If I was a gambling man, I’d be willing to wager significant money that many if not most aspiring or newly minted authors are in the same boat I’m in: I work a full time job that I wish required only 40 hour per week. When I get off of work, I try to spend real, quality family time with my wife and son (I truly hope you aren’t overly sacrificing time with your spouse, children, or significant other). When the day job is over and the family has been put to bed, I find that I have precious little of the day left over in which to write. Inevitably I’m forced to withdraw from my already paltry sleep account in order to pay for the time to write, which leads to some brutal working conditions later in the week.
In fact, I’m finishing this article off during my lunch break. Last night I was up until midnight editing my manuscript. I have a list of writing projects that includes articles for Yahoo! and short stories that I try and work on when I decide I need a break from editing.
Why do we do this to ourselves? What drives us?
I want to try something, and I hope you’ll play along. I want to know what motivates you.
The primary reason for the existence of my creative writing blog (Sojourner Mountain) is to motivate and inspire myself and other writers. I’m going to be doing a couple of exercises over the coming weeks to enhance this for the readers of my blog, and I want it to be relatable to them. So I’m asking that you comment on this article and tell me in as many or few words as you like: what motivates you to write, or to be a writer? And if you’d like, please be sure to leave the link to your blog or author page (more on that below).
I’ll start. I write for two fundamental reasons: First, I love the whole art of storytelling…all of it. From the initial inspiration, to the awkward and embarrassing first draft, through the never ending editing, and finally (and this shocked me when I realized it) to letting others read it. I’ve found this addictive despite the exposure and trepidation that comes with letting complete strangers read and critique my work.
The second reason is based on the first: I want to write and tell stories full time. I dream of the day when I can be a professional writer, w hen my whole day revolves around writing, editing, and asking people to read my work.
That’s it in a nutshell (Curses! A cliché! Who’s editing this?) for me. What about you? Why are you a writer? What motivates you to look beyond the obstacles? As I collect your answers, I’d like to highlight some of them on Sojourner Mountain, and link it to your blog or website. Maybe your writing will inspire another writer…
I’m in the same boat, balancing family, work, social obligations and writing. The truth is, ideas come to me and continue to float around in my head until I do something with them. So I put them on paper. Overall, writing is hard. It’s frustrating. It’s more work than I thought it would ever be — and I’m hellbent on being *good* at it. That’s why I keep coming back to it. Bringing imaginary people, places and things into being is a great feeling and, when the writing is *right*, I get a rush.
You know, until the next day when I re-read it and think, “Ugh, that’s crap!”
I write to get the voices in my head to stop talking. Unfortunately for me, their conversations generally start just as I’m placing my head on my pillow. Or maybe this is fortunate, because the alternative (them not speaking at all ) would be dreadful.
I start work most nights while the rest of the house is sleeping and work through the wee hours of the morning. Three or four hours of sleep and I’m up again to face the day.
It’s the only time I have to do what I love. I have a job. I have friends. I have a seven year old girl who wants my undivided attention.
But I can’t stop writing. I can’t because from the very start I’m invested in my characters. They’re people to me. People with stories to tell. And even if it means I spend the majority of my days looking like the Bride of Frankenstein due to sleep deprivation, I love every second of it.
For me, writing is a creative outlet that distracts me from the stresses of life. Granted, some of my stress is attributable to my day job as a…(wait for it)….writer.
Write out of love; write out of instinct; write out of reason. But always for money.
—Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) Poet
Just saw this on Twitter and it seemed apt 🙂
Firstly and foremost I consider myself an artist who is getting to grips with being a writer. Why? Because art has always been my biggest passion -early on in my life- alongside it I dabbled in some poetry and experimental writing styles; as a means to deal with all the stresses linked with adolescent youth etc… It has only been quite recent that I have seriously contemplated writing a novel and a script -albeit this was a long way coming; I always have a million stories, characters, thoughts, vivid dreams waltzing in and out of my mind; it was only a matter of time…
When it comes to motivation; it’s quite simply the satisfaction of what is penned and in turn appreciated by those who read it (sounds quite pompous I know; but I mean it in terms of a completed piece of writing -not that that is the ultimate goal!). I have been told many times that the way I think, the way I write is unique; also someone once said not to stop penning words… So here I am; my art has now taken a back seat whilst the words just flow… A sacrifice great or small who knows; there is one thing though; it just feels great to finally put all that has been on my mind on paper and play with it and see what works; experimenting is great! One of my biggest aims is to be able to put all my ‘confused’ thoughts into coherent works. I guess that’s another motivation; to see how to express those thoughts on paper without losing its fluidity… The process of the written word also intrigues me; but that’s another topic entirely! I have always believed if something is written for a purpose then it should be shared; however cringe-worthy it may be; after all we are all human. There will always be someone out there who will find what you have written inspiring; even if you believe it might be insignificant; besides it’s good to write regardless… My ultimate goal is to one day write an accomplished book/novel on experiences/thoughts in a very unique style which hopefully will help and provide insight and understanding on the topics I raise; until then I am still considering myself as ‘practising’. My motivation is just to keep on going, so don’t you stop too -if it works why deprive others? Now I’m off; I hope that makes sense… 🙂