WHY I WRITE

By Marlene Targ Brill

Some authors are born to write. Not me. But writing must have been in my blood. Even as a child, writing came easily to me. I preferred writing essay papers to answering memory questions. I loved to argue and say my piece. I was never shy with words, even though most people said I was a shy kid. In junior high, I joined the school newspaper. I did the same in high school. I found I loved playing with words and sentences.

One clue that I might enjoy writing was I daydreamed. A lot. In school. At home. I’d plop on our window seat and stare outside, making up stories about the people and critters I watched. I guess the seeds of becoming a storyteller were planting themselves in my brain.
Still, I needed more proof. I first taught children with special needs. Without many materials back then, I created them—books, puzzles, wordplays. I found I liked that part of being a teacher. After eight years in the classroom, I wrote educational curriculum, scripts, and press releases for local newspapers. One day a coworker called me the writer of our department. The writing seeds were taking root.

I left teaching but never left the love of sharing information—this time for readers. From my first published book, John Adams, I got bit by the book bug. Even after writing 72 books, I never tire of receiving new books in the mail. Their smell and feel. My name on the cover. Making a difference through writing. All still good.

Now I write for many different readers—preschool through adult—and varied topics. I often wonder why writing remians such a draw for me. After considerable thought, I defined four main reasons why I write.

In the beginning, I wrote to share information. I wanted to enhance curriculum for students beyond what they read in dry textbooks. I liked supporting parents through books in raising their children (Raising Smart Kids for Dummies).

Besides sharing facts, I wanted to make nonfiction as much fun for readers as it was for me. I loved the research. I liked playing detective, finding interesting facts that bring subjects to life. What other job allowed someone to investigate tooth fairies (Tooth Tales from around the World) or delve into lives of rebel-rousers (Dolores Huerta Stands Strong, Michelle Obama)? What heaven to interview amazing people, read original documents, and plow through old newspapers!

I also knew I wanted to write more girls and women into history. My books highlight women and their activities in the same way society honors men and their jobs. That means featuring women who play sports, lead organizations, and play key roles usually not acknowledged.
My last reason for writing involves helping to create a more just world. I hope my books help readers become more tolerant of each other. Knowledge reduces fear of the unknown. That, in turn, lessens bullying and builds a more peaceful world. Writing can be that potent—for reader and writer.

Marlene Targ Brill is vice President of Society of Midland Authors and author of 72 books, including the recent Picture Girl, Dolores Huerta Stands Strong: The Woman Who Demanded Justice, and Diary of a Drummer Boy.