Why do you write?

As a boy, I ran around my backyard going on all sorts of adventures with my imaginary friend. When it got dark out, I came inside and spilled my legos across the living room carpet. I played out small stories with the little figurines before me. When it was bedtime, a night rarely passed when my parents did not read to me. My favorite children's books include The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein, My Mother is Mine by Marion Dane, and Pingo by Brandon Mull.

In the third grade, I picked up Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, and have had a love of reading ever since. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, The Gates by John Connolly, and then, a litte later, Dune by Frank Herbert were my favorites.

I wrote the occasional short story, but it was my sophomore year of college when I wrote a full length novel that I fell in love with the craft, and knew I wanted to keep writing stories. I am abundantly grateful that, years later, I still am writing.

Welcome to my website!

You never really answered the question: why do you write?

Why do I write? Because I love stories. They illuminate the world and spark the mind. They speak to the heart like nothing else. They have tremendous potential to fill the world with goodness. I think of my own childhood favorite books and the way they've had huge impact on my pursuit of meaning and happiness.

Given all of that: of course I want to create stories. How could I not want to share this good and beauty with others?

How long have you been writing?

In the sixth grade, a friend and I wrote a series of short stories about Chip the Cookie and his rivalry with the muffins across town. I started a book in eighth grade which earned the notable distinction that my mother liked the first page. It was the tail end of Sophomore year that I wrote a full length fantasy novel, and have been writing consistently ever since.

What do you suggest to beginning writers who want to learn?

Write. Don't worry about making anything good -- the mere fact of sitting down and creating a story is worth celebrating. With time, they will improve. There will be dull and boring moments, yes, but be consistent and the fruit will come.

But how do you become a good writer?

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. Create a habit of writing, and the skill will come. It took me a long time (years!) to get a basic competency with storytelling, and there's still much room to grow! It is a lifelong habit to foster.

However, there's an idea of 'the gap," linked here, that has reassured me countless times. I hope you find value in it.

Questions? Comments? I will do my best to answer emails sent to Joseph.Paul.Bernstein@gmail.com.