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“Why Me? Why Us?” Handsome Hansel on Romance University

Handsome Hansel from Dance of Romance [1]ponders the questions – why are we writers? What makes us so? And your answer is….?

I can’t actually say I was born to write. After-all, I’m not responsible for anything worth noting from a written page since after I turned forty.

Oh, I could talk a good game. I would get into arguments with my Dad in my early teens and cut him off at the path with every parental word of wisdom he attempted to drive at me. It eventually got to the point after a few years that he gave up trying and punctuated our years of banter with, “You better become a lawyer some day.”

I vaguely knew what a lawyer was at that point in my life but I knew I didn’t want to be one. If your career entailed waking up every day knowing you were going to argue for the next ten hours, they can keep it. After-all, that’s what marriage is for. (I kid!!)

I had a knack but didn’t know how to channel it. I loved to read. THAT, I knew I always wanted to do. But you don’t get paid for reading. Or at least at the vaguely tender age of 17 I didn’t think you could. So instead I went into various professions over the next couple of decades which entailed a lot of math and people skills. Both of which I loved as much as reading.

It took a dark time in my life for me to finally begin to write. I’d never kept a journal, unless you count the one given to me and my younger brother at Christmas when I was ten. It was, yes, the kind with the ridiculously cut-rate latch. The one where a spider monkey on a bad day could open.

I wrote in it because I felt I had to. It was a gift from my parents so…

Yet, it wasn’t right. I was writing about something that happened at recess. I was writing how the school lunch sucked. I was writing about how Susie Whatsherface at school smiled at me during PE. (And I actually drew an old-school smiley face emoticon after I was done.) Honestly…I didn’t see the point. That was until I found my Mom reading it then I understood very well.

Fast forward (coughs) awhile, and the lure of writing found me. I’d never aspired to be a writer yet I knew I could be one. Of course I didn’t know how difficult it would be but I was drawn.

Ever since that day, I have spoke to a lot of writers and read stories from a lot of others. It turns out that inherently, true writers, are born to do so. There are people who dabble and there are people who are destined. True writers know the difference. They feel it, they taste it, they don’t give a damn what others think and go for it.

Why do I, why do you, go for it?

If you want my take, and in the comment section below I really want to hear yours, it’s a passion. It’s a release of something. An outlet, a comfort, a loyal friend who will never ever leave your side. We need it just as much as it needs us.

Think back to the first time you wanted to write. Or better yet when you felt the need to write. Why was that? Mine was because I needed an outlet. A release valve for all the thoughts swirling in my head. I didn’t want to burden my friends with things I was going through. I had always loved to read but that wasn’t helping me escape either. So I sat down one day with a pad of paper and pen and I wrote a story. I had no idea where it was going to go but I wrote.

There’s something cathartic about escaping into another world built by oneself. How often do we get to read our own mental randomizing? And, just out of curiosity, how did you feel afterwards? Was it like really good, spur-of-the-moment, back-alley sex, or, we’ve been married for twenty years so let’s hurry up sex? If you’re reading this, I’m guessing the former.

But why you, why us? What is it about us that’s makes it this way?

Per my usual self, I ponder too much on things. A trait I believe which makes up a good writer. I was always the one who questioned things. Perhaps a little too much but it allowed me to delve deeper into things that were really going on around me.

I couldn’t help but “see” the stories, albeit my own, of people who passed me on the street or in the mall. I wouldn’t make up their stories, I would just somehow know their story. What my batting average would have been, I don’t know. But I had the story in my mind. From why the female picked out the low-cut blouse she was wearing to why the burly, hairy knuckled thug had a grin the size of Texas plastered across his face as they walked out of the bar with his trunk of an arm wrapped a little to tightly around her waist.

Watching as a young couple sat across from one another and she the only one initiating conversation as he ogled other women as they walked by. Observing as when he actually said something to her, she laughing a bit to hard hoping to win him over.

These are just a couple of examples of moments which happen rapid-fire for me during the normal day. It’s gotten to the point to where I can look around and find stories everywhere. But, realistically so can everyone else. So what makes us want to put it on paper? What makes us feel better when we get in front of our keyboard and start writing about it?

