Guest post by Shawn Thomas Odyssey, the author of THE WIZARD OF DARK STREET: An Oona Crate Mystery.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it helpful to take a moment to sort of realign myself with my deeper reasons for wanting to tell a story. Let’s face it, writing is hard work. It is demanding, and challenging, sometimes frustrating, and at other times exhilarating. So I ask the question: what is it that calls us to the keyboard or the pen and paper time and time again?
I can’t answer that for anyone else, but I do know that sometimes our core reason for writing can get a bit obscured by all of the traps of “succeeding.” Whether it’s seeking an agent, landing a publishing deal, promoting and selling a book, or whatever place we writers are at in our careers, I feel that it’s important to take a moment every so often to remind ourselves what we are doing all of this for. Why this, of all of the thousands of other activities available? And by the way, if your answer is “to get a six-figure advance on a publishing contract,” that’s fine, and perhaps true on one level, but I’m going to challenge you a bit and ask you to look a little deeper. Seems to me that there are FAR easier ways to make money than writing.
No doubt the answer you find will be answers (plural). There is certainly more than one thing that motivates us to do anything—we are complex human beings after all, and the answer is never quite so simple. But in simply asking the question, you might be surprised to discover that one or two reasons may stand out above the rest—answers that resonate TRUTH like a neon sign. Maybe those motivations have changed over time and are different from when you inked your first story, and then again, maybe not. It’s interesting to explore.
The reason I bring it up is because those core truths that speak to us—or perhaps more aptly, speak through us—can be the sweetest, most inspiring motivators in our lives. And all of the other compulsions and pressures to be successful can often obscure even the most core motivations.
Don’t get me wrong; the drive to succeed is a fine thing, and perhaps even necessary to achieve our eventual goals…just so long as it does not obscure our basic truths.
Presently, I am reminded that one of my own personal motivations for writing is, on one level, a desire to uniquely do for others what has been done for me by other authors. And on an even more fundamental level, it is to connect—not only with my readers, but also with that mysterious source within where the stories themselves seem to come from. To experience the magic firsthand!
What’s your motivation?