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Friday, July 18, 2014

What to Write?/Why Write?

Two questions face an author every time he or she sits down to a blank page:

1) What will I write?

2) Why am I writing?

The answers to these questions are indicative of a writer’s choices in the type of writing, the purpose of writing, and the will to write. Some writers only write for others. Their idea of the worth of words on the pages is completely at the mercy of the opinions of people making choices about their writing. Other writers will only write for themselves and do not take into account the need for writing to reach readers. I have found that there is a balance in writing to keep, regardless of the purpose of the writing, in personal commitment to the words and the need for validation by others that the words carry meaning.  

Subject matter usually must have some sort of target audience. On the other hand, good writing will find an audience. The work to find readers is not separate from the work of writing and what to write/why write are crucial questions for a writer to answer. If the writer has identified this answer in every piece of writing, then readers will not be questioning if the words on the pages belong on the pages. Over time the questions of what to write/why write become second nature to a writer and the writer does not always pose these questions directly to him or her self. This does not mean that, if asked, a writer cannot answer these questions directly.

There is a point in most writers’ development, faced with a blank page, when the words will not come.  If the questions of what to write/why to write are answered, any true writer will find the blank page finally can be filled. Writing is not just spontaneous creation. Writing takes dedication, decision, and determination.

Our individual choices and purposes as writers are never identical. We work in different subject matters and genres with different reasons to provide words for others to consider.  This does not mean that a writer is or is not legitimate in the profession due to answering the questions of what to write/why write differently from other writers. However, legitimacy comes from honestly answering these questions without expecting the reader or muse or editor to provide an answer instead.

I can answer these two questions. “What will I write?” I will write any subject matter that requires my work to put forward content I have agreed to provide or that I personally have a vested interest in attempting. “Why am I writing?” My purpose in writing is to provide communication to the reader worth some sort of value AND my will to write is inborn and persistent. Opinions will always vary across a readership on the success of a writer’s endeavors.  The answers to these two questions, what to write/why write, do not require right and wrong responses. They do, however, demand an answer with every pen stroke and paragraph.


- Kimberly A. McKenzie 


10:38 pm edt          Comments

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why I Read (As A Writer)


 I have been in several writers’ groups where everyone wants to know what everyone else is currently reading. It is commonly stated that writers’ cannot be effective in writing if they do not also read. I cannot disagree with this statement. The question in my mind is not “What are you currently reading?” but “As a writer, why do you choose your reading material?” 

When I was a child, I had my nose in a book almost constantly. I read out an entire children’s library and had to have my mother’s permission to check out books upstairs.  I did not deliberate long and hard about why I was choosing to read books; I just choose books that I thought I might like. This has changed in my adult life.  I have been writing for twenty years now- first poetry, then short stories, and (finally) novellas. My career field in Technical Writing has spanned ten years of manuals in development, communications, and editing work. Because I spend so much time working on pages for publication, I find that reasons to pick up a book and read more pages have to be compelling. These are the reasons I read, as a writer:

1)   Information: As a professional writer and editor, I appreciate books based on the craft. It never hurts to go back and look at practices and theories while re-discovering lessons learned over the years. In the Technical Writing field, I am always eager for news on new technological developments. Because I am a woman in business, I find I enjoy reading news in the business and financial sectors as well.

2)   Inspiration: There are days that I do not feel overly eager to pick up my pen. At the end of writing a book, I drag my feet over finishing a work I have lived with for so long. As I am struggling with pressing forward on the pages, I find inspiration in the words and life stories of other authors. I do not read about other authors in order to mimic, idolize or embrace answers that are not my own. Successful authors have conquered the “quitter’s disease” and when I want to give up or quit, I find their advice and life stories are like a magic pill. The inspiration to not abandon my words is something I often find in the words of others.

3)   Entertainment: It is not unusual for me to pick up a book that does not require much beyond reading the story inside the covers as a way to take a “mini-vacation” from my own life and work. Engaging, interesting, and well-written stories by others are, at times, a nice way to entertain myself.

I do not find as much time to read these days as I spent reading as a child.  I believe that writing comes from life, not just from reading well. I choose my reading more carefully as an adult, but I have not forgotten the value of the printed pages.  

11:22 am edt          Comments

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Here you'll learn all about The Rest Room and Kimberly A. McKenzie: Follow the Blog for facts and fictions.

The Rest Room Fact Sheet

1.  The Rest Room is Room 223 at the Motel Min.

2. Hale, South Carolina in The Rest Room is named after Nathan Hale- a soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolutionarly War.

3.  There are many types of shipping containers: intermodal freight, corrugated boxes, wooden boxes, crates, intermediate bulk, bulk boxes, drums and insulated shipping containers.

4.  Insulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.  In The Rest Room, non-traditional shipping methods are at the heart of puzzeling circumstances for the three main characters: Kervila, Optin, and Henry. 

Look for the sequel to The Rest Room.  The Dream of Keriye will follow with Kervila's journey to find the truth among a web of intricate coincidences. 

by Kimberly A. McKenzie

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Kimberly A. McKeznie resides in Charleston, SC and has been a writer/author for 20 years.  She is divorced and lives with her two cats: Hailey Commet and Phelecia Providence. The Rest Room is her first published novel. 

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