What Motivates You?

     What motivates you?

     This seems like a straightforward question, and I suppose for some people, it is.

     For myself, this is an extremely difficult question to answer. Answering it, truthfully at least, requires intense soul-searching, which I’m not exactly a fan of.

     But, using myself as an example, I’ll give some of the basics.

     First, there’s the undeniable need for me to write. And that is a brutal truth: I have to write. It doesn’t matter if it’s a poem, a short story, a longer work of fiction, or a piece of nonfiction. I have the need to write. This need has been there since I was 9 years old and listening to my mother and stepfather argue. It was there when I sat in class – drawing, and writing – and being too much the antagonist and futile rebel to pay attention to what the nuns were trying to teach me.

     In high school, I met Mr. Richard White, a patient, intelligent author, and journalist who taught my English class of hormonal and testosterone-fueled students. He taught us how to craft our sentences and how to form our paragraphs into coherent stories, whether they were fiction or to deliver the news in a succinct fashion.

     My writing has always been a way to release the tension within myself, although I didn’t always see it as such. I harbored dreams, of course, of becoming a famous writer, someone as successful as Stephen King, or at least with the cult-like adoration of Lovecraft fandom. I wanted to create worlds where people could escape reality, just like I did when I was younger (and still do when I write).

     At this point in my life, as a husband, a father of three, and approaching the half-century mark, I don’t want to be famous anymore (although a healthy royalty check would be appreciated). What I want, what I need, is to create a place where the reader can seek refuge. We all desperately need to forget about the troubles and issues that we face in reality. I want my readers to find that in my stories. I want them to pick up the book, or click on the link, and read a story that takes them away, if only for a few minutes, where they don’t have to worry about the bills, or illness, or the ten thousand other problems and irritations that creep up in daily life.

     That’s my motivation.

     What’s yours?

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How do you write?

     I suppose that’s the most consistently asked question outside of, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’

     But ‘how do you write’ is an extremely important question, because other writers want to know. Some of them will be exactly like you, others will be like me, and still, more will be exactly as they should be – themselves.

     With that being said, I want to talk about writing and editing.

     Some writers find it beneficial to write a chapter, go back and edit it, read it, then edit it again. Some even do this until they can’t see straight anymore.

     I am not one of those people.

     For me, getting the entire story out onto paper is by far the best strategy I have for getting a story out and ready for editing.

     If I stop and look at the piece, I keep going back. I keep tweaking it. And there’s no need to. In fact, I would argue that going back and constantly correcting the first few pages or chapters would be detrimental to your story. By never advancing, you can’t see where your story is going.

     My advice, then, is to put the entire story down on paper. Then walk away.

     Yup, that’s right. Put it down and walk away. Give yourself a few hours. Preferably a day or two, but if you can’t bear to be away from it for that long, then at least a few hours. This will give you some breathing room, the opportunity to come back to your story with fresh eyes, eyes that will read what you’ve written and say, “Eh, not bad. Not great, but not bad.” Or you’ll look at it, swallow back a bit of vomit and wonder how the writing in front of you ever made it past your mouth.

     Whatever you do, don’t be afraid. Write and work and try. Always try.

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What We Bring to the Table

     We are a collection of our experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Each of these informs our decisions, both conscious and subconscious, and when we create, they are the subtle currents beneath our words.

     With this in mind, we should think about who and what we are when we write.

     Your experiences, the sum of who you are at the moment that you begin to write, these are what you bring to the table.

     Don’t be afraid to place them all out to be seen. Place your childhood fears in one section, your accomplishments in another. Have everything laid out where you can see it and reflect upon it. And sometimes, that reflection will be the most difficult aspect of writing.

     It takes courage to examine yourself, which is why so few of us do it – myself included. There are dark corners within the human heart that none of us wish to probe, but to be a better writer, to be the best writer you can be, well, that requires us to dig a little deeper. To drag those painful memories and experiences out into the open, and to lay them out on the table.

     When you have your table set, and you’re prepared to write, look at yourself, see what will work and what will not, and don’t be afraid to delve deeper into your psyche.

     There is greatness in what you have experienced, in what has molded you.

     Bring it to the table and create.

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Hello! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please consider putting a dollar in the pot. 🙂 Every little bit helps, and each dollar allows me to spend more time creating posts and stories for you to read. Thank you for your support!

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