Welcome to today! Let me get straight to business, as a good student of Mary Buckham would do. Last month, my local writing chapter, Romance Writers of America-San Diego, hosted Mary as our guest speaker and her craft and branding workshop was outstanding. I highly recommend you check them out. I’m not one to take pages and pages of notes because I like to listen to all those little one-liners and short stories the speaker usually throws in between the meat of the presentation. Well, I ended up with a couple pages of “Mary-isms”. I loved them! She’s great. My favorite, however, was this:
It’s not about what you do, it’s about why you do what you do. That’s what the readers are connecting with.
She then challenged us to figure out for ourselves why we have to write and proceeded to briefly mention Sherrilyn Kenyon. My heart instantly warmed. Mary asked the room if anyone was familiar with Sherrilyn’s why story. Several hands shot up, mine included. I also got goosebumps. Anyone who knows me understands the deep love I have for SK and I knew exactly what Mary was talking about in that instant. If you’ve read any of SK’s books, but especially if you’ve heard Sherrilyn speak, you know why she writes. She doesn’t have to spell it out. Attend one of her signings, and you will pick up on it. I won’t try to put it into words or speak for my favorite author, but I can tell you Sherrilyn is coming from a place that was once painful and her why, in my mind, is that she wants her readers to know that it will be okay and they are not alone.
Redemption. Family. Forgiveness.
As her devoted reader, I believe that combination is Sherrilyn’s why.
Sometimes when you are posed a question, does your mind become a blur? Do you become either a completely blank slate or are you inundated with thousands of pieces of what could eventually be a clear answer to the question if you could only sort and connect them? That is often me. But when Mary challenged us to figure out our why that day, as easy as a passing breeze, it came to me. It was that I never want anyone to feel ashamed or alone because of things they’ve done or have had done to them in their life. Too many people, with generous and kind and thoughtful souls, suffer the judgment of others before they are given a chance to show their worth.
Worthy. Second Chance. Unashamed.
That combination is my why.
What is yours? I’d genuinely love to know.
A HUGE thank you to Mary Buckham for posing this question to a room of people who most certainly all have a why. And to Dianna Love, co-author of Breaking Into Fiction, which I highly recommend for every writer out there. It’s the craft book I finally understand and I use it with every story I write. And to Sherrilyn Kenyon. For her bravery.
Find more about Mary HERE at her website.
Find more about Dianna Love HERE at her website.
Find more about Sherrilyn HERE at her website.
Find more about me, Carlene, HERE at my website.
25 thoughts on “WHY thank you, Mary Buckham ;-)”
This is such a great post, Carlene. I was also deeply inspired by Mary’s lecture that day, and have spent so much time thinking about this exact same thing! I write stories that will hopefully inspire readers to never give up on their dreams, to explore possibilities, and to follow their passions in life. If I had to reduce it to three words?
Inspiration, Exploration, Celebration
Hello, Kristin! Welcome to the lagoon, it’s so nice to have you here. I love your three words. I think we hear things like inspire, explore, celebrate, and we take them for granted. Or we don’t feel like we deserve or have the ability or the time to go after things like that. Or we’ve forgotten their importance. I’m happy you are writing stories that will be reminders for us to keep inspiration, exploration and celebration in our lives. Thank you, Kristin. Very much.
I love this Carlene, and I love your “why.” Thanks for posing this tough, thought-provoking question for us. For me, I suppose I write because I believe that the human spirit is a beautiful thing, and when push comes to shove, it will always, always rise to meet the challenge. So my “why” would be something like this: Sacrifices. Tough choices. Moral courage.
Oh Pintip, you know how much I admire you and your writing. You have truly persevered in your life to bring these stories to fruition, and I know why these three words are so close to your heart and your writing. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. xoxo
Re: “It’s not about what you do, it’s about why you do what you do. That’s what the readers are connecting with”: Fascinating contention. My mind keeps toggling between “Wow! How insightful!” —and— “No, that’s NOT true!” It’s now become an earworm. Aaaaaugh! Thanks and blame to Mary Buckham AND Carlene Love. (Ha!) [Just discovered you Waterworld Mermaids…Way cool!] ~ Greg Godek, new RWA member (combining romantic fiction & non-fiction)
Greetings, Greg! I am smiling quite largely over here. Hmm, I would say, if you don’t mind my taking a stab at it, that part of your why when it comes to writing is Truth. And maybe some Fascination. I’m very humbled and honored that you’ve stopped by and discovered the lagoon today and shared a bit of yourself with us. I’m sure I speak for Mary as well when I say, “You’re welcome.” 😉
What a great question, Carlene. One I usually answer pretty glibly, “Why do I write? Because I can’t imagine not writing.” Perhaps the question for me is more why do I write what I write.
