What Motivates Us to Write?
Good morning! It’s a beautiful sunny winter morning here in the great state of Utah…and I want to talk to you a bit about what motivates us to write…and what we should aim to create as an author.
Before you can get to a functional manuscript you have to have a bit more than just the yearning to tell your story and a few ideas.
You also have to have a bit more than a few vendettas to get even by outing someone and a bunch of wounds you want to bleed out over the pages. Yeah, trust me that grief and anger inspires more authors than you realize. I’ve been doing this awhile and trust me—I’ve been there and I’ve seen it more than enough. What I’ve also seen enough of is an author summarizing a bunch of quotes from their favorite leaders and honestly, this positions an author as a follower no matter what the subject!
Vendettas, wounds, and playing follow the leader aside…these do give us energy and sometimes the permission we need to get our words out, but your wounds and get-even strategies may not be enough reason to write a book…unless you decide that you are creating a movement around such things. Unless you decide to be a leader verses a follower.
You’ve probably heard that leaders never follow. Well…sometimes in the book publishing industry the new author does follow. I know I did it with my first two books. I just felt safe there. Many people feel safe there. And if this is where you have to start then by all means start there! My first book just had to come out of me onto the pages and the second filled in where there were gaps from the first, but once I got those books out of the way I felt like something grand had been released and I gave myself permission to create without having to expose all of my wounds.
I’ve spend many years in the healing schools and working on some deep mind-benders of self and I think for many writers we need to take our deepest and most raw life experiences to the pages. It’s a transformational healing process. I know it was incredibly helpful for me when my first book was neatly compiled and wrapped between two boards and in my little hands. But, what I didn’t realize was that once it was produced I had just outted myself and all my wounds and then people wanted to ask me what my book was about. I had to re-live all of those things I thought I had escaped when I bled on the pages. I had no idea each time someone knew I was an author I would be asked to expose myself. Oh my! But, after so many years I have worked through all of those things and the irony is that people who are new to me and my world go to those issues and assume I’m living them today. I always think…gosh, I lived those so many years ago and that was the old me, not the current me! Then I find myself having to explain who the new me is. How have I changed. I guess it’s a bit like looking back at a high school yearbook. Nonetheless, we have to start somewhere and for me this is where I started…the wounds, the dramas, the traumas. I bled them out and then once I was exposed and raw then I wondered what I had done and then where does this go from here? Who calls me to speak and go on their show and I fell into the trap of believing I might just get an opportunity to be or do something fabulous now that I was brave enough to out myself. But guess what, no one really does call. And do I really want to go around promoting my wounds in public? Yikes! Now I knew I had to think differently if I was to ever write again. But, I wrote again and there was a bit more bleeding that had to occur. I went from writing about my truth to stepping into it. I needed to do it but still I wasn’t writing something I wanted to promote. But, it was better aligned to be used to speak from in workshops or healing environments. I could say I had been there and I know you are to…I could relate with other wounded souls in an environment of transformation. It could be applicable, but it still could have been written differently. I’ll talk about that here in a minute.
As I cruised into my third book almost instantly upon the completion of my second I wrote with purpose and I was focused and I researched endless nights. But then all of a sudden I was writing with another purpose. My life started to fall apart around me and my book was my inspiration and my hope. Then all of a sudden my environment became threatened as my partner grew ill and my inspiration was killed, my motivation changed. As a writer we still have life circling around us and that isn’t going to stop. The words and voice began shifting, my intentions for writing changed. And then all of a sudden I became very ill. I was writing my book about natural dog health and healing because for years I had notes all over the house. I wanted to compile those mostly for me and since I was now an experienced author it just felt natural they went into a book. But the irony was that I grew more and more ill as I wrote. I now was in so much physical pain and emotional loss and the sicker I grew the more desperate I felt. I began thinking maybe I’m dying and this book is to be left behind for whomever would be taking care of my 3 beloved dogs. I was inspired to complete it. I wrote out of love. I wrote in hopes of leaving behind detailed care instructions. My pain grew to a point of misery and my words flowed as fast as I could get them out. I was sure I was writing to my death.
Now, of course, it’s been a few years since my book was written and I have not died. My book was published and then I went on to immediately write the next one…the Lets Get Your Book Published book. This one would be the greatest accomplishment in terms of growth as an author. I learned what not to do and how to use my book to align in the aftermath of it’s creation.
You’ve probably heard me talk about writing with purpose. Well, this book was very clearly written with a purpose. The only questions a reader may have is: but, Will it really teach me? or “Is it good?” But, most readers would see it and know what it is about and see that it’s a pretty reasonable size…not cumbersome to read. That was also intentional. You don’t want to propose you can do something for someone and then present them with a giant book…that says “WOW! Warning! Huge commitment ahead!” And, you don’t want to give away all the secret sauce in the book or no one would call you to learn more.
What is even more important than what motivates us to write (the why) is what we are preparing ourselves for upon it’s completion. Let me just ask you…if Oprah did see your book and called…what do you have prepared? This is where one might begin to further define their platform. Some folks use their book to define that and other add the book to an existing platform. The Lets Get Your Book Published program is designed to align you with the development of the platform from the beginning. Having a book and a reason for writing it is one thing, but preparing yourself for the doors it opens is another. We will talk about the platform and how to leverage the content in later episode. Keep listening and we’ll get there!
For now…good luck on your book project!
(Repurposed content from our season 2, podcast 2 podcast)
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