PLAIN THOUGHTS: Why I write

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

By Judith Hensley

Someone asked me recently why I write. There are so many reasons.

People’s first thoughts are that I must get  paid for doing it. I guess it is hard to understand why I continue to do something I don’t even get paid for. As much as I’d like to have an easier financial life, money is not the motivating factor in why I write.

First of all, I believe God opened the door for me when I was a child to see something I’d written published in a local newspaper when I was in third grade. There was something life changing about seeing my words in print at that young age. I’ve been writing ever since.

So, if I don’t get rich off of writing and publishing books, why don’t I go find a job that pays?

I consider writing to be my calling from God. It’s something I can do, even though I know I’m no Pulitzer Prize winner and no Jane Austen.

Once when I was praying I felt like I had so little to offer God. What could I possibly give Him of value? Quite unexpectedly, I heard in my spirit, “Your words.”

I’ve been trying to do that ever since.

Anyone who knows me will recognize that I’m telling the truth when I say I’m a story gatherer. I love listening to other people tell their stories. If I can, I love to help people get their important stories in print as part of whatever collection I’m working on.

It seems that my writing inspiration comes in spurts. Usually in the fall I have more than one book project going on at a time. It helps me keep my mind busy in productive ways. I have a purpose and a goal with each book.

Warrior Women: Light in the Darkness was just released which is a collection of Christian inspirational stories from a variety of people of different backgrounds and a few from different countries. I’m currently working on two others. One is a woolybooger story, and the other is Creeping Kudzu, The Vine that Ate the South.

I’ve had so much fun looking for and photographing landscapes of kudzu and stationary objects that have been overgrown by the perennial vine. I began the project in 2003, shelved it for many years, and had the nudge that I need to finish up some loose ends of projects I’ve started and set aside.

I hope to have these last two books in print this fall, then will move along to the next one. The only financial concern I have is that each book will sell enough copies to pay for the cost of cover design, proofreader, and shipping, On a retired teacher’s salary, I certainly can’t afford to “go in the hole” on any of the projects, no matter how much I love doing them.

Writing and photography are not only my hobbies, but a way I feel like I can give something back to the world. With every person’s story I am able to get into print and every photograph of someone I take, I believe I am making their world and mine a better place.

If God has implanted this desire in me and helped me learn how to take a story from idea to print, then I believe I am doing what I am put here on this earth to do in this season of my life. If I can make one person’s day better with a newspaper column that speaks to them, or if I can give someone hope and encouragement by reading their story in print, that is why I write.