Guest Caitlyn Willows: We Write Because We Are

Today our special guest is Caitlyn Willows. Welcome, Caitlyn!

Blessed (or cursed) with a vivid imagination, Caitlyn Willows eventually learned to turn that "talent" inward. Readers will find deep emotions and sizzling sensuality seamlessly woven into her stories. She believes that life is to be lived not watched--hiking a new path, learning a new skill. No one is more surprised than she at the direction life has taken her. Caitlyn lives in the beautiful desert of Southern California with her husband (a genealogist) and the animals she loves.

We Write Because We Are
By Caitlyn Willows

Stop and smell the roses. Most of us know what that means – take the time to enjoy life. For those of us on the creative end of the spectrum, i.e., writers, the phrase takes on new meaning. We cannot simply stop and smell the roses. We stop to smell the rose and notice the color, the scent, the velvety texture of each petal, the waxy green leaves, the thick stem, the sharp thorns that are really the spiked tails of baby dragons waiting to be born. The stem leads down into the caverns where fairies nurture the freshly laid eggs and dragons tunnel out worlds mere mortals cannot comprehend. Or the thorns are laden with poison… Or the garden hides the bodies… And on it goes…

Welcome to the world of writers.

We see the world from a different perspective. We build worlds and adventure, love and intrigue from all we glean around us – the eavesdropped conversation, the news article we read, songs we hear, places we visit. Yes, we are the ones whose minds go bye-bye and our eyes glaze over as we sew threads of possible storylines in our heads, most of the time at the blink of an eye. It takes little to get our minds churning. Consider the poor non-writer caught in the wake of our imagination.

Few things are more frustrating than having that moment strike you and there isn’t a like soul anywhere around to what-if with. Non-writers look at us like we’ve lost our minds when clearly they are the ones at fault. Why can’t they simply indulge us and play along? Seriously, how easy would it be to just respond when we say, “Oooo…what-if this guy was…”

I’ve often wondered what non-writers think about. Or how lonely they must be without the voices in their heads. There has to be nothing up there. Why else do we get those blank looks when we what-if them?

Now I’ll grudgingly admit that perhaps I’ve gone overboard interrogating…uhm…asking questions of others. I’ll never forget the wild-eyed look the new receptionist at the vet’s office gave me when I asked detailed questions about the crematorium behind the building. “Why…why do you want to know?” she cried as she backed away from the desk. Let’s face it, writers need to know stuff, and generally we need to know right now. We can’t help it. There are stories brewing in our heads and they must be fed.

Perhaps we should all wear buttons, disclaimers of some kind that warn individuals, “I am a writer and I will be asking you questions.” Of course, that might scatter the herd and we’d never eat…uhm…obtain the required information.

If you are a writer adrift in a sea of non-writers please know you are not alone, you are not weird, you are not insane. There are others out there. Lurking for the casually dropped conversation. Seeking information to fill the vast well of our imaginations. Capable of interrogating anyone at anytime about anything. Yes, we’ll stop to smell those roses, and in the space of time you non-writers have sniffed, we writers have built worlds…and nothing will stop us.

Our predecessors told stories around campfires and carved images in rock. Our successors are the children whose minds run rampant with imaginary play. We write. It is who we are. It is in our blood, our minds, in every breath we take. It is enriched by life around us. We’ve opened our eyes, our minds, our hearts, and our souls to draw it all in. And we’re ready to share our stories with you.

We write because we are.

Caitlyn Willows
Learn more about Caitlyn's books:


Danica Avet said...

Cailtyn, great post!

Yes, I'm lost in a world of non-writers who wonder if I'm writing porn, who wonder why I want to write romance, etc. You name it, I've heard it. But I never let it stop me from putting the crazy scenes in my head down on paper. I love how the smallest incident sends shockwaves of imagery through my brain and becomes a story I have to write.

It's fabulous being a writer (even an unpublished one). I can only feel sorry for people who don't understand the way our minds work, but hope that they'll at least enjoy our endeavors.

Caitlyn Willows said...


Find a small local conf to go to if you can. It will help immensely.

I've finally trained family & friends to recognize the seemingly vacant look in my eyes doesn't mean they have to call 9-1-1. It means the wheels are churning with a sudden idea.

Caitlyn Willows

Susan Macatee said...