Why me? Better yet…why You?




So tell us, why are YOU a writer?

Join us on Wednesday for editor Heather Webb.


Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.

I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at http://thedanceofromanceonline.com [1]

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29 Comments To "“Why Me? Why Us?” Handsome Hansel on Romance University"

#1 Comment By Willa Blair On March 10, 2014 @ 3:20 am

Great article, HH! I don’t have the answer, either. I’ve been writing since elementary school. Handwritten, in pencil, my early authorly efforts are filed away. One of these days, I’ll have to get them out and see if they contain any hint of my facility with language that led to my lifelong goal to become a published author.

#2 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:03 pm



I wouldn’t even want to see anything I’d written while I was in grade school. I have the world’s worst handwriting. An epileptic chimp during a seizure has better handwriting than I. One day I went through old report cards that were in a box my mom gave me when I moved out a long time ago and my 4th grade teacher wrote in the comment section on HandWriting in frustration, “He doesn’t have the patience to write!”

I much much much prefer a keyboard!


#3 Comment By Sarah F On March 10, 2014 @ 6:55 am

Thanks for sharing this with us actually, was interesting to read

#4 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:03 pm


Thanks for stopping by!


#5 Comment By G.G. Andrew On March 10, 2014 @ 7:35 am

Great post! I’ve been thinking about this question of why I write lately and look forward to reading these responses.

One of the aspects I love about writing fiction is imagining how different characters would feel, think, and act–a fifty-nine-year-old man who owns an ice cream franchise, a young bisexual single mom, a teen Korean-American street artist. I believe this has broadened my ability to understand and relate to other people with different experiences in real life…not to mention the fun involved in getting to experience other lives!

#6 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:07 pm


I certainly agree that being a writer comes with an extra helping of empathy towards others. We see behind the curtain so to speak. Where others simply see what’s in front of them.

I’m not sure if it was a wise grandparent of mine, something I read or even heard on TV but it was said: Don’t lay in judgement of others; you don’t know their whole story.


#7 Comment By Carrie Spencer On March 10, 2014 @ 7:45 am

Morning HH…

Writing didn’t come naturally to me, at least not until the advent of email. Once I discovered I could email old friends or family members with my adventures (oh, every DAY is an adventure!) then I started getting the writing bug. I’ve been reading romance since I was probably 15…but it wasn’t until a few years ago I thought I’d try my hand at writing it.

Not published yet, by any means, but someday…..=)

Thanks for a great post HH!


#8 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:09 pm


First off…thanks for burning the midnight oil with me. 🙂

I believe avid readers can become great writers. Over time I believe the “rhythm” of how a book goes ingrains itself within a reader.

And you WILL be published someday!


#9 Comment By Audrey King On March 10, 2014 @ 8:02 am

Yesterday, someone asked me why I have to write every day and I told them, “I can’t not write. It’s like eating and sleeping.”
Truth be told, writing is my addiction.
I develop a sense of power and energy when I write. It is fulfillment and nourishment to the point where I sometimes don’t need to eat food.
I never stop thinking about it. I can’t.
The more I write, my power and energy increases in value and it shows from my first novel to my second. I can see it and feel it in the third one I’m working on now.
Writing gives me purpose and completion in so many ways.

#10 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:15 pm


I can certainly relate to writing being an addiction. I had to step away for the last few months because life took a turn that needed my attention.

During that time I was like a junkie on a street corner violently scratching his arm while spinning to look around for my next fix. (There was one point where I was told if I put out I could have my fix…but I digress… 🙂

While I was away from it, doubt began to settle in again. As long as we are doing it we grow in our confidence and that too can become a drug in and of itself.

Thanks for your comment!


#11 Comment By Carol Opalinski On March 10, 2014 @ 8:13 am

Great article, HH. I’m not sure why me but I know I feel so much better when I am writing. It’s like an outlet for all these people and stories trapped in my head. I would very much like to be published some day but the thing that drives me isn’t publication but that would be very nice. 🙂 At the moment I am learning all I can about my craft and strive to improve because being good at my craft is just as important to me as getting published.

#12 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:18 pm


You don’t have to talk to me about the voices in your head! I have a number of characters up there myself.

