Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Do We Write? ~ Author James. R. Callan

Hi everyone! Please welcome author James R. Callan.


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:

Website:                             www.jamesrcallan.com
Blog:                                      www.jamesrcallan.com/blog
Amazon Author page:                http://amzn.to/1eeykvG
Twitter:                                                @jamesrcallan



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!

37 comments:

Amber Schamel said...

Wow! What a bio. Thanks for the great post. It's so important to keep the why in front of you, and we all need the reminder.
I write to spread the Truth and to give Christian people something to read that supports good morals and a Christ driven life.

I will have to get his book. Characters are what I am working on improving right now.

Linda Glaz said...

I have to write for the same reason I have to breathe, couldn't live without it.

Elaine Manders said...

Great interview Natalie and thank you, James, for using your talent for the right reasons. I write because the stories come to me and I have to get them down. Yes, it brings me great joy.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Why do I write? I write to give life to characters with stories to tell. I write to fulfill my childhood dream of being a published author. I write to entertain with stories of love and suspense that teach about faith and good moral values. I write to teach my middle school students you're never to old to pursue your dreams - life comes with ups and downs, road blocks (rejection letters) just mean you're supposed to take a different route not give up the journey. I write because it's part of who I am.

Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Amber! Good to see you here! I personally love your characters. :)

I'll put your name in the drawing!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Linda! I love to see writers with a passion for their craft! Makes for a very good read. :)

Natalie Monk said...

Good to see you, Elaine. Thanks!

I love the "have to get them down" part. I'm always frantically searching for scrap paper in the car or the grocery store to get a piece of a story down. When I have ample supply of paper, the ideas hide. Lol!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Rhonda! This sounds like a wonderful mission statement!

Great reasons to write. And I love the "never give up" approach! Putting you in the drawing!

Natalie Monk said...

Oh! Putting you in the drawing!

Natalie Monk said...

Good luck in the book drawing!

JoyAveryMelville said...

Called by God to write. . .when I don't, I suffer...when I do, I'm so blessed seeing His hand in it. I so want to read this book of Jim's. My books are character driven more than anything else - LOVE making up my characters. . .
What a great post, Natalie. Glad I checked this link out.

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Joy!
Creating characters is one of my favorite parts of writing, too!
I'll put your name in the drawing. :)

James Callan said...

Thanks, Amber. Good reason to write. Gives you a nice goal to aim for. Remember, good characters, memorable characters, are what spawn a series. jim

James Callan said...

For heavens sake, keep writing, Linda. We need you. jim

James Callan said...

Fantastic, Elaine. I love it when stories force their way into the mind. Please share them with us. jim

James R. Callan said...

Hard to argue with any of those reasons. And teaching students of the joy of reading is a very special thing to do - for our very future. Thanks. jim

James R. Callan said...

I'd say, if God calls, you need to answer. And thanks for your kind words. I hope you love the Character development book. jim

Pegg Thomas said...

I'm writing to get rich quick. This is my 5th year. Still not published. It's not workin' out quite like I envisioned it. ;)

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Patricia Bradley said...

I might make 25 cents an hour writing, so I guess that lets money out. One reason I write is because it cured my ADHD. :-)
But the real reason I write, is that I hope readers will connect with my characters. I had a reader to email me that she had the same problem as my heroine and the way my heroine handled the problem helped her, and it made a difference in her life. I cried when I read the email. And I'm not a crier. I write because I can't not write. pat at ptbradley dot com
Great post!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Pegg! Nothing about writing is how I first invisioned it. :) But wordsmithing definitely has its own unique rewards. I've put you in the drawing!

Natalie Monk said...

Good to see you, Patricia. What a beautiful validation of your writing! I dream of that day. That also reminds me that when I'm blessed by a book, I should tell the author. And other readers! :) Putting you in the drawing.

Sharon A Lavy said...

Would love to have this book. Put me in the drawing.

Susan said...

Why do I write? Several reasons. Using God's gift of abundant words, creativity, wanting to write a genre I enjoy reading (regency) and to infuse words of faith into fiction. There are more reasons, but this gets the list started :}

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Sharon! You're in!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Susan! I enjoy regencies as well. Hope to read yours someday! Putting you in the drawing.

Peggy Trotter said...

I would love to read your book to enhance my characters! Enter me!

Terri Reed said...

Why do I write? Good question. For me it's to get the voices out of my head. Hahahaha. No, seriously.
I enjoyed the blog and will look for Mr. Callan's book.

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Peggy! Putting your name in the drawing!

Natalie Monk said...

Welcome, Terri!

That's as good a reason as any! Ha! Ha! Putting you in the drawing.

Betty Willis said...

I write because God won't leave me alone til I do.

James Callan said...

Quick is such an indefinite term. It may still happen - depending on how you define quick. Good luck.

James Callan said...

What a great reason. And what a great reward to get a message like that. Congratulations.

James Callan said...

Good luck, Sharon.

James Callan said...

Sounds like a good reason to me.

James Callan said...

Good luck, Peggy. Characters are what people remember - not the plot.

James Callan said...

That's when I know it's time to start the book - I hear snatches of conversation between the characters of the book.

Natalie Monk said...

Random winner has been selected via Random.org. Winner is Amber Schamel! Congrats, Amber! I'll be in touch with you soon.