Why Do I Write?

“You are never selfish with your advice or your help.”

stories and culture presentation

Last week, I wrote about NaNoWriMo. Apparently, Webucator, the national training company, had the same idea. They had two of their instructors, who are published authors, share about their writing journeys. For this whole November novel-writing month, Webucator is inviting authors to share about their experiences. Here’s my perspective:

What were your goals when you started writing?
I wrote my first story in elementary school. My goal back then was to emulate my favorite authors. The plot was about twins being separated and switched at birth, a prince-and-pauper type of tale.

When I wrote my debut novel, The 228 Legacy, my goal was to share a part of unknown Taiwanese history. I also wanted to pay tribute to family stories I heard about endurance and hope.

What are your goals now?
My goal is still to bring to light new and unique perspectives. My stories are influenced by both my heritage and my professional work with older adults. I’m also interested in exploring social issues, while pushing the envelope in terms of craft.

Assuming writing doesn’t pay the bills, what motivates you to keep writing?
Pay from fiction writing is never consistent. It’s not a lucrative career. Writing, for me, is a passion. It’s about a story that has to be told, that is ready to burst forth from my soul.

Beyond my inner drive, responses from readers also keep me motivated. Whenever people learn about something new, or connect deeply, through my words, it keeps me going.

Finally, what advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?
Follow your heart and finish your drafts. The majority of the hard work in writing involves perseverance. It’s difficult to engage in a solitary task, like writing a novel, which takes at least a few months to several years to complete. But have faith in your work and in your voice.

At the same time, I would suggest reaching out to the writing community. Fellow scribes are very supportive and offer a lot of good advice. Connect with others locally and through social media outlets.

In terms of creating a career, I think that involves having a strong body of work. Be in it for the long haul. Juggle multiple ideas at once. I tend to like having my hands in several stories at a time: a draft I’m submitting, another piece I’m editing, and a new story I’m creating.

Foodie Friday: Daikon
Foodie Friday First: Fried Green Tomatoes


  1. Perseverance is indeed key. The road to finishing a book is long, with many pass throughs.

    I admire those of you who can work on several projects at once. I tend to focus on one thing at a time. Not until it’s off to beta readers or an editor can I move onto something new.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Focusing on one thing is great for deep fine-tuning. The reason I like having multiple projects going on is that I’m busy while doing the waiting game for submission responses.

  2. Nice to read about your thoughts related to writing, Jennifer. I agree with passion, perseverance, and reaching out to other writers. We write alone but not solitary. Best to you, as always.

  3. I love this: “My goal is still to bring to light new and unique perspectives.” So important! And one big reason we read is to discover new and unique perspectives.

  4. You have a great goal! Giving light to new perspectives. Love it.

  5. Great thoughts, Jennifer. And we need new perspectives out there, so I’m glad you do what you do. I’m so glad we met through the WSS – posts like these give fire to my perseverance.


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