Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why Do I Write?

Today my guest is author Randy Rawls. I met Randy and his trademark cowboy hat when I attended my first SleuthFest in Florida many years ago. I'm delighted to have him here at Terry's Place, sharing why he writes. Welcome, Randy.

(And it's my day at The Blood-Red Pencil, so while Randy's holding down the fort here, pop over and see what I have to say about the Rule of Three.)

Why do I write? I've had people ask me that since I began some fifteen-plus years ago. Most of them see the list of books I've had published and think I'm rolling in dough. Ha! The joke's on them. Sure, I've had good sales along the way, especially when you consider that each of them was published by an independent (small) publisher. But show a profit — no way. I've spent far more in promotion and travel than I've ever made.

So why do I write? It's a hobby, yes, but so is reading. And reading is a lot less frustrating. I used to be an avid golfer. Several times a week, I was on the course — after work and weekends — banging that little white ball around. But I gave it up. Tennis was another sport I enjoyed. Played a better game than my golf, but I let it slip away, too. Many other hobbies have come and gone: coaching, photography, bridge, small stakes poker, gardening, etc. But reading has stuck with me through each of those, and writing has hung around longer than the others.

So why do I write? Oh, like many others, I suppose there is that dream of fame and fortune, a book tour where I sit on the sets of all the big TV shows and discuss one of my books. Of picking up a newspaper or a magazine and seeing a starred review of my story. Of hosting a signing and having the room full of people, perhaps even overflowing. Of signing my name on the title page until my hand begins to cramp. Of seeing my characters converted to the big screen or the small screen. Of getting a royalty check that causes me to consider that special car I've always coveted. Yeah, all those things would be ever so wonderful, but, as we say down south, ain't gonna happen.

So why do I write? Simply put, because I enjoy it. I love the feel of the story rolling out in front of me, of not knowing where it will take me. I love to introduce a character and seeing that person take on a life of his/her own, a life I never considered when I put the name and the setting together. I love to find myself deep in a situation with my protagonist, then, as if someone turns on a spotlight, see the protag resolving the crime many chapters later. Sometimes, it's so strong I have to stop and write the climax chapter before I can continue the story development. Then there is the pleasure of walking the plot forward until it joins up with that climax. Yeah, that's fun.

But, why do I write? All of the above, but the real reason I write is for the thrill of having someone say, "I enjoyed your book." That is the icing on the cake, the single thing that makes all those hours of pounding the keyboard, all the editing and re-editing worthwhile. The simple pleasure of knowing someone found enjoyment in something I wrote. It doesn't get any better than that.

Which leads me to my THORNS ON ROSES. Many have been telling me they enjoyed Tom Jeffries and his trek to avenge the death of Mary Lou Smithson. They took strength from Tom's loyalty to his best friend, Mary Lou's stepfather. As long as there are fans who care, I'll continue to write — whether I show a profit or not.

For more about Randy, visit his web site at www.RandyRawls.com He'd love to hear from you and can be reached at RandyRawls@att.net. He's the multi-published author of the Ace Edwards, Dallas PI series and his latest release, THORNS ON ROSES, a South Florida thriller. In addition, he has several short stories which have been published in various anthologies.

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Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Randy,

I think we write because we can't not write. We just need to do it. Self-expression is a creative compulsion.

Good luck with your new book. Hope it is a bestseller.

Maryann Miller said...

Enjoyed this piece very much. I think for all of us who write, you said what is in our hearts. And when a writer cares as much about the writing and the readers as you do, it is reflected in the work.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

Wow, Randy. You have said exactly what many of us feel. Good luck to you, and I admire you dedication to the craft.

Anonymous said...

Me too, Randy - I just plain like to write - uh-huh, I'd like to make more money too but as long as I can manage to get ink cartridges I'm going to write as long as I can see the keyboard LOL.
Good luck to all of us,writers and readers alike,
Jackie Griffey

forensics4fiction said...

A very inspirational interview. Thanks for sharing Terry!

Elizabeth C. Main said...

Thanks, Randy, for saying so unselfconsciously what it feels like to write. People I meet fall into two camps: the first one thinks writing is a great way to make money; the second thinks I'm nuts for spending so much time playing with words instead of getting a steady paycheck. I agree with the comments already posted. We write because we have to write. Love your attitude. Liz

jenny milchman said...

That must be a thrill indeed, Randy--and I think we also write because the writing itself is a thrill. But I'll be thinking f&f (fame and fortune) thoughts for you...

Earl Staggs said...

Randy, what you said pretty much says it for me, too. Thank you for expressing so well what many of us feel.

Juliette Springs said...

I ignored my writing need for so many years and I was always unsatisfied with myself and my life. Now that writing is part of my daily routine (at least most days lol) I can say I feel satisfied in a way no other job (besides parenting) has brought. I write simply because it makes me feel good.....although riches and fame would be great too..lol

Randy Rawls said...

Here I go trying again. Sure hope I write better than I blog. Most of my blog posts seem to end up floating around in cyberspace. If they ever crash to the ground at the same time, we're in trouble.
Anyway, just want to say thanks for your support. Writing is a lonely business (as you know). It's nice to know others feel the same as I do.
Happy days to each of you.