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They Don’t Understand

Just-because-they-dont-understand-doesnt-mean-youre-on-the-wrong-pathI’m writing a novel.  Oh, I know, everyone is either writing a book, plans to write a novel or has an idea for a story that would make them rich if only the correct person put their ideas into words. I get it.

Sadly, most don’t understand why writers write.

So, with that in mind, I’ll start over. Did I mention I am writing a novel?

Yes, I am. It is book two in a four-book Christian science fiction series. I have previously written two full-length novels as well as a nonfiction book. I have also written and published a short-story collection.

Maybe you are like some in my extended family and circle of friends and acquaintances. Frequently they ask what makes me qualified to write. I usually get that question after they ask me what are you writing.

My answer? I love to read and read a lot. I’ve paid the price academically. I hold a BA in history. It is a wonderful college major. It teaches you how to research, have a contextual world view, how to learn, and how to collect, organize and share information. I minored in English with a focus on creative writing and grammar. I added more formal education with an MA degree and later an Ed.D. degree. All helped me learn to write and express myself.

I have over 750 paid writing credits over the last 35 years. I have sold articles to trade journals, magazines, and wrote a weekly column from 1981 through 1996. An important part of my day job is writing documentation. I know, these aren’t all that sexy, but they show constancy to the craft.

Have you ever noticed the response of family and friends when they learn you are writing a novel?  You know their reactions. You’ve seen them. There’s the rolling of the eyes up toward the sky. There’s the bobbing the head up and down while shaking it in disbelief.

Sometimes they will express condolences to a spouse that you’re using your time in this way.  Other times they will say “That’s nice. Everyone needs a hobby.”

When I get responses like these I want to put my hands on their shoulders, look them direct in the eye and say, “Hello, did you hear me? I said I AM writing a novel.  That’s because I’M A WRITER!”

At this point, they usually repeat, “That’s nice, or I thought you worked with computers.”

I reply “Working with computers pays for my passion for writing.”

It’s sad. They still don’t get it.  Oh, I can send them running out of the room in a hurry if I say, “Would you like to hear a chapter?”  Those words are like saying “FIRE, RUN, FLEE FOR YOUR LIFE!”

I mention all this to say, don’t let anyone steal your dream.  If you’re like me, you have to write.  You can’t help it.  It’s part of who you are.  So write!  And, tell your friends and family that you’re working on a novel.  Let them know the progress you are making.  If they don’t get it, I do. And you can drop me a note from time to time.  I’ll understand.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee-house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.


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