brink of losing everything—her only family, her self esteem and her career. Because of a long-forgotten folktale, murders, arson, kidnapping, and firebombs besiege Crystal. And while she struggles to sort out the mystery, the man who nearly destroyed her emotionally reappears. This time, he can end her career. Crystal will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her street-wise housemate and Crystal's feisty grandmother.
Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel, (Oak Tree Press, 2013)On Amazon at: http://amzn.to/13ADvF3
A guide to Character Development. Learn How To... Sculpt your major characters, Create the bio, Develop motivation and conflict, Maximize The Fourth Dimension (The character Arc), Write effective Dialog ...and MORE!
James has graciously offered a copy of his book Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel as a giveaway. Comment for a chance to win! (Remember to leave your email in the following format: email (at) address (dot) com.) Why do you write?
*winner of last week's giveaway, Women of Valley View: Pam, is Courtney Phillips. Congrats! I'll be emailing you soon!