I have found that if I put them on paper, they stop in my head until the next time I visit them on my iMac.

Keep at it and you’ll have a finished book in your hands with your name on the cover!


#13 Comment By Joan Leacott On March 10, 2014 @ 10:15 am

Excellent post, HH. I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. It’s all my mom’s fault for bringing me with her to the library. I started writing out of boredom while waiting for my severance after a corporate buyout. But once I started, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop even with all the ups and downs. Now that I’m published, it’s a thrill to get paid for having so much fun.

#14 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 1:21 pm


Your mom too? 🙂

There is something so cathartic in writing. Even comments, posts, ramblings. It doesn’t always have to be a short story or novel.

Send me a link to your book on Twitter and I’ll retweet it for you.



#15 Comment By Celia Lewis On March 10, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

I always love to read how other writers think about their addiction! I began writing more seriously when I retired and could finally look at what I truly WANTED to do rather than what I MUST do to support myself and my kids (one with disability). Now that I’m no longer scrambling to keep my feet under me, I’m enjoying writing, joined the RWA local chapter, am now president and have finished several novels in the rather painful editing stage; plus writing several more in the same series. By the end of the year I want to be sending these novels out to be published – even though I’ll be over 71. Never too late. Thanks for your great article. I enjoyed it very much. And I can relate to your handwriting issue – thank heavens I can type!! 🙂

#16 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 6:03 pm


First off…I’m going to stretch my white-bread, middle-aged neck out and (with an awkward snap of my fingers) demand…”You go girl!”

(Has anyone seen my dignity? I know I left it around here somewhere.)

And Kudos to you Celia for raising a child with a disability. I, too, have a child with a disability and it was rough to ever come up for air in order to get through the next day. (Warm Hug)

It’s also heartwarming to hear that you found your calling. Own it, because right now it owns you. When you tame it (getting published) let me know. I want to be first in line.


#17 Comment By Evangelina Joseph On March 10, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

As usual you are spot-on once again. It’s a burning passion to write. I feel a sense of belonging and shared understanding amongst other writers. I’ve always been an avid reader, but there came a point where I realized other writers were having entirely too much fun without me and I HAD to join them. As soon as I finally realized I wanted to become an author, it felt like a huge part of who I was meant to be clicked into place. There was no doubt. My invisible friends cheered loudly & crowded around to tell me their stories. Getting paid to do what you love is quite a gift.

#18 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 6:10 pm


(Hug) (Another Hug) (And Another)

We’ve been friends a long while now and I understand where you are coming from.

I had never really known an author before I began writing. I had met Robin Cook back in the early 80’s at a book signing but that was it. For me, I read and read and read. One day I wanted to see what it was like to sit on the other side of the table. What would the view look like? How would I feel? What would it be like to have someone tell me that they relate to the thoughts which had plagued me for years? So… I moved my chair.

I, REGRETTABLY, had to set out BookEm this year as one of its panelists. However, I am looking forward to our conference later this year.


#19 Comment By Soraya E. On March 10, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

I started to write because I felt the need to. It wasn’t something that I felt like I wanted to do, but I felt that I needed it to make sense of things that didn’t make sense to me. Does that make sense?

For me, writing at this stage is still purely a hobby, maybe one of these days it’ll become more, but till then I’d rather keep reading first and get my juices and inspiration flowing.

#20 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

Lil’ Sis,

(Miss you)

And you have officially earned the gold medal for using the word “sense” in under 14 words. 🙂 Yet creatively.

Always keep writing. Always. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere. Experiment. Mix it up. Go places which are uncomfortable just to push yourself.

Right now it’s just you and your writing. No one else will be the wiser. What a perfect way to find yourself.

(Email me)

#21 Comment By Kayla Lords On March 10, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

Why am I a writer? Easy, because the stories playing in my head make me crazy if I can’t get them out somehow…sometimes that’s through a blog, sometimes that’s through a short story or novella. But the different characters, bits of dialogue, scenes, you name it could make a sane individual crazy. Sure, I want people to read my words, fall in love with them, and buy all my books, but what I really want to do is tell a story that makes people shiver and squirm and see a little of the picture running through my mind all the time.


