Why Do What You Do?

Today is the day that I announce the winner of Not Without My Father, a memoir by the awesome Andra Watkins. As usual, I’m going to make you wait for that announcement until the end, unless you prefer to be devious and skip ahead.


Jordie’s personal plea. But he has to work here, so please use your own judgment.

Last week, I watched the 3D animated movie, Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks 2012). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that movie. Maybe close to nine or ten times. As usual, I was touched by the mission of each Guardian (Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Guardian-in-training Jack Frost): to guard the children of the world, and especially guard precious aspects of childhood like wonder and fun.


I’ve written other posts about this movie, so I won’t go into the plot. You can look here for that. Suffice it to say that the movie caused me to think about my audience and why I write. The intended audience of my current project—teens—is a lot older than the audience for this movie. Still I have to ask myself: Am I a Guardian? If so, what, if anything, do I guard? Why is that important?

To answer that, I thought back over the recent encounters I’ve had with teens, many of which have been of the chauffeuring variety.

Teen: Going to game night? Can I catch a ride with you?
Me: Sure.
Friend: Can you pick up Caitlyn from school? She’s sick and needs to leave early. I can’t leave the office.
Me: Sure.

These car trips with teens have fostered long discussions of videogames or the kinds of videogames I would write if I had the opportunity to do so. (RPGs, by the way.) We’ve also talked about movies and books we’ve liked or disliked. Yet even the most innocuous conversation with a teen can sometimes lead to revelations of heartfelt needs as trust is earned. So these experiences reminded me that I’m a Guardian of their trust and the need for authenticity. This includes being open and real (in appropriate, parent-approved ways of course). And of course trust and authenticity need to spill over into what I write. I will quickly lose their trust if I’m a big, fat fake writing stories I don’t believe in, starring characters with the emotional depth of a raisin.

I also thought about my reason for reading, which dovetails with my reason for writing. I can tell you that in three words: I enjoy it. I like to be taken to different worlds to meet people I will grow to care about deeply. An author who thoroughly entertains me is deeply treasured.

Fantasy Journey

Who wouldn’t want the I-treasure-you response from a reader? But my reason for writing is more than just a desire to entertain someone, although I like doing that. No, I write because of the joy of creating something. If a reader enjoys the journey of one of my stories, it’s because I first enjoyed taking it. So, that makes me a Guardian of my own need to create.

I’ve mentioned many times that I usually watch the behind-the-scenes documentaries of shows or movies. I love hearing about the process of creating these works. The excitement of those involved is very infectious. Each time I see their enthusiasm and love for the material, I can’t wait to return to my own created world. This makes me conscious of the fact that I may someday inspire someone through my creations. (One can only hope.)

Why do you do what you do? Do you consider yourself a Guardian? If so, of what? While you give that some thought, let’s get to the winner of Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins—an author you can trust. But I don’t have to tell you that. 🙂

Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez alw-headshot-blog

That winner is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Naomi of Bmore Energy!

Congrats, Naomi! Please comment below to confirm!

Rise of the Guardians poster from teaser-trailer.com. Andra Watkins author photo from her website. Fantasy journey image from ipadwallsdepot.com.

29 thoughts on “Why Do What You Do?

  1. I write to entertain and because it’s fun. I love creating a new world that people can wander through and use to relax. Never really thought of myself as a Guardian though. More like a host or tour guide.

  2. Congratulations to Naomi! I write first and foremost for myself. If I don’t enjoy reading what I’m writing, I doubt anyone else will. I’ve never thought of myself as a Guardian, but I would want readers to trust me as someone who writes from her heart and who tries to see the humanity in everyone (although, frankly, with some of my characters, that can be near impossible).

    • Writing for yourself is a good plan. That makes you a Guardian of your words. I totally get that. It’s important that you love what you’ve written.

    • I’m rediscovering the “no pressure” aspect of writing, Jill. Mainly, I’m trying to take writing slower and take the pressure off myself. 🙂

  3. Writing to give something of value (entertainment, education, enthusiasm, inspiration) to readers is the best r’aison for writing . . . which is why I take issue with your statement “starring characters with the emotional depth of a raisin” ~>>> r’aisons have tremendous depth. 😛

    I’m adding Rise of the Guardians to our Netflix queue. Right below “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Raisin’ Arizona.” :mrgreen:

      • Linda . . . go back and re-read our comments in a JOKING tone of voice. I assure you ~ you did not offend anyone with this post.

      • Thanks, Nancy. Tone is hard to read sometimes. And today has been a horrible day, which is the lens through which I read the comments. That aside, I feel better. Thanks for the clarification. I just had a long delayed cup of coffee and I know there is a Snickers bar waiting for me somewhere, so I hope to feel better soon.

    • OmG! We were just joking about a play on words ~ raisin and r’aison and raisin’. Don’t delete it!

      And you sound like a perfect guardian for those kids.

    • I get it now. That’s why I deleted my comment. Sorry. Yesterday was a really bad day, and I viewed everything through a broken mirror. Thanks, Eric. How you put up with me is beyond me. 🙂

  4. I love the idea of being a guardian! Some days I need to feel that my writing has more depth to it than mere storytelling. It makes me feel like I have superpowers. Hmmm, actually, I’m reminded of a character I developed for a trilogy that will never see the light of day. The woman was a singer with the ability to sing images and ideas into the minds of her listeners. Maybe in a way, we do that through the written word. What a cool superpower! Thanks, Linda.

    And I love “the emotional depth of a raisin.” I’ve read too many characters that fall into that category lately.

    I could use some chocolate today too,

  5. Congratulations, Naomi! I hope you enjoy the book.

    And as much as I tried to be a guardian, my parents are upset with a couple of the scenes in it. We’re working through………

  6. Congratulations. You get more words out of your teenagers than I do out of mine 🙂 Also, I love the concept of being “A guardian of trust” and I just added the film to my Netflix queue.

  7. I am enjoying Andra’s book so much! Congrats to Naomi.

    When I hear the word guardian I can’t help but think of the day I became my niece’s legal guardian. To be in a court room and to hear the judge officially name me her Guardian was intense. I had kids of my own but this seemed different, harder, riskier and somewhat crazy. And it was all of the above. I like to think that although she is no longer with me, some residual guardianship will stay with her as she continues to make significant life decisions.

    I do what I do because it’s what I am meant to do. 🙂

  8. I’d say I write to be more a guide than a guardian. I want to take people on the adventure taking place in my mind. I get enjoyment and insight from their reactions.

  9. I too write because I enjoy creating and living in a new world with characters I care about–just like I enjoy reading about new worlds and characters. I don’t know if I see myself as a Guardian necessarily, though I want to write characters with depth (I liked the raisin comment 🙂 ) and stories with heart. I’ve only seen Rise of the Guardians once, but I quite enjoyed it.

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