Posted in Writing

Why We Write

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy couple of weeks. I attended a writer’s conference last weekend and this week I had an author night at one of our local bookstores. I’m also putting some finishing touches on my latest WIP and I’ve got another one going strong. So it’s a busy time for me.

During the writing conference we were asked to answer the question: why we write?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

There’s a different answer for each and every author. Some do it out of love for the written word. Others do it because they feel they have something important to say. Still others do it just to silent the voices in their heads. Whatever the reason, you must keep writing. We need books now more than ever.

I learned while at this conference that 40% of public schools no longer have a librarian. Isn’t this sad?  It’s just one more responsibility heaped upon our already over-extended and stressed out teachers to instill a love of reading for their students.

 

 

Photo credit: Super Furry Librarian via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

But how can they do that if there aren’t new and exciting books? That’s where we, the storytellers come in. We need to write as many quality stories as we can. We need to entice our readers to fall in love with our books so they’ll want to keep reading. This is incredibly important. Why?

Because right now ninety one million people are functionally illiterate in the United States alone. That means they can’t read, write, or use numbers sufficiently well to get along in society.  Every year at least a million functionally illiterate students graduate from America’s high schools. This is an epidemic.

We need to turn this around. It is up to us the authors to do this. The teachers can’t do it by themselves. I know what some of you may be thinking. Ninety one million people? So what? It’s their problem not mine.

Well. You’re wrong. It is your problem because you may have to deal with someone who’s illiterate in your life. Maybe at work. Maybe as a customer or client. They’re going to be difficult to work with if they can’t understand basic concepts because they can’t read.

What if one of those illiterate people somehow manages to find a position of power in our country. Do you really want him/her to make decisions for you?

 

I sure don’t.

Our government needs to stop buying weapons and invest in our educational system right now. Our adversaries won’t have to go to war and take us over with physical force. They’ll wait and let us destroy ourselves then come in and take over when we’re reeling from our own destruction.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So writers keep writing. You’re needed now more than ever.

 

Do you have any ideas on how to turn this situation around? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Author:

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

43 thoughts on “Why We Write

      1. Hi I had problems adding a stumble button too but i found great link that shows how to add it to your site its super easy… I’ll see if I can find it and email it to you or something
        ~B

        PS I cant find your contact tab

        PPS I worry about how the future will be it seems the are less books or is it just me, I grew up in house full of books but now not so much although I have a remarkable kindle collection it doesnt feel quite the same as an old fashioned book

      2. I know. We need more books and less technology. I feel a love of reading needs to start at a young age, but I feel the schools are leaning more toward technology and less toward reading. This worries me because even though technology is something they need, too. They won’t be able to use it if they can’t read the manual or the screen.

        I’m hoping we can somehow turn this trend around. I know there are many school districts who are trying to ramp up the reading within their classrooms. I feel parents need to jump on this bandwagon too.

        You can post the link in a comment if you’d like. I think that’d be easiest. 🙂

  1. It’s really sad to see people getting engaged more in social media and reading less books.
    I think the habit of reading starts from home. I don’t remember from when I’ve been in love with reading. It seems like I’ve been in love with reading since forever. I’ve seen my parents reading a lot. I get to discover a new book every other day in my house. My father used to write for walk magazines. My mother never wrote but she is a bibliophile. And the best thing is she works in a publishing house, so we get some free books from there.
    For me my reading habit started from my home and my parents were the ones who ignited the spark. Parents can influence children to a great extent.

    1. You are absolutely correct. Parents need to encourage reading as well. I have my boys read at least 30 minutes a day as part of their homework and they do it, but I don’t know if they’ll fall in love with reading because of it. My youngest read the Percy Jackson Series for a while but then grew bored with it. I think one of the books was just too long for him. That’s why we need our authors to write those amazing stories in their heads. We need them to entice our littles to read instead of playing video games. 🙂

  2. Fantastic. I wholeheartedly agree that the promotion of literacy is utterly critical right now. In fact, a functional illiterate IS leading the country at the moment and encouraging willful ignorance by example.

    1. That’s why we must need to invest in our educational system. We’ve been using the same format for too many years and it’s outdated. Reading is a great coping mechanism and we need it not only to function in society but to relieve stress, too! 🙂

  3. When my oldest was young, before our youngest was born, I would volunteer in her school. I asked the teacher to give me any task, no matter how mundane, and I would do it. You know what she asked me to do? Read with some of her students that struggled. And that’s what I did, every Wednesday, for an entire school year, just read to kids. They loved it and I loved it, but it did highlight how easily kids can fall behind if they don’t have this consistency in their life. It’s something I can’t fathom because my mother was an avid reader and made sure I was too, but so many kids don’t have that in their life. Very important topic, Lisa. Thank you for writing about it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. I volunteered in both of my boys classes and it was a great experience. I still remember one child in my son’s class who’s parents wouldn’t take the time to read with him at home. He struggled at school and he was embarrassed. Poor kid. He didn’t come back for first grade and I always wonder what happened to him. Parents need to be involved, too. It’s not just up to the schools. If we all do our part maybe we can turn this situation around.

