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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why Do We Write?

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I’ve had my nose buried in books since I was old enough to turn the pages. Words are my passion and my love for reading eventually developed into a love for writing. 

Now that I’m a published author and discovered what being an author involves, my relationship with books has changed.   When I see a book – regardless of whether it captures me or not – I treat it with new found respect because I know what it took to write it.

Although it's a wonderful and exciting experience, the writing process is a tricky one that often sparks the question:  Why write?

The answer is simple but before I explain, here’s a glimpse of a few things I’ve learnt about what being an author entails and why I view books so differently now: (And I don’t speak for all the authors out there!)

1.  Writing is fun but it's hard work.  Seriously hard work.  Late nights, long hours, plot twists, word counts, sleep deprivation, doubt crows, edits, revisions, and more. 

2. Unless you’re a JK Rowling or EL James, many authors don’t make their fortunes through book sales and it’s a frequent struggle weighing up the income earned versus the time, tears, and hard work it takes to push out a book.

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3. The late nights mean that we often write in our PJ’s and slippers! What could be more comfortable? I have a nightly ritual once my kids are in bed – I shower, slip into my comfies and head to my laptop to write for the night. I make a point of showering and dressing every morning before going to my desk. If I don’t then I might never get there once I lose myself to my characters!

4. Many authors are not full time writers. We write because we love it but there are still bills to pay, children to care for, homes to run, or jobs to go to. Writing often has to fit into the brief available gaps in our daily schedules.

5. Reviews count. As a reader, I never realized the importance of reviews until I became an author myself. So why review a book once you’ve read it? Because authors like to know your thoughts. Personally, there’s nothing more exhilarating for me than when I receive a message from a reader who loved one of my books. Pure joy.

6. But reviews can also hurt. Remember that old rhyme? “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” Well in this case, bad reviews might not break our bones, but they definitely sting. We realize that our books aren’t for everyone and often view the reviews as a way of improving our craft but hope that any negative reviews are done so with respect and carefully considered words.  After all, there’s a human being at the tail end of that review!

7. Actual writing takes up only a small portion of our time. Social media, research, book edits, website management, blog posts, and marketing take up the bigger chunk. It’s so easy to lose precious writing time to all of this and we often have to remind ourselves to get back to what we really love – writing.

8. We LOVE to hear from our readers. So next time you adore a book, pop the author a message and make her day! (She might just be encouraged to write another one!)

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9. As exciting as it is to receive "The Call"” from a publisher with an offer, the road to being published is a daunting process subject to a lot of public evaluation. Often, a Rhino’s skin is called for!

10. So ... having said all this, what makes us write besides our passion for storytelling?

Knowing that somewhere, someone was touched by our stories enough to keep turning the pages - and loved them!

And that’s why we write!

Thank you for reading.

Rae Rivers

The Keepers is a magical Paranormal Romance Series published by Harper Impulse, an imprint of Harper Collins. 


  1. Wow, Rae, I could'n't have said it better myself. Being an author is no joke, but we love it anyway. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. What a great post, Rae. And so true!

  3. Echoes how we all think! Lovely post.

  4. Hit the nail on the head, Rae! Well said :)

  5. Spot on, Rae! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Spot on, Rae! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I beg to differ. Since becoming an author, I criticise books more while I read them. I notice more, good and bad, instead of getting lost in the story. Having said that, if I really like a book, these days I go out of my way to say so.

  8. PJ's and hot chocolate! Goes with the cozy feel of the writing, as you've said, Rae! Nice!!!

  9. Great post Rae! Thanks for sharing the gift of your experience!

  10. Thank you so much for all the lovely comments. Glad that you agree with me! Our writing journeys are not always easy ones but we keep at it because we love telling our stories! Thanks for reading!

  11. Well, there's something to be said for a dress code of PJ's and there's many a night I've worked through the night. It's a passion that takes over your life, but one heart-felt review wipes away the memory of long days and rounds of editing! A fabulous post, Rae, and actually a bonus to know someone else feels the same way I do!

  12. I myself view books differently now, yet still open minded to any books I read. I agree, write stories because you love it-it's your passion-it's what keeps you turning at night instead of suppose to sleeping! Yep...that's me. But it's not always easy letting out those characters story. Hard work, perseverance and patience will get you there. Rae-great post and true words!