Why Publishing? The Value of a Good Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? Stories are a great way to share a part of ourselves with others and for others to share a part of themselves with us. Stories are how people connect with each other, engage others, and start to understand what it’s like to stand in someone else’s shoes. They help us see things from a different perspective, or as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That’s what a good story does for us.

As you may have read in my previous post, I mentioned that about two years ago my husband David and I started talking about how we can bring storytelling into our family as a more defining characteristic. We wanted to create an environment that encouraged creativity and imagination. This started by having a weekly time set aside for our family storytelling where we would all write something, fiction or non-fiction, during the week and then share with each other as a kick-off to our Friday Fun Night. It was a fun way to get feedback from the family, sometimes even having a friendly competition of “Whose was the best?” Truth be told, this was hit and miss as we started out – mostly miss. But, one by one, as we took turns being prepared with a story to share, we began to build anticipation for what was in store during this time.

Not too far into this experiment, David came across a class about creating children’s books. He wondered if it would be something we should try. We’re always up for learning something new and thought, “Why not?” Besides the price of the course, we didn’t have much to lose, and we might even get inspired to do something crazy like write children books!

So, the big question I was asked during my interview with the newspaper was: WHY publish books?

Well, I can tell you this. The motivation is not about money. And, it’s certainly not about fame. The driving motivation behind this idea was to do something meaningful with our gifts and talents. We wanted teach our kids what it means to give of ourselves, and, honestly, to just have a little fun with it in the process. It gets me excited when I think of creating stories that can be used to glorify God and to encourage others. If we only look to our own interests, the spark to create will fizzle out in a hurry, but if we look outward to the interests of others, I trust that the spark will be fanned into flame.

Our desire is to connect with others through our children’s books. I love how stories can create treasured moments. Most of us have been touched in one way or another by hearing someone’s personal testimony. It’s funny how a story of real life can bring you to tears one moment and have you laughing the next. But that’s life – beautifully unpredictable! Have you ever experienced that same impact while reading a book? Personal connections with characters help us see things about ourselves. I appreciate this quote by C.S. Lewis, “We read to know we are not alone.” The truth is everyone has a story in them.

Stories can create warm, intimate moments: Reading “just one more book” at bedtime, snuggling on the couch with a stack of books on a cold winter’s day, sitting around the autumn campfire trying to out-spook one another, reminiscing about fond (or not-so-fond) memories from the past with grandparents, parents, and children. Whether the story is read from a book or spoken from memory, it most certainly strikes a chord when it comes from the heart. And our hope is that the stories we create will become a small part of those special, intimate moments within the families who read them.

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