Motivated by Passion
I’m always amazed by the number of people I meet who have a well-developed idea for a book in their heads but have already convinced themselves they aren’t ‘good’ enough to actually write it. “You’re a published author,” they say, “maybe you can write it up for me.”
Since my first book’s release in November 2015, I’ve been asked to author three memoirs, a science fiction novel, a technical manual and a daily calendar of inspirational quotations, in return for dinner at a fancy restaurant, a bottle of fine wine, and even a bag full of coupons an acquaintance was almost certain hadn’t yet expired.
To put this in perspective, during the five years I worked as a journalist, no one ever asked me to write up their memoirs for them. While in many ways it’s flattering, I’m always left confused by these very serious requests.
When I try to laugh it off, joking that I can’t write up an idea still floating around in their head, that I’m not the right person for the task at hand, they usually press on anyway. What if they gave me notes or an outline? Or perhaps I could interview them?
Inevitably I have to gently explain how much time it takes to work out the storyline, research potential characters and places, then write out the dialogue, scenes, and chapters of a one-hundred thousand word work of fiction. Not to mention the months of rewriting and revising until the novel takes form, only to send it off to editors and proofreaders to be picked apart before starting the revision process all over again.
A variation of “I had no idea how much work went into writing one book” is the end of the conversation before they walk slowly away, contemplating the unexpectedly complex and time-consuming creation process.
These conversations usually put me in a reflexive mood as well, leaving me wondering why I do this to myself. In the end, it’s the passion for the subject matter, the need to find out what my characters do next, and the desire to see the story through to its resolution. That’s what keeps me going into the late hours of the night and restrains me from throwing the manuscript away when I discover an unrealistic plot twist or my editor finds a plethora of mistakes and it seems as if it’ll never be ready for publication.
Fellow authors, what motivates you to keep writing when things get tough?
Fellow readers, do you have an idea for a book worked out in your mind that you haven’t written down yet? Why not?
* The beautiful bouquet of flowers seemed like a good way to visualize my joy at finally getting my new website up and running! I’m still playing with sidebar images and a few other things behind the scenes, but if you have any comments or suggestions for improvements, I’m all ears. Have a wonderful week!