Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why do we write? by Terry Burns

The market for westerns is soft. That means editors aren't buying many. A group of western writers I interface with have been talking about this with several saying they weren't sure they wanted to try to write them any more. Keep in mind this group has bibliographies up well in the hundreds. The discussion has been enlightening. One writer summed up the thoughts of many when he said:

"Now I don't know about the rest of this crowd, but I for one write for the love of writing. And I write westerns for the love of the American west. I write for the love of Bob Steele and Hoot Gibson and Randolph Scott and John Wayne, those people who birthed my imagination back when a bent stick could be a blazing six-gun and my old dog a faithful steed. I write, I suppose, because I've never really grown up."

I love westerns too, always have. I haven't tried to write traditional westerns because I came to the party late and I knew it. I've had some small success in writing some in the time period for the Christian market, and I'm trying to reach out to some new readers of the old west with a YA series. That's a tough sell too.

But is that why I write? No, that's why I have written in that time period, for the love of it. The long answer of why I write is on my website, under the writing testimony link. The short answer to why I do what writing I still do, and my efforts to help other writers get their words out is very simple. After much soul-searching and foot-dragging, I believe God has asked me to do it, and until I am relieved from one or both tasks I'll continue to do it.

Some write to achieve recognition, some for financial gain, some because they have words on their heart and nothing will do but to get them out. A secular writer who doesn't sell books well up in the five figures does not impress the mainstream publishing industry. A Christian writer who makes only a single sale but that sale changes someone's life would be considered a success. Having said that, I don't know a single Christian writer (including myself) who only wants a single sale. We all want to get our words in as many hands as possible, and sales is how we measure how well we are doing that. I write out of love and obedience . . .

. . . why do you write?


Timothy Fish said...

I write to communicate.

writer jim said...


Like you, I write out of love and obedience.

Furthermore, I write because I want the American people to 'Welcome God Back In' all throughout OUR nation, rather than face the unimaginable: a day 1000 times worse than 9/11.

Also, writers should check out Terry's website 'writing testimony' link. It has to be some of the best info available for those who feel God called on them to write, etc.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Not being able to sing or play an instrument, I see my writing as an act of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord.

He gives me a passion for writing about His grace and foregiveness and to top it off...I thoroughly enjoy serving in this way. What a blesing!

I can't imagine not writing.

patriciazell said...

I have written because I had something to say. Now that I have written the book as posts on my blog, I'm going to keep on my blog so anyone can freely read the content. And, I can turn my attention to other important aspects of my life.

Jeanette Levellie said...

If I don't write, I may explode. No one wants to see that, so I keep writing.

If only God saw the glimmer from a star, it would still shine.

I'd love to make lots of money from my writing, but if I don't, I will still shine for the God who gave me words.

BTW, I love westerns. Please don't stop!

Marlene said...

I write because there is some innate drive in me that won't let me not write. I have much to say for the Lord and it's humbling as well as thrilling to be given the task of penning words to exalt our Redeemer. I write because GOD gave me the calling for His glory and my pleasure. I love writing but I love my gracious GOD even more.

I am writing a western now and find it a challenge to research for my writing about African Americans in the old west. I love westerns, have most of my life. My father turned me on to them when I was a little girl sitting with him watching television. His opinion was, "There's nothing better then a good shoot 'em up." I grew to love them myself and and am now reading the old Zane Grey Western Legends and love them. Whether there's a market for an African American western...maybe not but I'll write it because it's fun and in loving memory of my late father, Bill Banks. said...

I have read such good messages here tonight. This is my first time on this site.
However, I checked out the gifted authors and my heart sank.
There is no doubt I feel out of my league. Still, I can not quit writing, it is in my bones. I want to be a Novelist for the Way Maker. That's my site. and the Way Maker is the Lord Jesus, Himself. I shall write until He takes me out. Iris VanDeventer-Whitney