Following on from my last post, this question of what motivates writers and if any one reason is better than another…
I’ve been reading The Leading Edge by Holly Ransom. In her chapter titled Anchor to Purpose, Holly says, ‘The passion we derive from pursuing our purpose provides us the resolve and resilience to achieve major goals and impact…But in my experience, few people take the time to define their true motivation.’
A little bit further in the chapter she asks, ‘What is the change you want to see before you die? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What keeps you going when you’ve been shot down?’
She cautions readers to take time in answering these questions (A-ha! See, I knew it was important!) so I’ve been thinking a lot about it.
I thought I’d answered this question for myself but Ransom’s book got me wondering if what I believed was my true motivation really is.
I’ve told myself for some time now my main purpose is to move readers with my writing the same way I once moved listeners with my music.
But if I’m being totally honest, I have to admit there’s another side. Deep down there’s also the part of me that wants to take out awards, get rave reviews and be #1 on bestseller lists.
So which is it? If the second is my true motivation…well, it seems so egotistical. Will that selfishness come out in my writing? Should I admit my driving need is to prove myself? Or should I deny my ‘true nature’ and attempt to change my motivation to something a little more altruistic?
When I was ten I remember hearing the Tchaikovski Violin concerto for the first time and having a fire ignite inside me. I vowed I would play that music one day! I wanted those sounds to come out of me. I never asked myself why I wanted it, I just knew I did.
That desire kept me going through all the years and multiple set-backs until I was skilled enough to play the piece.
Winning competitions and auditions along the way helped as well. It gave me a sense I was moving closer to my goal and that others could hear my skills were improving.
Maybe it’s the same with writing. Maybe rave reviews, #1 ratings, and contest wins aren’t my primary motivation but simply proof I’m getting closer to my goal of moving others with my work.
Okay, yeah, I can live with that.
One thing I learned from my years of performing… If I focus on myself, I’m domed. But if I focus on the music I love, on what I want to give to the listener – in other words my true purpose – not only does it keep me going, but all my stage fright (page fright!) goes away.