"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go." --From Hamlet (III, iii, 100-103)
I am often asked, and I often ask myself, “What do you write?” My answers tend to vary depending on the audience; I try to mention something that they will be familiar with. When I ask this question of myself, I may be trying to focus my efforts toward a deadline or goal. What I write can take a variety of forms every day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The next most frequent question is, “Why do you write?” When this comes from an outside source it is usually a follow up question after finding out how much time I spend on a given project versus how much money I will make on that project. Sadly, when I ask this of myself it is generally a follow up to the same kinds of revelations. It is generally a sign of self-doubt or discouragement. It usually means that the “What” I am writing is not in line with the “Why” I write. It usually means my focus has changed from the spirit of the thing to more worldly concerns.
Let me explain. I write because it is a part of me, a yearning deep inside to comfort and inspire through the written word. It is a gift I have been given that I can not deny and refuse to neglect. I write because I love my Heavenly Father. I write the things of my spirit. I write because I hope to touch your spirit with things that are beyond the words on the page.
When it comes right down to it, when I’m focused on what matters most, I’m not writing for money or worldly acclaim I’m writing because that is how I feel closest to the Savior and closest to the person He wants me to be.
That is why I am proud to be a member of LDStorymakers, www.ldstorymakers.com. In this group of authors I have found a home. It is a home full of people who love the Lord and are serious about making the most of the gifts of writing that they have been given. I love their focus on literacy and excellence, I love who they are as people and as writers. These are some of the best men and women I’ve ever known, they’re also some of the most humble I’ve ever known. Though we each have our own reasons and focus in our writing the spirit is the same: we want to touch lives.
There are thousands of wonderful books out there in the world. There are hundreds within the LDS market. There are books that lift our day, when we pass them on the shelf we chuckle and say “Wow, what a great book!” There are other books we stayed up all night to read, that made us laugh and cry, and ultimately fall to our knees and say: “Father, I have been inspired. I want to be a better person. Help thou my unbelief.” These are the books I cherish the most. These are the books where the words have left the ground and found their way to the throne of heaven. These are the books that take you with them to heaven.
That is why I am awed by the vision of those around me, once again, and applaud a new program sponsored by LDStorymakers.
Today is the official opening of the Whitney Awards, www.whitneyawards.com . The ball is now in your court. The Whitney Awards is a call toward excellence in spirit and written word.
Orson F. Whitney once said, “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. . .” The Whitney Awards are looking for the Miltons and Shakespeares hiding among the LDS authors of our time. They deserve to be recognized. Please, when you read a work of fiction by an LDS author that speaks to your spirit and speaks to excellence in the craft, go to the web site and nominate that book for an award. All of the rules can be found on the website. It can also be accessed through links on the Storymaker’s site, my blog, and my website, and most likely through your favorite author’s web site as well.
We as writers struggle with the “Whats” and the “Whys” so that life’s answers might be a little clear for the readers. We grapple with our souls so that our thoughts might lift our words to heaven. We want to fulfill Brother Whitney’s vision of beauty. Help us know when we’re reaching our goals by helping us recognize those who achieve them.