Beth Hautala

Children's Author

 

Why I Write

I used to be a little hesitant about telling people I write.

“What do you do?” The invariable question.

“I um . . . well I . . .” The invariable answer.

There is something difficult about telling people I set words to paper (or screen) for a living, and that yes, it is actually a viable profession. I’m not going to get rich off of it, but it’s viable nonetheless—that which gives me life. Which, in turn, is an appropriate answer to the second question I almost always receive.

“Why?”

Why do I write?

I could go several different directions with this one.

I hate math. Also, I’ve never been great at working with electricity or flashing saw blades (I can do these things, but not proficiently). I tend to get a little uncomfortable with public speaking. I can’t fly planes.

Trust me, there are a lot of logical reasons why writing is a reasonable profession.

But I didn’t get into it for logical reasons.

Words do something for me in the same way oxygen does something for me. I get up every morning knowing that I can reorganize my emotions, my convictions, and my belief in the impossible—my very self—in a manageable form if I can just reach a piece of paper. A transaction occurs from heart, to pen, to paper—a kind of breathing that is not all that different than the physical action my body performs.

It’s not that I always have something profound to say. Any small trace of profundity I might have once possessed was derailed by the birth of my children. But then, writing is not always about saying something. It is about how something is said. Solomon himself wrote that nothing new exists under the sun. The man was spot on.

I am convinced that even the most brilliant, inspired, genius storyteller—past, present, or future—will produce nothing intrinsically new. Everything is simply a retelling of what has been said already, plotted time and again, and closed with “The End,” et infinite.

But that’s alright, because here’s the part I love best:

It may have all been said before, but none of by me. And seriously, how great is that? I hear and feel and experience life in a way different from any other person on earth—and that isn’t some kind of egotistical expression of greatness, believe me. Because I’m not alone. Each and every person with breath in his or her body can claim the very same thing. One might use a saw blade or a coiled copper wire, another might fly planes or stand in front of large audiences, but every trader wields his tool with as much proficiency as he or she can muster. For me, the tool of my trade is a handful words.

Why do I write?

Because I want to say something beautiful in a way that rings true with every person who reads it.

Because there is nothing more perfect than a well placed word.

Because writing is my exhale.

Because I want some part of me to remain.

Because words create—shaping and forming nothing into something.

Because when I do this craft to the best of my ability and with open hands, I am able to glorify the God who spoke existence into existence with words . . .

Because this is what I love.