Hello friends and welcome to another wily week of writing here at Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
I got to thinking a little bit this week about motivation. Not the kind that takes the shape of great ideas, nor the type of external stimulus that pushes someone onward. I was thinking much more along the lines of one of the most basic questions we as creative individuals must necessarily ask ourselves:
Why do I write?
What reason do I have to write?
When I asked myself these questions, my answer came easily: because I want to be a writer, duh. But that, in turn, asked a brand new question: what, to me, does “being a writer” entail, exactly?
Because, plainly just writing isn’t enough to satisfy that goal. Even writing for money isn’t exactly what I want, because I’m making money (not a lot, but still) with my freelancing deal. Do I want to be famous? Certainly not, I tremble to imagine the kind of unwanted scrutiny fame would invite. Well, then, is it ego? I didn’t even know I had one to speak of.
But I do. And that’s what brought me to my answer. My why do I write.
Its community. Its people. Its you (yes, you, person reading this right now). Because as much as I shrink against the idea of attention (even positive attention), I do very much desire to bring together a community. That’s why I started this blog, really. That’s why I continue to log onto Twitter every day. Though my anxieties and natural inclination to guarding my privacy have often meant a sort of distance between myself and those I wish to connect with, I do want to make friends. I do want to be surrounded by people who care about my successes. I do want to help others with what meager knowledge and experience I possess.
All this time, I’ve been trying to motivate myself to write with all the wrong reasons. Maybe not wrong, exactly, but incompatible. I thought that I want to write to make money, and well, I do, but that’s not the reason I write. I thought that I want to write because, well, I’m making up stories in my head anyway, I may as well jot them down. And, yeah, that’s also true. But as far as inspirations strong enough to kick my ass out of slow, weary complacency, those things just aren’t going to cut it.
But you are (again, you). You, who cares about me long enough to still be reading this blog after four years of inconsistent posting and a sort of meandering identity. You, who is interested in what sort of fiction I may bring into the world, even though I have yet to produce any for consumption (novellas outside of my favored genre aside). You, who are just another struggling writer and who just wants to share in that experience with someone outside of your own head. Or wait, maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, finding my why has been a bit of a sore spot for me lately. Because, truthfully, I didn’t want to plumb that well too deeply in case the reason actually was just “I want to make lots of money from writing.” Again, I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong and if that’s your motivation, as long as it works for you and gets you writing, I’m good with it. But it definitely wasn’t working for me.
Of course, this new source of inspiration means that I need to actually overcome some social anxiety and the death grip I have on the information I’m willing to share with the world. Gulp. But I think you’re worth it. Yes, you. And you know what? So am I.
Until next time my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.