Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What's Your Writing Motivation? Deep Question Recap

I was having a discussion with a friend recently and we were talking about the journey toward publication.

Publication comes in many forms, you know – but the most common is the long road (not the short cut).

My kids and I have been watching BBC’s Merlin series (we’re BIG BBC fans around here). Whether you like magic and King Arthur lore or not, there’s a lesson to be learned in this series (as in most stories):

Weak motivation leads to an incomplete (and two-dimensional) journey.

In the Merlin series, Merlin is a young man who is destined to protect Prince Author so that he can become the ‘one true king’ of Camelot. What are Merlin's obstacles?

1. The present King kills anyone who has magic, so Merlin has to keep his magic a secret

2. Arthur’s half-sister Morgana wants Arthur dead (but only Merlin knows this and has to keep it a secret.

3. Many other people want Arthur dead (and a few want Merlin dead)

4. Merlin is mistreated because he’s a servant in the king’s house.

Now, it would be understandable if Merlin just gave up. If he said, “Nope, I’m not doing this, Prince Arthur. You make me muck out your horse’s stables, clean your filthy boots, and use me for target practice. Besides the fact that I’m almost killed 3 times a day, am separated from my mother, and I’ve had to save your life more times than I can count without you knowing that I’m the one who saved you, you're not very nice to me. I'm just fed up with it. It's too much.”

But Merlin won’t do that.


Merlin knows his goal - his motivation:
Prepare and protect Arthur for that day.

What am I trying to say in all this?

Publication is third to Calling & Story.

He has a deeper motivation pushing him beyond his frustrations. A more just and glorious Camelot for all. A place of peace - where people are respected and the kindgom shines like a beacon to other kindgoms because of the future King Aruthur.
If your only goal is publication, without the backbone of something greater binding you to your journey, then when the conflict, harsh critiques, massive edits, and daunting deadlines confront you like an army for battle, it will be easy to lose your way, crumble under the weight, or give up.

There has to be something deeper to your writing. Something stronger that holds you to your task.

These two things are:

The Calling – Loving to write is one of the strongest and most enduring weapons in a writer’s perseverance arsenal. Just finding joy in the process of creating and growing through writing. If it is deepset within you – no amount of struggles will dissuade the love. You might have to take a break for a while due to various circumstances, but the thread of creativity lingers. Calls. Waits in the wings of your quiet moments and whispers another story to you.

The Story – As Christians, our hope should be to write a meaningful story. It can be lighthearted, serious, suspenseful, fantastical, or whatever else, but one of our goals should be to make it ‘sing’. That’s why writing is such a tough job…rewarding, amazing, but TOUGH. To write a memorable story, it takes work – but if God has ‘called’ us to write, He will also equip us with the ability (or at least the resources) to build a story worth telling. He creates the stories first and then passes them on to us.

So – what is your motivation for writing?
Is it just to achieve publication or is there are deeper call within your heart?

Have you ever had to take a break from writing because ‘life happened’? How do you deal with those moments and still get back on the writing journey?


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Pepper! Hmmm, what is my motivation for writing? I love it. When I write, I can express emotions, thoughts in a way that gets lost when I try to speak them. This is why I've journaled for years. It's an outlet.

As for writing for other reasons? Well, I hope one day my stories will be an encouragement to others. That they will draw others closer to Jesus and to those who people their world.

Thanks for making me think about this. :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, Pepper, great post! Yes, that Life happened break is occuring for me right now. Part of why I'm trying to stay very active with blogging and reviewing to keep myself writing at least a bit, even if it isn't novels.

Marilynn Byerly said...

I've watched MERLIN from the beginning to the end, and, the show is a bromance about the two men's relationship and how each makes the other grow as a person. Not always a good show, some of the rewriting of the original tales is annoying, but an interesting one.

As someone who has written for many years, I've found that, sometimes, it's best to let real life take over at times. When all is said and done, it's real life, not fiction that matters most.