Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What's Your Why? On Writing and Motivation

A review of Stephen King's Just After Sunset appeared in The New York Times. The reviewer made an observation that stayed with me.

In any case, he is a tireless storyteller. One tale in this collection was written during a few hours’ lag time in a hotel room in Australia, just because he had time to kill. Mr. King’s introduction explains that his new surge of short-story writing was prompted by the job of editing the 2006 volume in the Best American Short Stories series. He wondered whether he still had the knack of miniaturization and decided to find out. And simple, everyday situations became his open portals to fantasy and horror. Even a stationary exercise bicycle yields a richly scarifying tale.

Photo Credit: N. M. Scuri
Artists in general, writers in particular, spend a great deal of time discussing what inspires and motivates them. The destitute poet in the garret, writing by the light of a candle stump may be romantic, but ask any ten writers you know, and they will tell you, rich is better. Boswell was kind enough to pass along the message from Samuel Johnson that "no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money," but what's going to make you push pen across paper when the mattress is stuffed with hundreds?

Although the odds are not with them, some people start writing with the idea that they can make a living at it. Others write because it makes them happy at one level or another and eventually decide to send something out to see what happens. Eventually, the both the Stephen Kings and the John Q. Publics of the world must come to the same conclusion if they wish to continue writing. Money cannot be the prime motivator of creation. Even if it does not make us happy in the moment, the only way we will invest the time, energy and resources needed to create anything of quality is if we feel in our guts that this is not what we want, but need to do, even if it is just to prove to ourselves that we still have the knack.

Want the latest news on +TwoSentence Horrors+N. M. Scuri, and +byron rempel? Sign up for your weekly newsletter here or subscribe to N. M. Scuri's weekly newsletter for all things writing and editing, including upcoming live workshops and editing consultations here.
N. M. Scuri

No comments:

Post a Comment