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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Ask Ann-Marguerite™: Why Should I Write?

To my right, a soft glow streams in through the window, bathing the world in warmth and wonder. Remains of night, each shadow and whisper of wind, entwine with dawn’s joyous twinkling, the break of day a dance upon le journal I hold in my hands. As the novembre breeze sways within the branches of trees, the sunlight catches through the leaves and obscures the ink print before me.

I adjust my lunettes and shift in my seat, unfolding the newspaper until it fully blocks the rising sun that peeks over the rooftops of downtown Paris. My eyes drift to the only section of the weekly paper I ever bother to read, where is typed the contents of a short, concise little letter.

Dear Ann-Marguerite,

I smile. The sight of my name is a bolster in a world of constant worry, unrealistic deadlines, and inconceivably disheartening news.

For years—I cannot recount the exact number—I have wanted to write. Always I have loved to read, and stories never cease to entertain me. However, I’ve neither the experience nor the expertise to begin. Also, at this time in my life I fear it would be too late for me to invest in writing.

I suppose the question I pose to you is this: Should I write?


A Dreamer in Doubt

My lips turn down, my fingers involuntarily reaching for the cup of café positioned alongside my typewriter. There is another letter printed beneath it, the both of them barely filling the column the editor granted me a semaine past. This next question is fundamentally the same—although written by a young adolescent. The question is whether or not, and frankly why, they should begin writing at this stage in their life. One too young, the other too old.

I set down my coffee cup, fold the paper and lay it behind my typewriter, then poise my fingers over the keys. The traditional publishing industry, for all its merits, has quickly distinguished the joys, hopes, and aspirations of writers across the world. The question is no longer whether or not they are willing to put their heart and soul into their work. It is simply should they?

The answer is simple.

I should know, for I have asked myself and been asked many times before. The answer remains the same, in every possible case.

You should write because you can do nothing else.

You should write because you have a true passion for stories, for words, and for worlds.

You should write because it is a gift that you have been given that cannot be revoked, suppressed, or discarded.

Age and experience does not factor into writing. Experience comes with writing, and therefore one cannot gain it unless one ventures forth, and age is inconsequential. The greatest writers begin as children, and are oftentimes published as young adults, but still the maturity of an elderly person is the best of advantages.

My advice…

I peer up at the second sheet of paper now nestled in my typewriter. If I were asked to encourage all those who wondered why, who were uncertain if they ought to begin writing in the first place, how would I do so? I could not merely wish them luck and send them on their way. All beginning writers need sound advice on every aspect of writing they should encounter, and even beyond into the realms of editing, publishing, and marketing.

I should walk these aspiring writers through every step, and I should begin with the words, why should you not?

Dear Dreamer,

What reason remains that you should not begin writing? No matter the time or the place, the juncture or the period—that which resides in your heart is left unchanged. If what has been placed within you is the desire to tell a story, to one or to millions, then why should you refuse to?

You have nothing to lose by writing, but rather everything to gain.

Do not let the conventions, the norms, or the naysayers of society discourage you from pursing the call God has laid upon your heart. The journey will not be easy, oui, but what does not kill you makes you stronger. Take each step lightly, with wonder, emerging yourself slowly. Enjoy both the hardships and the accomplishments alike.

Should you begin writing now? Oui! Write now, write tomorrow, and write your yesterday. Fill them all, the days of the past and the days yet to come, with contentment, peace, joy. And, most importantly, with amour.

But...if you have no desire to embrace the call or endure the trials, then I advise you not to force yourself. Writing is for everyone and no one. The pressure is immense. I do not wish to dissuade you; however, being a writer is no easy task. It is not a seldom practice, something dictated by will or whim. It comes...and so quickly it dominates. It is a passion, and no passion can be contained, restrained, controlled. The nature of word themselves are so powerful, awesome and glorious. They stem from Christ Himself, the Word in flesh who dwelt among us. Who are we to undermine His might and the might of the words He uses?

Being a writer is one of the most amazing blessing you could be given. I ask you not take it for granted, that you accept it for all that it is: freedom and unlimited power. You have the ability to spell out destinies, shape young minds, and renew worn souls. fathomless, inescapable, unexplainable.

You should write, and you should do so with your whole heart. It will not be simply executed or grasped immediately—and so I ask that you let me guide you. The facets of writing are many and more, but we will learn them together, mon ami.

Come, let us write.

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