I think each of us has an interior self we need to make friends with, fight for, and forgive. It’s why I’m drawn to explore shapeshifters, because they literally have a “second self” they must come to grips with in order to become fully integrated.
Hmm, feeling a bit of stream of consciousness here, but maybe I write because “a house divided cannot stand” yet we are each “many aspects, one essence” and exploring the tension between those two statements is endlessly compelling.
Miss Keely, I am at once and as always and again, reminded of why I am so honored to know you. You have a way with words that is so unique and intelligent and insightful. I also know of your generosity and selflessness and this is why I am not surprised at all that you would come here today and share something, not glib, but incredibly profound. Here is to you and the wonderful shape-shifters you endeavor to make whole again. xoxo
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Love this post so much! Since I have completed my first book yet, I think I am still figuring out my Why. But I definitely think it has to do with inspiring others, especially those who have been judged or not supported by those that are close to follow their dreams. I loved Mary’s workshops and I have added that book to my wishlist. Hugs Carlene.
Hi there, Kimberly! Welcome to the lagoon and hugs to you too. You know, I have to say I’m very touched by writers in general, and especially when I read responses like yours. You are on a journey of realizing your own dreams and aspirations which requires a fair amount of self-realization, yet at the same time, you are thinking about ways in which to inspire and be there for others. It’s a beautiful thing and I truly enjoy that aspect of the writing community.
Definitely check out Breaking Into Fiction. If you are a movie fan, the method will click with you right away as they use templates from popular films to help guide you through the process of plotting your own story. It’s really tremendous what Mary and Dianna have done.
Thank you again for stopping by! Keep us posted on your writing endeavors.
Carlene ~ way to dig deep and explore the possibilities of your why. It’s not an easy question though at first glance it can appear that way. Those writers who can tap into their why–why they write their kind of stories–can create amazing power from that knowledge. Thanks so much for coming to the San Diego event, taking the notes and challenging yourself to discover your why. I’d say you’re off and running!
Hello Mary! It is a huge honor to have you here in the lagoon! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. I think you may have been an electrician in a past life because I keep having light bulb moments where you’re concerned! First with the Breaking Into Fiction book and now with your workshop. It was very encouraging to discover that “why we write what we write” ties in so closely to the overall themes of our writing. All essential things to know about oneself. Again, thank you for helping supply that power. You are a true shepherd of knowledge for writers in all stages of their writing careers. Big fishy hugs and kisses to you! xoxo
It’s a great question, Carlene, and I agree that it’s one that we should all know the answer to. The thing is, I think there are actually two questions that you’re asking: why do I sit (or stand, as the case may be) at my computer for hours every day writing and why do I write what I write. They’re very different answers, naturally.
The reason I stand at my computer every day to spin my tales is to escape. It the same reason why I read. Writing is just like reading or watching a movie or tv show for me. I get to walk in someone else’s shoes for a little a while and forget my own life and self. I love being someone else (I also acted when I was in college for the same reason).
Now, why I write the stories I do is because all of my stories are about people who just don’t fit in somehow. I write them because that’s how I’ve felt my whole life. I never quite fit in to my surroundings–or rarely did so. In college, I eventually found my niche, but it took me a while. It may also just be the writer in me, but I frequently tend to stand apart from life around me to just watch. That being apart, different, separated–all of my books have some element of that in them, and all my characters who are apart always find themselves, that’s my happy ending. 🙂
Thanks for posing such thought-provoking questions!
