How many of you can relate to the sentiment in this graphic? Do you wake up every morning excited about writing? Is writing a natural part of your life?
If so, what inspires you to embrace this obsession? The purpose of this post is to attempt to determine the things that drive us to write and to not give up. Many of us our independent authors (I prefer this term over self-published). We outsource our publishing to platforms like Amazon, CreateSpace and others. We use cover designers and editors just as a traditional publisher would or perform these services on our own.
Why do we do this without a guarantee that anyone will read our work? Here are some of my reasons.
Writing has been a lifelong goal – Since my childhood I have been enthralled with books. I read everything I could get my hands on and wrote stories from the time I first learned what reading was. By 2nd grade, thanks to some wonderful teaching and a lack of other children in my neighborhood, I was reading at a 12th grade level. I couldn’t imagine not having reading as part of my daily activity.
The importance of writing – I realized in school and then, in my professional life, that writing well would be an asset in my ability to advance. My writing ability has earned me distinction in my profession. I was often recognized as the person that should be involved in editing corporate documents and proofreading anything published within the companies for which I worked. I was not an English major, but writing always came naturally to me. I remember the first paper that I turned in for a college course. The professor was handing back the graded papers and asked which student was ‘Don Massenzio’. I reluctantly raised my hand and he informed the class that he was giving each of them a copy of my paper. He let them know that my paper should be looked at as the standard for what he would require from them. While I was pleased that my paper received recognition, it proved to be a double-edged sword as many students requested my help with their papers and others resented the recognition I received.
The voices in my head – My whole life, I have been asking myself ‘what if’ questions. I would see a situation and think, “What if X happened? This would make a great book or movie.” I’ve always thought this way, but never did anything about it. I have a dog-eared notebook that I’ve been scribbling in for 20 years with ideas for stories. Finally being able to document these and publish the stories has been a wonderful release for me. My only issue is that I can’t write fast enough to turn every idea into something.
Convenient publishing opportunities – As an indie author, there are so many do-it-yourself options or ways to outsource things that need to be done. While mustering the courage to publish my first book, Frankly Speaking, I pursued the traditional publishing route. I also sought critiques from writing groups and did all of the things authors are supposed to do. I then let one of my toughest critics, my wife, read the first draft and she told me it was definitely worth publishing. The Amazon platform gave me a vehicle to cut out the middle man and take the work directly to the readers. Thus far, the results have been favorable. I often wonder what I would do if a traditional publishing opportunity came a long and, honestly, I would likely pursue it just to give my writing another outlet to reach more readers.
Inspiration for my children – About a year ago, my then eight-year-old daughter told me that she wanted to write a book like her dad. I couldn’t have been more pleased. I helped her turn her story idea into a children’s book and her eyes light up when people buy her book and ask her to sign it. She is now inspired to write more books just for the thrill of holding something she created in her hands. This makes it all worth it for me.
So, how about you? What drives you to sit at your computer every day and write without knowing if your work will ever be read? What compels you to commit large chunks of your time to this endeavor? I’m very interested in your thoughts on this.
I’ll close with a chart taken from this article from a poll taken from the Author’s Promoter web site on what motivates the writers that frequent this site to write.