The big question. We ask it at least once every day. Come on, admit it. You do, too.
It's how we learn more about the world around us, and grow academically.
'Why' is an essential word in our vocabulary. And it should be. Scientists and scholars couldn't have answered the world's most important questions without first asking, "Why?" Without it, progression would be stalled.
It begins early. The human need to know...everything.
Young children begin asking the big question at around the age of two. Mothers around the world can attest to the innate curiosity that drives a toddler.
Why am I walking? Why is the apple red? Why do I have to eat my peas? Why is it cold outside? Why is it taking so long? Why can't I stay home? Why is it dark at night? Why do I have to get up? Why is it Tuesday? Why...why...why!
So, when a friend asked me the big question, I shouldn't have been surprised to hear it. As I struggled to form words into a coherent answer, I realized that, though it was the first time I'd been asked, it most likely wouldn't be the last.
I'm not good with on-the-spot answers. I guess that's one of the reasons I like writing. While typing, I can take all the time I need to contemplate every scene and phrase spoken within the confines of the written word. Deep in thought, eyes staring off into space, I weigh every statement until I'm sure I've gotten it right. But face to face, after stumbling over a quick answer, I've often walked away saying, "Why didn't I say it this way?" or "I should have said it that way."
So, back to the question. It's not rocket science, and I should have had a ready answer on my lips. We'd been talking about the financial aspects of publishing a book, and the royalties that come with it. My well-intentioned friend balked at the percentages and bi-annual payments that go along with publication. Contrary to what most people think, writing a book is not a 'get-rich-quick' profession. With the dawning of this realization came the logical next question.
Why do you write? Is it even worth it?
Uh, I stuttered. I could feel the heat rise up in my face as I struggled for the correct answer. Um, yes, I stammered. I think it's worth it. At least I hope so.
And as previously mentioned, in hindsight I can think of a hundred reasons why it's worth it to me. A thousand reasons why I write. But in that split second of time, my mind went blank.
It can't only be about the money. Otherwise, the 'why' may not have a satisfying answer. Unless you're J.K. Rowling or James Patterson, the income from writing can be underwhelming, to say the least. In those moments after the question was asked, I paused to ask myself the same question my friend had posed just minutes before.
The quick answer is that it fills me up and feeds my obsessive personality's need to be doing something. It gives me purpose and determination to complete my task. And satisfies my need to share with others.
It's the drive, and the dedication to the story and characters that keeps me typing. The thrill of describing a scene in just the right way, so others can picture the story happening, just as I do.
And the intrinsic resolve to finish what I started.
It's the feeling of accomplishment, paired with pride in my work.
And just recently, having had the opportunity to recieve feedback from readers as they're reading my novel, it's the imeasurable light that glows from inside of me, knowing that others can connect with my story as I do.
I could go on and on listing countless reasons why I write. But I've come to a realization.
It's not the why that matters.
If you allow yourself to obsess about the 'whys' in life too much, you might talk yourself out of doing something truly important.
At that pivotal moment in your life, if you can't find the 'politically correct' answer or an acceptable reason why, you may back down and deny your life's dream.
So, though asking 'why' truly is an essential question to humankind, just remember, it's not the only question to ask.
Sometimes, the more important question to ask is...
Kristen L. Jackson, Author of KEEPER OF THE WATCH release date 2/1/18
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