#22 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 6:21 pm


Thanks for coming!

What a perfect way to put it. We want others to me moved by what we see as much as we are.

It’s gotten to the point to where I just shut up around family and friends to what I see going on around me. I might be at a function and see a couple in the corner having an intense conversation and when I point it out to a friend next to me, they shrug and go back to what they were talking about. It has taken a long time to come to terms that others do not see what I see.

This is why RomanceUniversity.Org is the perfect forum for those of us who understand what we go through on a daily basis!


#23 Comment By Jennifer Tanner On March 10, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

Hi HH,

I read a lot as a kid because I got grounded a lot and the only place I was allowed to go during restriction was the bookmobile. I grew up straddling two cultures and the more I read, the more aware I was of the cultural gulf between me and the characters portrayed in the books I enjoyed. I started writing because it allowed me to create a world I could identify with.

#24 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 6:24 pm


Tsk, tsk, tsk. “grounded a lot” 🙂 We should talk some day.

Your story is a perfect example of why some people write.

It’s not that we are unhappy with our current lives…we just need to go somewhere we really want to be for now.

Thanks for sharing J.


#25 Comment By Marcie On March 10, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

I have always been a good writer and had never really thought of it until around 2005.

The spirit of writing grabbed hold of me and shook me up. I wanted to learn more about writing; I wanted to learn how to write better.

At that time, I was writing and editing a monthly newsletter, Shorty In Da House, for my friends and family, and contributing to “The Chicago Independent Bulletin” community newspaper.

Ok, now to answer the question. Writing is my passion and purpose. My purpose in writing is to help people to tell their stories; give them a voice. It also to educate others. I’m super curious and really enjoy sharing my findings. I think that’s why I love blogging so much.

#26 Comment By Handsome Hansel On March 10, 2014 @ 7:33 pm


Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. It means a lot!

For me, “Shorty In Da House” has a whole other connotation. I have a LOT of squirrels that come to my back slider every day to be fed. One of them a couple of years ago got into a scuffle with something and had half her tail chopped off. Hence her name…Shorty.

Ever since she has been allowed in the house. She comes and goes at will. She even chewed a small enough hole in the screen to get through and I’ve left it.

You can see why I chuckled at “Shorty In Da House”. I even made a movie trailer for family I’d be happy to send you. 🙂

I admire other writers who can write the stories of other real people. I’m not sure I could do that. I’m happier in the world of fiction. Maybe one day though…


#27 Comment By Becke Martin Davis On March 10, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

It’s weird. I don’t think I seriously thought about writing as a career – except possibly as a journalist. All I know was that when I was in school, the only time I was confident that I’d get a good grade was when I turned in creative writing work or essays. Once I was married, my day job always kept me so busy I didn’t have time to “play” with writing. Gradually I developed a career as a non-fiction writer but I think I still had a mindset that writing fiction wasn’t “real” work. Now I know that writing fiction is really hard “real work” – probably the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s not the kind of work I’d consider quitting, no matter how hard it gets. But I’m no longer confident that I have the talent to pull it off. Imposter syndrome is hard to shake off at times!

#28 Comment By Melanie Elliott On March 13, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

This was great to read. Thanks for posting. I’ve kept a journal since 1976 when I was 11 years old. I don’t write as often anymore, but my journal is still there and still takes my words. My passion and drive used to be acting. I LOVED it, the magic that happened when the words and I became 1. Alas, I could not make a living doing that, though am still paying off my student loans! I started writing for an online parenting magazine (again, not making any $$), but it fulfilled that same thing in me that acting did – the creative process, but this time, I was creating a story, my story and my words, not characters. Now I have my own blog. I have a few followers, but that’s only part of why I write. When I feel inspired, I like to put pen to paper, or, rather fingers to keyboard. Sometimes my posts just flow which I love and sometimes I have to work for it. It’s all the same creativity, creation, bringing something to life. It’s absolutely fulfilling, though I’d love to get paid for it, and I’d love to do another play – someday.

#29 Comment By Imran Siddiq On March 16, 2014 @ 7:09 am

This sort of relates to how motivated you are to get the stories down on paper