  4. As a mother and English teacher, one of the greatest challenges is encouraging students to love reading and writing. Finding the right story at the right time to encourage an individual and therefore unique reader is no easy feat. You have to know the future reader very well in order to suggest and advise. It’s wonderful when you get it right, but frustrating other times.

  5. It is pretty scary that so many people are functionally illiterate! They will miss out on so much in life. I think it would be good if everyone got to learn at least one other language in school, but how can schools justify that if their pupils can’t yet grasp english!? 😦

      1. The thing is, often learning a new language helps you understand the grammar and logic behind your own language…It can really help.

  6. It saddens me about hearing that librarians are no longer important in schools. I loved our librarian! Love your message too, Lisa: writers keep writing. You’re needed now more than ever. Cheers!

    1. That statistic came from the keynote speaker at the conference. I was so shocked I wrote it down. I can’t believe he would state a statistic that wasn’t true and I’ve had other sources confirm this.

  7. Educate new mothers. Reading starts at home. Every child should leave the hospital with a book. In my city, the hospital has a ladies auxiliary group that fundraises for equipment and such. Groups like that can collect books to give out. Give books as gifts at Christmas and at Halloween instead of candy. The dollar store usually has an assortment. Volunteer at the local primary schools and read to kids.
    The point is, the love of reading has to start at a young age then the love of writing will follow. 🙂

    1. You are so right, Diana! I read to my boys while they were in the womb and after they were born. I started when they were babies rocking them and reading to them before bed. We did this every night. And now my boys read at least a half an hour every night before bed. They don’t have the love of reading that I do, but they don’t shy away from it either. So I figure that’s a win for me and them. 🙂

  8. Wow! This is so sad. As an educator, it depresses me that there are that many functionally illiterate people AND your stat about schools without librarians! Yes, we need to invest in our schools and our education system in general, but I think it’s about more than money. It’s about our general philosophy. We are moving further away from what works…getting rid of the arts, getting rid of librarians? I just read an article this morning that South Carolina is looking out of the country to hire teachers because of the teacher shortage. And I just wrote a blog about the teacher shortage. Why in the heck would anyone want to be a teacher when, as you wrote, more and more gets heaped upon them? Sorry, I got off on a tangent and didn’t really discuss why I write, haha! I write to honor the inspiration that keeps bubbling up inside. The inspiration comes from Source and connects me to this Source of everything!

    1. I hadn’t heard that about South Carolina. That is so sad. It makes me wish I had gotten into teaching. I wonder if this shortage means we’ll be seeing the criteria to be a teacher changing. Interesting times that’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it!

  9. Wow! Aren’t these facts sad? Although, it doesn’t surprise me that so many people are illiterate when our government has put such an emphasis on “reading scores” by implementing standardized education and assessment. I was a public school teacher prior to having children and was sickened by the concentration the schools put on standardized education, assessment and scores.When I started my teaching job, ten percent of the children in my school district (one of the largest in MN) were homeschooled. I didn’t understand why at the time, until I experienced the inner workings of our system. After six years of teaching, I decided to stay home and homeschool my young children. I want them to experience positive learning, I want them to enjoy learning, I want them to continue to want to learn. I hope the ‘system’ opens it’s eyes and sees how many children are failing in the ‘standardized’ teaching module. No child is standard – every single one is different. Thanks for enlightening others on a very real problem.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. There are many who don’t like the public school program and have turned to homeschooling. I hope we can get some positive changes in the public school system that will benefit our kids. 🙂

  10. In many ways, writers can actually do more to encourage literacy than teachers can. A good story makes learning to read the exact opposite of a boring chore. I’d say 80% of the vocabulary I picked up as a child was from reading fiction!

  11. 91 million? That’s an appalling statistic. I have no idea how to reduce it, but increasing the education budget seems a good first step.

  12. Just reading through the comments and I have been here before..But yes, illiteracy is a big problem and worldwide… The answer…Well, we can’t leave it all to the teachers and many parents can’t read themselves or are busy so that is a hard one…So maybe there should be very public reading bees.. non-judgmental or regular roadshows…I think governments and TV personalities should stand up and be counted…Once is in you then it stays 🙂

      1. Thank you…Lisa…something so needs to be done and although locally they can be good but I think it needs to go National/World wide the only way to address it all and realy make a difference 🙂

      2. You are so right, but maybe it has to start small and then that small action causes a ripple effect? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth a shot. 🙂

      3. Everything had to start somewhere but I would go big find anyone you know who knows someone who has some influence and go for it 🙂

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