When I first started writing fiction, like most authors, there were a bunch of facets of the new profession I was blind to; some good, some not so good. One of those “unknowns” was the vast portion of non-writing time that would be consumed by promotion and shining one’s own halo. Like many, I spend as much effort promoting my work as I do creating it. So what does that have to do with motivation? Well hang with me; I’m headed there.
I spend a fair among of time in author chats, doing interviews, signing, and similar activates where I get to interact with readers (one of the major “good things”, by the way). One topic that often comes up is, “What is your motivation to write?” At first, it took me by surprise because, of course, the answer is so damn obvious. But is it? Truth was when I though about the “why” I wrote, it really wasn’t so clean. I mean, I get depressed a lot after spending months in my isolated dungeon living in some fantasy world I create in my screwed up mind. It really gets lonely back there but you don’t want to come out because you’re in the groove. That cuts back on a ton of loven’ time which, even at my age, is important. So just why the hell do I do it? I’ve talked to many author buds and they have gone through the same self-analysis. Now I’ll share the eureka brain flash that finally hit me and answered the question.
Money – Would it shock anyone that once you get one or two novels under your belt, money is not the motivation? Sure, it’s the dream. Everyone wants to see their story on the screen, and if I were a Cussler, Patterson, Grissom, etc; the dollar signs would sparkle in my eyes. But most authors barely make expenses, so that ain’t what keeps you locked in the back room.
Recognition – I live in a small town (maybe 10000). Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t say, “Aren’t you that writer I saw in the newspaper article few months back?”, and I answer, “Yeap, that’s me.” Then I’m offered the opportunity to make a new friend with a complete stranger. Now that is neat (e.g. a good motivation).
Accolades – About every four months I get in a deep pit with a dark cloud hovering above. Then, something happens, I get lifted into the clouds again and I feel blessed to be given the chance to write fiction. Case in point, I was really hanging low when I received 3 reviews back to back on FORGOTTEN CHILDREN, and all were five star rated reviews. One went so far as to state I was as good if not better then the best fiction writers of today. Man, you can’t soar any higher then that, or at least so I thought. Then the same book was nominated as the best romantic suspense of 2008 by two sites. A few months later I won the Best author of 2008 award and my big butt launched into orbit. Really, those are terrific motivations to hide away in my dungeon to try and create another full length romantic suspense (my gender).
Readers– Then we come to the greatest motivation of all, the readers. When you have someone email you and relate how they were moved by a character, or were given a whole new slant on the human condition, or one of my stories helped then escape from the drudgery and frustration of every day life, that is a true high. No bull. People that have read one of my stories will ask me at signings, during interviews, or in person, “Is this why Nancy reacted that way?”, or “Did that symbolize…”, or “When will the sequel be out, and will Don come back?” Then someone will vent a bit because a character they liked or reminded them of an uncle, lover, or brother was killed, and they didn’t like it at all! It’s an indication that, just like in my heart, these characters were alive, real people they grew to love. How can it get any better than that?