The first time I thought about writing a book was in the year 2005. I was just completing my “twilight tour,” which is the last duty tour of a military member’s career. I had been dreaming about retiring for the past twenty years, and now it was time. The funny thing is, just as I was planning out my golden years, my wife and I became pregnant. Whodathunkit? My outlook on life changed overnight. Yesterday I was thinking about buying a beach house and this morning I am trying to remember how to change a diaper.
My motive for writing also changed overnight. I would soon have a son, and later two more. It’s like they say… If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I still wanted to write a book, but now it was for my children and grandchildren. One day, I wanted my grandchildren to reach up on the shelf and say “My grandpa wrote this book.” It didn’t matter if I was a successful author… it only mattered that my legacy inspires my children to be more than just average.
Writing to Overcome
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, life happens. We can’t choose what life tosses our way, we just have to deal with it. Sometimes people will get upset with a certain publisher, or perhaps a certain reviewer might rub them the wrong way. When this happens, the writer makes it their business to show these obstinate people what’s what.
While this is a very direct driving force, it also can bring a writer to a false sense of accomplishment. Once you achieve your immediate goal, then what? I will be the first to admit that when you get an unfair review, it hurts, and you get angry. I remember my first bad review. My first book showed my genuine love for the Navy, and the time I spent in it. His review called me a fake and an idiot because in his mind, nobody could love the Navy as I had. I was livid thinking of all the people reading that review, but could do nothing about it.
Here is the thing to remember. When you publish a book and put it on the market, you are at the mercy of the world. Everyone has the right to their opinion, and as consumers who have spent money on your book, they can voice that opinion no matter how we like it. The best thing to do it to develop a hard shell, and try to roll with the salty reviews.
Achieving a goal
Lots of writers are goal oriented, and like to have a clear goal to shoot for. Many of them focus on specific challenges like “1000 words a day” or maybe “National Novel Writing Month.” These writers get their deepest sense of accomplishment from knowing they have achieved their particular goal or task.
Personally, I found that forcing a story is like writing just to write. The lack of a passionate goal makes for empty writing. I have tried both of these methods before, and when I write without passion, my writing suffers, and I always rewrite it at a later date. I get the challenge, but the price you pay for it might disappoint you.
The Brass Ring
As human beings, we love prizes and praise. Some writers want nothing better than to beat out the competition and take home the prize.
They are motivated by the urge to be the absolute best at what they do, and to gather the accolades that comes with it. If you ask them their sales figures or their Amazon ranking, they can spit it right out.
I was like this for about ten minutes. I was so anxious to be recognized, my mind was driving me crazy. All I could think about was the New York Times Best Seller list, or when Hollywood would call me for a movie deal. While these thoughts make for great daydreaming, the odds of either of those things happening are astronomical.
Perhaps you should just focus on your writing, and enjoy what you are doing. It’s kind of funny… before writing this article, I had not even thought about my Amazon ranking in several years. It’s nice to know that there might be hope for me yet.
Can I Change the World?
Writers who are motivated by impact want to leave their mark on the world. They are focused on getting responses from readers and inspiring change. Sometimes the greatest satisfaction this writer will get is for seeing the impact that being a writer had on their own
We can all feel certain levels of each of these motivations, but there will be one or two more predominant drives present in what we do, and
that can’t be helped. These are the key to your personal motivation, and they will drive you to success. They will also be the key of your personal satisfaction
So why do you write?
My first motivation was a very powerful one. Nobody in my family had ever written a book, or even filed for a copy write. I was very eager and driven to be the first, and to make my mother proud of me. Just to know that she was reading a book that I wrote was very satisfying for me. So, once that was finished, I lost my motivation. The next motivation I found was the desire to write a detective story, or perhaps a mystery novel. Once again my fingers were flying across that keyboard until my third one was published, then I lost my motivation again. Been there, done that. Finally, I started writing because I wanted my grandchildren to know me, even if I was not around. This motivation keeps me going.
No matter what your motivation is, embrace it. This is what gives you the drive to get up in the morning and be a writer. Once you lose your motivation, you will start getting writers block, and eventually stop writing altogether. You have to find a way to stay motivated, no matter what it is. As long as your motivation is simple and sincere, you will write. See you at the presses…