Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Why do you write? Why do you want to be published?
I think all writers need to address these questions. If you don’t identify and understand your motivations, how can you effectively write a project to reach your intended audience? Or how do you even figure out who your audience is?
I must admit that if I were to write a book, my only motivation for publication would be the money. I would want to be published so that I could have a best-seller. That’s probably the most selfish motivation out there, but I think every person, author or not, would love to write a best-seller and make piles of money.
Because that’s my only motivation, I haven’t written that book. The dream of money, for me, isn’t enough to force me to do all of the work required. I don’t think there’s enough of a chance of my becoming that best-selling author. It would be like playing the lotto. I could invest the time, but without promise of reward, I wouldn’t do it. I would need a better reason to write the book.
Most writers have other motivations in addition to wanting to make at least some money. These motivations usually are layered and complex, and they are entwined with the core of who the writer is–the writer’s self esteem, worth, etc. This is why the ups and downs of the publishing process affect the writer so deeply. The writer becomes connected to the book, not just because he or she wrote it, but also because he or she wrote it for a reason.
Here’s a list of some possible motivations:
1) To help others not to make the same mistakes that the writer has.
2) To prove worth.
3) To entertain others.
4) To write the story that has been laid on the writer’s heart.
5) Revenge (exposing someone real in “fiction”).
6) Sharing what has happened to the writer to help the writer heal. Writing something down can help to process past experiences.
7) To prove a point.
8 ) To strengthen the audience’s faith or to share insights the writer has learned.
9) To impress someone.
10) To be something other than who you are.
11) To create a new life for yourself through your characters.
12) To create a legacy.
I’m sure hundreds of writer motivations exist. I encourage each of you to dig deep, to peel back the layers to find out what the core of your passion for writing is. This might even be a painful experience for some of you, but I believe understanding your motivations will help you to identify your audience and to write a more focused project that will have a better chance of fulfilling your dreams for your writing.
Also, some of your motivations might need to be re-evaluated–like if you are writing for revenge. Clearing out the negative motivations, while there’s no easy way to do this, will help you to write a better book.
Now it’s your turn. What motivations can you add to my list? They don’t have to be your motivations, and they can be both negative and positive.