If my writing doesn't have purpose beyond simply to entertain, then I feel I have failed myself. This has often led me to give up on projects, because I wonder, "What message does this really convey? Is it valuable? Does it have substance?"
So in recent contemplation, I discovered that my goal and guidepost in writing is to bear in mind the five Es: Encouragement, Enlightenment, Edification, Entertainment, and Endearment.
This is paramount. I never want somebody to walk away from one of my books feeling discouraged or depressed. I want stories that build up and inspire us to be better people. This doesn't mean sad things can't happen along the way, or even that an ending can't be bitter-sweet, but overall I want a resounding ripple of good cheer to reverberate from my pages.
I love teaching and as I research for my books I often learn things that I am excited to share with others. I want you to be smarter when you've finished reading my stories, just as I hopefully come out a little brighter after writing them.
This perhaps works hand-in-hand with encouragement, but with the idea that you've received some nugget of wisdom from my writing in a palatable and pleasant form. I want to help people introspect and adjust because of the lessons my characters have learned.
As a fiction writer, entertainment is important to me. It's never my only aim, but certainly a big part of it-- not only to entertain, but to do so in a clean and honest way that does not have to exaggerate, but helps us see the wit and humor in everyday situations. Life is richer with laughter.
I want people to remember my characters, to sympathize with them, to befriend them. May I never write a boring character- even if boring is a part of that character's character!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything I endeavor to put into my writing, nor is this to serve as a guide to all; it is merely a personal and ever-evolving guideline.
What we project as artists says a lot about us and what is most important to us. What we "put out there" is our voice to the world. Popular culture is a sad reflection of what matters to most of the world. What about you? In writing, or even in life, what do you hope to project to others?