What influenced me to be a writer?

I’m often asked questions by other writers on how I got started writing, and for advice to them on their own writing. I try to answer as many of your emails and Facebook posts as I can, but sometimes I can’t get to them all. So I’ve gathered some of the best questions about writing, and my answers to them, here.

Q. Why did you choose writing?

A. Writing allows me to explore, wherever and whatever I choose. It’s taken me back in time, to a distant galaxy, to the place where the sea begins. Best of all, though, writing is a way to explore the biggest questions of life. Not to find the answers, perhaps, but to do some thoughtful exploring of the questions. The two most rewarding parts of the experience are, first, when a word or character or place or idea comes out just right—and, second, when something I’ve written truly touches someone in some way. Some of the letters I’ve received have been unforgettable enough to keep me up late at night working on the next book. 

Q. What’s the best thing about writing?

A. The best thing is making a word, a place, a character, a dilemma or an idea come alive. Truly alive. For both writer and reader. Then I have a chance to touch other people in a deep and lasting way. And I am more alive than ever before.

Q. Do you consider yourself successful?

A. Yes, I do consider myself successful, although there is much more I hope to accomplish in my lifetime. I really wish I could have more impact on our society and our democracy, which are in trouble in many ways, and on nature and wilderness, which are under siege by careless human activity. The one place I feel completely successful is as a dad—and that makes me more happy than anything else.

Q. What would be your advice to young writers?

A. For starters, writing is the hardest work I’ve ever done—as well as the most joyous work I’ve ever done. Which is why all the hard labor is worthwhile. But in this regard, talent will only take you a small part of the distance you need to go. What is necessary in addition is discipline and persistence. Stay with your writing, no matter how many rewrites it takes to get it right!


  1. Reply

    Margaret Behee

    March 26, 2014

    Dear T.A. Barron,
    I find you the most inspiring person ever! I too love nature and writing and I often spend my days sitting in a huge old oak tree writing stories or poetry. I’ve read as many of your books as I can get my hands on and I’m soaking them up like a sponge; your writing style is amazing! I am trying to publish a book of my own before my 15’th birthday about Merlin and Arthurian legends but I don’t know where to begin the process. Can you give me some suggestions?
    Margaret Behee

    • Reply

      T. A. Barron

      April 16, 2014

      Hello Margaret!

      Writing is not only a marvelous craft (which feels as magical as any work of Merlin the wizard), but it is also a great way to live. But it is a craft which takes discipline and persistence. Stay with your writing, no matter how many rewrites it takes to get it right!

      Before starting any new story, I need to get three elements worked out in advance: descriptions of each character; a big idea or question which will drive the plot, and an amazing environment for their adventures. For more detail, You may be interested in my most recent blog entry, where I share a little bit about my writing process. https://tabarron.com/blog/notes-writing-process/

      Best of luck to you as you try to make your way as a writer!

  2. Reply

    Kat S.

    April 13, 2018

    I cannot even describe how much your work has impacted me. You are not the author that inspired me to write–that happened long before I found your work. But you are the author that has kept me going! I’ve been trying to write a book for eight years now and I won’t give up until I’ve made something great! So I just wanted to say thank you T.A Barron!

    • Reply

      T. A. Barron

      April 16, 2018

      Thank you truly, Kat! And always remember that you are a writer, even if you are not yet published. Never forget that you have something valuable to say, and it’s worth sharing!

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