Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Do You Write? by Jim Ferguson

I went to a writer’s conference several weeks ago—the first conference I’ve attended in 25 years. The first session consisted of two agents and one editor who addressed what is hot in the market and some of the dos and don’ts for getting representation and submitting a proposal. While the conference sessions were filled with information to help us develop our writing skills, there seemed to be one overriding concern from many of the attendees and that was getting published—not learning the craft of writing.

That started my thinking about why I write. I thought about the books that I’ve read that have stayed with me through the years and why. They’re books that triggered my interest in a subject, produced memorable characters or told a story I can’t forget.

I read my first memorable book when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. It was called The French Foreign Legion by Wyatt Blassingame. This book created an interest in the French Foreign Legion which has taken me from the poem “Rendezous with Death” by Alan Seeger written during World War I, to the French Indochina war (1946-1954). Reading The French Foreign Legion set me on the path of a life time of studying history which foreshadowed many of the significant crises of my generation—including Vietnam, and our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Finding The French Foreign Legion in my elementary school library propelled me on a course that led me to the outstanding author and one of the greatest historians--Bernard Fall.

Yes, I want to be published but I want to write something that creates in the reader a desire to learn and a desire to see more in the lives of others and in themselves.

Jim Ferguson won first place with his novel, Beginner's Luck, co-written with his wife. He is working on a nonfiction book.


  1. lGreat post Jim. I too, hope my books leave a lasting impression - a good one LOL! - with readers.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your blog post truly resonated with me. Although I often select those easy-to-read, predictable, forgettable books to read when I want to unwind, I want something more from myself as a writer. Writing has been the medium to provoke powerful change through the generations, and it has proven thus even in my own life-whether it was the influential words of others awakening something in me or my own therapeutic journaling. I want my words to tell truths, capture special moments, convey heart-thoughts, inspire, and yes, sometimes entertain. Maybe my writing will be as diverse as the multiple facets of my personality, but I want it to be a genuine expression, not just a collage of words meant to capture the eye of a publisher. Your post served as a great reminder that I need to stay true to my heart. Perhaps, my words, whether flippant or profound, will connect with readers and bring to their lives the blessing they need in that moment.

  3. Great post and timely reminder of what it's really all about for us. Thanks, Jim.

  4. Solid post, Jim.
    Bob says: I write for personal enjoyment. It would be exciting to be published, but not a major disappointment if it doesn't happen. The stories are mine, and for my children and grandchildren.
    Georgia says: I enjoy creating short family-oriented memoire pieces. As far as being published - that would be great, but doesn't drive me. Improving my writng skills does.