I watched a funny Family Guy episode last night (actually, I think they’re all funny) about Brian the dog wondering if he should marry an older woman. He goes out to a bar and tries to pick up this really pretty cartoon girl. When all of his pick-up lines fail he finally says to her in desperation, “You know, I wrote a book.” And her response, “Let’s both go into the bathroom.” Haha! No, seriously. Why does someone write? If you ask a sixteen-year-old male musician why he wants to be a rock star I guarantee top of his list is to impress girls. Why do people drive really expensive cars when any good, inexpensive reliable means of transportation will do? Why do people buy mansions that can sleep twenty people when there’s only four or five in the household? Why do anything at all to improve your status in life? Unfortunately, it’s to impress other people. Even I will admit to being affected by this need to impress. My ego does inflate whenever I see someone’s eyes light up when I mention how many books I’ve written. I absolutely enjoy the accolades sometimes thrown my way by strangers and fans. But here’s what separates those who create art because they have to and those that do it to impress other people. I wrote for sixteen years before I got anything more than nice notes of rejection from agents and publisher’s before I started to get noticed. Had I counted on other’s praise to keep me going I would have quit long ago. I write because I’m hard-wired to do it. Everything else, the praise and respect that comes with completing novels, is bonus. I want people to be impressed by the content of my stories not just by the fact that I was able to complete one. As Brian the dog uses the fact that he wrote a single novel to impress a woman, I’ll stick with people reading my books first and then see if they’re impressed. They usually are.