I feel like I’m talking a lot about motivation as it pertains to writing. The major reason for that is writing doesn’t happen without it. With as many people out there as there are, most of whom carrying around some vague, unrealized notion of writing a book someday, how many do you think actually will? Only the ones with sufficient motivation to get their hineys in the chairs.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about motivation–particularly, my motivation when it comes to authoring my book. It’s not easy to justify spending so much time away from family and friends and other worthy pursuits like learning and reading and exercise in order to scribble, which seems such a selfish, unproductive thing to do with your time. But it’s not easy to write either. You don’t just sit down and write War and Peace–or even The Cat in the Hat–without a truly mind-blowing amount of energy and effort, devising and editing and building and organizing and crafting. It’s not sitting by the stream, languidly jotting your musings and ruminations. If you’ve ever actually done it, you know it’s just not.
And besides, it’s likely that drivel you wrote by the stream wouldn’t be readable anyway. It is my strong suspicion that unless writers slog it out in an uncomfortable, dingy hole, sweating, fingers cramping, fighting against the urge to quit with every word, birthing each thought through hard labor without the aid of laudanum, morphine, absinthe or Nyquil, it’s not going to be any good whatsoever. The world is simply not prepared to give you such an easy time of it. Of course, you want to take that at face value and not become masochistic about it. I’m not suggesting you go live in New York or anything.
But I’m convinced it is, in fact, struggle that keeps writers writing. If it was too easy, most would find something else to do–like play with the kids and go on long vacations to deserted islands. Maybe writers, like politicians, defense attorneys, and professional athletes, simply possess a weaker survival mechanism than most, which allows them to court their own expiration with such abandon. Maybe it’s good more people aren’t so motivated.