Friday, July 17, 2020

Writing: Motivation

Why would anyone sit down and write a book, especially a work of fiction? I can perhaps see doing a non-fiction book if there's really a story you need to tell. But why write a work of 65,000 to 100,000 words? For those of you who are counting, when you figure 250 words per page (Times New Roman font, standard margins), that's up to 400 pages. Why would you do it?

The standard answer, of course, is that "I write because I can't not write." There's just a drive within you to commit words to a page and prepare it for others to read. If that's you, then power to you--get at it, but prepare yourself for disappointment. Lots of us write, and the number is getting larger every day. Self-publication of e-books now makes it possible for you to get your novel out there with almost no investment-- without editing (I really don't suggest that) and with a self-designed cover (again, I don't suggest it).  By the way, if you're waiting for that big contract from a traditional publisher, I'm afraid that you're in for a long wait. Those are becoming harder to come by.

Why else do you write? Is it because you're looking for a source of income? I've written about that before, and I'll say it again:  the number of those for whom writing is a sole source of income is small, and your odds of joining them are slim.

Want fame and fortune? Want to be recognized wherever you go? Sorry.

But if you have a message you feel you have to write, blessings on you. Maybe no one else will read it, but perhaps the only one meant to see it is you--and that's enough.

Can you tell what a writer's motivation is when you finish his/her book? Let me know. 


Patricia Bradley said...

I like to tell stories and live vicariously through my characters. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Living vicariously through the characters is fun...until your motivation shows through. Then again, when you're done with the book and have to tell the characters good-bye, it's like losing a good friend.

Patricia Bradley said...

Absolutely! Quicky question--do you ever re-read your books? I find that I simply can't. Don't know why.

Richard Mabry said...

Yes and no. I have a whole book-case full of novels that I read again and again...Robert B. Parker, Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas, John Grisham. The list goes on. When Cynthia was in the ICU after her stroke, I re-read all the Parker novels. It kept me sane.

But I've never, not once, opened one of my novels once it was published. Partly, I guess, because I've read and re-read the book in the editing process, and partly because I find something I'd like to do differently." The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on."

Patricia Bradley said...

That's what I meant--the books you write, although I rarely reread any book. lol. I'm like you. I simply can't bring myself to read them again. Or listen to them. lol