I write cautionary tales for myself. It’s selfish, but it’s honest. When I see something inside that I struggle with and the conflict is good for a story, I’ll port it into a setting that’s cohesive for telling the tale. Having a protagonist who can pick up the threads of what I’m going through and then deal with the ramifications as the story moves toward a logical conclusion allows me to parse through the path I’m on and reconsider my choices. By the end of the process, I usually walk away better for it.
The more honest I am with the work, the more feedback I get that the story connects with others. I believe that a good story will cause you to want to be a better person after reading it. A great story will cause you to act on those desires. When I spent more of my storytelling efforts in film, I made a short film that caused someone in South America to leave work early and buy flowers for his wife. That was my first taste of the impact a story can have.
With every new endeavor, I want to make sure that I’m making the right choices with my time. Somewhere along the line I started having a heightened sense that I have a finite amount of time on this earth, and adopted the motto, “Time passes anyway.” Whether I’m sitting on the couch or creating something that would hopefully last beyond me, that time is going to pass. I might as well make sure it is being used for good. I believe that if what I’m writing doesn’t offer something of value to its reader, I shouldn’t be spending all of that time away from my family and friends.
I write because I want to be a better person, and if someday there’s a legacy of helping others through what I write, then that’s great. But first, I need to be the best husband and father I can be, and working through my life through fiction allows me to do that for my family. It may seem a bit high minded or ambitious, but if I don’t shoot for that, what will I aim for?