Great post, Caitlyn!

When I was growing up, I always thought I was weird. I made up stories all the time in my head and no one in my family seemed to understand. They just thought I was shy. But really, I was living in my very own, special world.

Now, my family, for the most part, just ignores me and my three boys are used to their writer mother spacing out. To them, it's normal, I guess. LOL. And my husband knows when to leave me alone.

If not for the great community of writers I've found, I'd probably still think I was weird, but now I know, I'm just a writer and that's how we roll.

Anonymous said...

So true!!!!!


Carly Carson said...

Interesting post. I sometimes have the opposite problem. Everyone I know is going to write a book. In their spare time. Just as soon as they get around to it. And it's not going to be something as easy to write as romance, either. lol

Nicole North said...

Wonderful post Caitlyn and welcome to FR! I thought it was funny the way you question people spontaneously and in depth while doing research. I did that a few weeks ago with someone and they had no idea I was actually doing research. Of course it was all a happy accident. There are not too many writers around me, certainly none in my immediate or extended family. But my friend who lives nearby writes, so that helps. And I have a lot of online writing friends.

Anonymous said...

If your stories are as good as your blog today, you have to be a great success. How true every word you said is!! One of my friends used to own a ceramic shop and I still chuckle at the looks on customers faces on the day I blurted out that I finally figured out how to kill him. My friend quickly explained my problem - "she's a writer" and they all nodded and gave me a wide berth. One secret I learned was to ask questions of my husband. It brought him immediately into my world and now he feels like he is a big part in writing my stores. Now he points things out and it makes gathering historical facts so much more fun.


Caitlyn Willows said...


I lived in my own special world as a child too. I kept it to myself. I invented this whole other persona, life, and family. I also thought I was weird until another author friend told me she'd done the same thing. LOL!

I've always encouraged imaginary play and world-building in my sons, and now in my grandsons. It's very fun to watch my son really play with his boys. They're writing even though they don't realize it. They're just not putting it on paper. :)


Caitlyn Willows said...


I know. If we only had a dollar for every time we hear people say that.

My response has been to tell these individuals how very hard it is to be a writer. I call it my doom-and-gloom speech and I'm very detailed about the ups and downs of a writer's life. Once I done I tell them, "Now, if what I've just told you makes you not want to write and you're never going to write...fine. Go do something else. But if you don't care what I've said, you think it doesn't apply to you and will never happen, and you're still going to write no matter what... Congratulations! You are a writer. Welcome to our crazy world." :)


Caitlyn Willows said...


Yes, I'm always asking questions at the most inopportune moments. But when I have to know, I just have to know.

When I had the day job, I had a man come in to do his tax return. He'd sold stock so my preparer came to get me to help. Oddly, the stock he'd sold was cattle (not like stock in a company). I was thrilled and asked all types of questions: how many head, how much do they cost, what's an average herd, how do oil leases work, how much land?

After I was done my preparer asked, "What did all that have to do with taxes?"

I replied, "Oh...nothing. I needed the info for a book I'm writing."

Then he begged me to use him in a book. He wanted to be a guy who dies in a grusome manner. So I did. I made him a character in UNDERCOVER LOVER. :)


Caitlyn Willows said...


LOL! Yes...wide berth and wide eyes.

My husband's gotten into the spirit of things as well. Goodness knows he should after all this time. He'll offer me info I didn't know I needed. On occasion he will what-if with me.

I really have to laugh because one time I was wandering aimlessly around the house when he asked me what was in my head. (A very bad mistake sometimes.) I blurted out that I was tired of all these heroines always smelling like vanilla (which I confess in the scent I most like to wear). He responded, "Then make her smell like chocolate."

"Brilliant!" I said. I'd love to say I gave him a kiss for helping me, but I merely dashed back to the computer to work it in. :) And, yes, the hubby still keeps me around.


Maeve Greyson said...

You've perfectly described the writer's soul, Caitlyn. Thank you for explaining how we truly tick.

Pat McDermott said...

Enjoyable post, Caitlyn. I can identify with all of it, and with the perceptive comments. I will only add that I'm blessed to have found and continue to find good friends through writing workshops and classes. My small weekly writers' group grew out of one of these classes. We've been going strong for more several years now, and it's one of the highlights of my week. Best of luck with your writing, Caitlyn!