Why I Write

By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to write books. Even then there were a few authors whose stories had touched me deeply. I thought that, if I could tell a compelling story that communicated a deep truth, I could be a positive influence in the world. 

Back then I wrote songs and poems and for the school paper. I knew writing had power. I also knew there was power in performance. School musicals and a brief stint in a hair metal band taught me that. 

So, at 20 years old, having dropped out of college, I found an opportunity to take a meaningless job in central Nebraska. I saw it as an opportunity to go somewhere new and just write. My plan was to work this job to pay bills and spent the rest of my time writing and fishing. 

Well life got in the way…as it often does for young men. 

Fast forward 20 years and I published my first novel, “Twice as Hard”. By this time I had written and published over 200 stories and columns for various small newspapers; but never a book. But I was excited and jumped into a bad contract with an even worse publisher. When I realized it was a mistake, it was too late. I was stuck for seven years in a contract I had no way out of. 

I truly thought that may be the end of the writing dream. I mean, I was 40. And I resigned myself to the idea that I had at least published a book and left it at that…kind of. I still thought about it often but the years kept rolling by, I was busy with abortion recovery work and eventually co-leading a Celebrate Recovery. 

In March of 2018 an event happened that changed that mentality in ways I couldn’t imagine. 

I went for a routine outpatient procedure. Supposed to be no big deal. But six days later there was a problem. I had internal bleeding. For four days (two in ICU) I thought about my life. I thought about this idea of legacy and if I had done anything that mattered. 

The weeks of recovery at home brought more of the same reflection. What example had I left for my kids? What was the sum of my existence to that point? Would it matter when my curtain dropped for the final time?

A series based on the novel “The Shack” was playing on loop when I was home recovering. It brought me hope and peace. As did Bob Ross. But I realized that every single day I woke up was proof I had time. I had time to be a better husband and father. I had time to tell the stories I had wanted to tell for years. I…just…had…time…

And it didn’t matter how much pavement was behind me. I had today. 

My aforementioned contract now over, I decided to rewrite the first novel, add some chapters and release it on my own and with a new title. So in May of 2019 “Finding Forgiveness” was published. The new title came from my dad reading it and saying, “that book is about forgiveness…plain and simple.”

In February of 2020, after reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, I began to believe that this book idea about a guy who experiences loss through abortion could actually be possible. I committed to writing every day. Didn’t matter if it was ten minutes or three hours. Every single day I would write. 

Then COVID. Then in April my dad had a stroke and I became a daily help with food, meds, appointments. It made sense, I lived a few blocks away. But I kept writing every day. There were days a paragraph was a struggle. Other days I sat down at 10pm and wrote until I couldn’t see. But I wrote every day. 

In November of 2020 “Almost Daddy: The Forgotten Story” was published. Then in the summer of 2021 I wrote and published a small group recovery guide titled “Almost Daddy: A Men’s Guide to Healing After Abortion.”

This year I’ve published both in Spanish versions. 

I thought about that today when I released the Spanish version of the recovery guide. Five books in three years. And there’s so much more to do!
My father and I sat down every week for several months a while ago. This was long before his strokes. We sat down so he could tell me his story, that I might one day write it and publish it. A few months after gathering his notes he was sitting in the garage and we were talking about the project and how it might go. 

He asked me to make it like a novel. He also asked me to not publish until he passed away. I asked him why and he responded, “If I’m dead then no one can say this or that didn’t happen that way.”

I responded, “Sure they can. They’ll say it to me.”

Dad said, “Right. But I won’t have to hear it.” and then he laughed deeply. 

Dad passed in February. That book is coming when I can sort through the notes without getting too emotional. 

There are also two more Almost Daddy related stories. 

And then another novel and two nonfiction books. 

What’s my point? 

Well, it’s not self-aggrandizement. The point is I am more energized now about writing and telling stories than I ever have been. And I am because I started and I did it and I continue to do it. And I see the power in story most every day now. I see it first hand. 

And you can to. 

Maybe your thing isn’t writing books. Maybe it’s songs or interpretive dance. Maybe it’s serving the poor or providing job training for single moms. Perhaps you help folks most would overlook find a path to owning a home. Whatever it is for you, my point is embrace it…and do it like it’s the most important thing you can do. Because it just may be.

New Pic of Me (2)

Greg Mayo
Published on: October 17, 2022

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