My turn came around quicker than expected this month. Bear with me as I’ve been battling this bizarre cold/flu/strep thing for the past week. I really don’t have anything today to talk about (boo! bad form!) so I’ll open up with a question:
Who motivates you?
For me, it varies. I can look back throughout my life and point to a number of people who said “Jason, you suck. You’ll never be a writer.” Which was fair, since my grasp of English was/is atrocious and I didn’t even understand the basics of story telling. In fact, I could say that being a writer was something I never considered past the age of 7. I was going to be:
- A professional baseball player
- A professional videogamer
- A scientist
- A teacher
Now, I actually managed two of those, and almost managed a third. Which is cool, I guess. But none of these scream “He’s going to be a writer one day!”
So who motivates me? Well, I’ll start off at the very beginning. Mr. Rawls, a blind 8th grade teacher at Sierra Vista Middle School. He was the one who continued to say “You are so good at lying about your homework you should write a book” despite my repeated assurances that my homework had been turned in. I figured out later that he would notch a corner of every paper as it was turned in so that he could tell who had turned it in on time and who had completed it during class.
It was a little nudge, nothing major at the time. More like the planting of a small acorn nut by a squirrel who had forgotten where he buried it. Incidental, and almost forgotten, until…
Max. My foster dad bought me every book I ever asked for. He had no issues with me buying and reading books. Didn’t matter. I was a huge fantasy junkie at the time so if I saw a Dragonlance-related novel I had to have it. So he bought it. To this day I would say that he helped feed the creative spark that would turn into a full-on writer (though again, at this point baseball was looking like a sure thing, so there was no writer looming on the horizon yet).
So who motivates you?
Who motivates me? Right now, my son. I need to be a better person and provider. Everything I have done has come to just that. Everyone else, everything else, have either been lessons or sources of inspiration.
Kids do have a way of doing that. Our second is three weeks old and in spite of the lack of sleep she’s a major motivation to get back writing. My son is influencing what I write. It’s getting hard to find books for little boys.
Books that can be read and enjoyed by all ages, is one of my major reasons to scribble down the ideas in that notebook of mine.
I’ve been telling stories to anyone who doesn’t flee out of hearing range for as long as I can remember. I make up stories to tell myself. Now? I have stories that still want to be told, and people who seem to like reading them enough to pay money. So why not? And even if something happens with the Day Job (Heaven forfend), writing can still go on.
I was always a voracious reader, and occasionally write things down. Nothing even close to publishable. It flat didn’t occur to me that I too could be one of those god-like creators of actual books that real people could read until I found Baen’s Bar at the tender age of 45.
At which point I need to credit several thousand people with supporting me (and everyone there) in a big mutual writing support group. The stand-outs, and instructors, are Eric Flint and Dave Freer. Jim Baen as well, but he was more hands-off “show me” type. Then Sarah Hoyt showed up . . . donned her pointy boots . . .
You can blame Rosemary Edgehill for my scribbling. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Edghill
I’ve been talking to her since the ’90s, off and on. Her Twelve Treasures trilogy is the bomb.
So I sent her my snippet about the guy who gets turned into a troll, and the robot girl friends, she wrote me back and said “You have to finish this right now!”
That is some motivation, right there. So, should the thing ever see the light of day, its Rosemary’s fault. ~:D
I love, love, love the Twelve Treasures books. I do so wish somebody would sweet-talk her into indie publishing more, because I would snap them up like candy.
Drop her a line. She doesn’t bite.
Reading. Depending on the book, it’s either “I wish I could write like this” or “I can do better than this!”
Both reactions are inspiring, in their different ways. But I feel happier working from the first one. So go forth and write awe-inspiring works, y’all.
The realization that if I didn’t finish something I would die before I could: no pressure then.
I don’t really have a motivator I can point at. It’s just that more and more of my fears keep chipping away.
Sarah, actually. I’m trying to figure out particularly how, but I can’t put it into words–it’s an infectious enthusiasm and a weird belief that she’s rooting for me, in particular, to succeed, even if we haven’t spoken directly on the topic much. I really do feel like one of her fledglings just by being here.
And Larry. Not because of anything he’s said, really, or any connection. But… there’s this pernicious piece of writing advice–don’t do it if you can do anything else, it’s not worth it. And I’ve kind of always been afraid to scribble on the side as a result of this received wisdom–I’m very capable of not writing, after all. (Even if I’m much happier when I do, I’m increasingly learning.)
But Larry wrote as a side gig, and did it well, alongside a very successful accounting career. He only stopped when he realized he was losing money by accounting.
So, you know, screw that self-martyring advice.
Also Swain. Because now I’m not bored by what I write anymore.
(Should I have put family, children? Maybe, but it would have been dishonest. I’ve only recently been able to convince myself thaty husband doesn’t view art as am irksome waste of time (all me, he was staggered to hear it because that’s part of what he likes about it), the one-year-old mostly wants to steal my pen, and my mother… ugh, used the identity of delicate artist as why I should stay a cloistered dependant forever. Ptui!)
(So it wouldn’t be accurate.)
I wrote this before, deleted it so as not to freak out the kiddies, decided I am meant to serve as an object lesson to them:
“Right now? Dread. That something worse will happen to me before I finish the very long trilogy I’m working on.
It makes me sit here every day for hours, hoping today will be the day the brain comes back.”
You can’t count on yourself always being available to do what you want. Is there something you want to have written when that day comes? Recent health problems have made this very, very clear.
Right now I’m VERY motivated – and have no brain.
There’s nothing like your mother return all your books to the library and get out no more, during summer vacation, just because we were going on a trip a week later to push you into serious written word deprivation and so writing.