Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Yesterday we talked about character motivation. Today I want to talk about our motivation to write. Is it something inherent? Is it passed down to us from our parents DNA (not mine), or do we find it somewhere along the road of life?
Do we do it for the chance at fulfilling a life-long dream? Because you love to write? Are you a narcissist who only wants to see your name in print? Is it about the chance to make a boat-load of money? (I heard there was a 6-figure/2 book deal out of Harlequin for a debut author last week--doesn't that make you want to bang your head on the cement? Well it does me, and I'm nothing if not honest.)

I'll tell you my story. Promise me you won't laugh. It's kind of corny. Remember the Walton's? Okay for those of you who aren't old enough, (good God some of you weren't even born then) The Walton's was a drama on tv based in the
1940's. In it were, I don't know 6 kids (and don't ask me to name them, I couldn't) grandma and grandpa, Maw and Paw. Well the oldest son was John-boy (yes, his name was John-boy, this was a stab at wholesome family values entertainment and I guess it worked, the show was on for almost 10 years I think)...

I'm sorry I digress...Anyway, besides Donny Osmond and David Cassidy (and if you don't know who they are, you'll have to wait for another post) I was wildly crazy over John-boy Walton (not Richard Thomas the actor who portrayed him, the character himself) BECAUSE he wanted to be a writer. More than anything in the world. I remember the first Christmas show, John-boy got a set of legal pads and he just thought that was the living end. And of course it was a tear jerker show and that's when I fell in love with John-boy who made me want to be a writer too.

Yeah, I know, how stupid is that, but things were different back then, it was the
70's, women were breaking out into the world, we had just come through the sexual revolution, Gloria Steinam was burning bras, God my mother even went to college to become a teacher instead of staying at home with me and my brothers. I knew I would have to become something when I grew up and I figured, I had always gotten really good grades in English, and I liked to read (all the time), so why not. How hard could it be?

(I am now sitting on my office floor, gasping for breath, watching coffee drip out my nose becaue I'm laughing so hard.)

Any-hoo, I tried it, (still have the totally lame attempts at romance novels I tried writing when I got out of high school) had to become a waitress because I didn't go to college. Worked my way up the restaurant ladder, still writing but not really, started my own business, went to college myself, and that's where I learned about expository writing. That was the best -- college -- if I could do that all over again I would. I went to a hippie college in Vermont, it was actually one of the first long distance learning colleges in the U.S. and I had a blast. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I managed to, at the end, pull a not half-bad short story out of my hat. Now mind you, I wrote long hand and had to type everything up on my trusty Smith-Corona. That was 1996. I didn't get my first computer unitl 2006. Yes, it took that long. That was when I went absolutely crazy. I wrote until my fingers bled. That was the beginning of my finished manuscript. (My daughter also crashed that computer and I lost all the files so I had to re-do it when I got my second computer 2008, but thankfully I had written the first draft long hand.)

I moved to the Piedmont in '07 (had a series of unfortunate accidents, found out my daughter was very ill and also found I couldn't work at a normal job -- normal being standing, sitting, walking for very long periods of time which left out most everything in a restaurant) so I decided, if Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Kasey Michaels, and Sabrina Jeffries can do it, why can't I?

I know, I know, not really tremendous motivation, and am probably doing if for the wrong reasons but you know what...for all the head banging and finger cramping and hair tearing, it's the best thing I've done in a long time. There is nothing, nothing, in this world I love more than staring at a blank screen and typing away, creating new lives, tension, happy ever afters.

Now that's my story and I'm sticking to it. What's yours?


Lady Glamis said...

Wow, Anne, thank you so much for sharing this. We all have different reasons for writing, and sometimes those reasons change over time. In 1996 I was writing my very first novel, that now, 13 years later, I've rewritten 3 times, revised over a dozen times, and still have big plans to make it queryable. First comes Monarch, though, because of certain circumstances as you know.

I have always wanted to be a writer, since I was like 10 I think. And I honestly cannot tell you why. But the drive has been so strong that I wrote all through high school and decided to be an English major just so I could "grow up and be a published novelist." I'm still trying to attain that dream, and I get one step closer every year, I think.

I've always been kind of a loner, especially in high school and college, so I think that writing for me is my way of branching out and getting some needed attention. I like the idea of people being in awe of something I created. It's a nice ego boost, I guess. I guess it's the rush that motivates me. That, and creating something with my hands, my heart, and my head, that comes together and becomes something beautiful and amazing and entertaining. That's, of course, the finished product I strive for.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough. I think your motivations are exceptional. I don't think they are the wrong reasons at all. They simply can't be. If you're being driven by something from your heart and even by need, that's good enough for me. If it gives you happiness, that's what matters. I hope that someday I can return the favor you've given me and I get to read some of your work. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Anytime you want to read anything I've read let me know. It's cheesy and trite but it's fun and I like to read it.

Piedmont Writer said...

Anything I've written is what I meant to say but you knew that cuz' you're so smart.

Dominique said...

That was a nice story. :)

I caught the writing bug from two friends who are studying to be, get this, engineers. My image of aspiring writers never included engineering, but apparently, I had always been mistaken. I just decided to give it a go, and it stuck.

Piedmont Writer said...

Good for you Dominique. It's funny how our world view changes when the right thing comes along. And hey, engineering, who knew?