Hello Merry! I agree with you about the two sides to this one question. And just as you are in life, you answered with a very genuine calm and singularity here. I love that in answering this, that natural part of you came out for the rest to see. I think one of the neatest things about you is that you don’t fit in perfectly but you’re one of those people who we all gravitate toward because there is just something about you that we relate to. The stories I’ve been fortunate to read of yours are all very distinct and always make me feel good. Perhaps knowing “why” you’ve written them now explains why I get that feeling. Here’s to you, your characters, and your readers continuing to find each other. xoxo
I love this question! So thought provoking. I used to write–and read–very serious “literary fiction.” The books were great, but I finished them feeling like I’d accomplished something, as opposed to enjoying my downtime. When I switched to romance, I found that I was escaping reality, escaping into worlds that made my days brighter and more fun. I read and write to escape the monotony, and to put off the scheduled chaos of the rest of the world. That has seeped into the themes of my books. At the heart of every paranormal and contemporary romance I write is the theme of being true to oneself and finding your joy. Every main character I write evolves to become her true self by the end. That’s what I want for my characters and my readers!
Hello Nicole! So nice to have you here at the lagoon! I love how you put that about feeling as if you’d accomplished something rather than enjoying it. I’d never thought of it that way. As a kid I started out reading True Crime books so I think we may be kindred spirits in that “serious” regard. I think sometimes it is forgotten that the romance genre not only provides that very special escape for its readers but also for its writers. Don’t you love how we can write the most fantastical, creative, out of this world stories yet keep them centered on the very pure and universal element of love? That is what I’m getting from reading your response. I feel your love not just for the genre but for what you are able to do within it. And at the same time I feel your joy at being able to stretch it to all the wonderful places you want to go. I wish you all the best with your characters, readers and finding that joy. 🙂
Love you, Carlene-Hero! I will keep it simple. I’ve been thinking about this question all night. Why do I write? I write because I can’t NOT write. I’ve tried. When I’m not writing, I feel like part of me is missing. That part of me is the part who believes in goodness, happy endings, sparkles, love, and that all of those things will win out in the end no matter what. 😉
Kerri-Hero! I love you. And this is why. Even in the face of answering a somewhat serious question, you manage to let your one-of-a-kind, bubbly effervescence shine. Yes, my dear friend and fishy sister, in the end, Sparkles will win out. If not, I know the powers that be will have you to contend with. You’ve got this. You CAN do it all. 😉 xoxoxo <3 <3 <3
I write because I’m a masochist, an introvert and a control freak. I love torturing myself over every mislaid word, imperfect paragraph or poorly developed internal conflict. As others have said, despite the frustration, I cannot no write. How many times have I told myself I won’t do it, and like that flagrant junkie, there I am, pecking the keys. For the introvert part, writing is really the only outlet for a lashing of emotions that I pretend don’t plague my soul. And then the control freak part; I LOVE being able to twist and turn the lives of people who don’t exist. Position them this way, that way, torment them and then ease their suffering. The last part is what won’t let me be a sadist, but I guess there is always tomorrow.
To any and all who happen to scan through these comments and read this:
In this world, there should exist at least one book, written by Masha, for all to read.
Not sure how else to put it.
Love. Your. Writing. Nothing else like it. xoxoxo
What a great post! I think my why is about having faith in yourself to find courage…courage to overcome fear, to stand up for what I believe in and for those that can’t. So for me Faith. Honor. Courage.
Hi there, Ana. Why thank you! Really all the credit goes to Mary but I’m happy to have brought her question to even more of us out here.
Your “why” is wonderful! There is so much that a writer must be first before he or she can then ask it of their characters. Being brave is one of those traits.
So happy to have you here in the lagoon today! I wish you a plenitude of faith, honor and courage in your writing, xoxo.
That was such a great meeting for sure! I think I could categorize my why as I believe in magic. I believe in the magic of words, and of heroes, and of love. I know we all come from such different backgrounds, but I think believing in something beyond ourselves, it connects all of us.
Hello Tessa! So good to have you here with us fishy folk. 🙂 Yes! I love the simplicity of your why. **Why do I write? Because I believe in magic.** I’m not sure it gets much cooler than that. If you happen to stop back by, I’d love to know your favorite element of magic to write about. 🙂 Have a wonderful day, fellow San Diegan!
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