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What’s Your Motive for Writing?

Why is it important to know what’s your motive for writing?

There are at least 3 reasons:

1 – Direction of Writing Career.

Your motive for writing provides you with the direction, like a weathervane, of your writing career.

2 – Inspiration for your books.

This is where your motive can and often does influence or inspire your writing. Initially it would be the genre, such as historical fiction, but eventually it can inspire who and what you are writing about to a much greater degree.

3 – Duration of your career.

Here, motive plays a major role in helping you survive or be sustained when your writing career runs into buffeting winds of adversity or road bumps that threaten to derail you.

We will explore these and more on the other side of the break.

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Now back to the article.

Let’s break these motives down further.

Direction of Your Writing Career

This overlaps to some degree the Inspiration for your books. However, whatever your motive is, it will play a major role in choices you make early on. For example, your motive could be a desire to make a lot of money.

If I was rating motives, money would come in as the least effective, and virtually the weakest. It is not bad to want to make money; all of us do. But I contend that if making money is your only motive, you will have a hard time.

Why, you might ask.

Because money is not durable. You might fall out of favor with your leaders, or you might lose readership. Whatever the cause, you do suddenly twice as much work for less than you were paid to do.

On the other hand, desiring to make money can lead to writing for magazines, copy writing, and other financially beneficial jobs. These are all good results. In fact, you can earn a lot of money writing stories for magazines.

So, if your motive is to make a lot of money, go for it. But remember that if and when you hit a wall or the money ceases for a time, the motive of making money is on shaky ground. You will need another motive to sustain you.

Inspiration for Your Writing

Inspiration is the lifeblood of writing. Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction you need inspiration. I write in multiple genres, and I have multiple motives. One is making money, but another is to write stories that entertain and point people to Christ.

For example, I have one series, The World That Was that includes novels about creation, our forefathers such as Adam, Enoch, Abraham, and others. This series is based on factual people, places, and events, but like any historical novel, it fills the gaps with enough fictional narrative to bring the facts alive. In this way, readers are transported back (or forward) to the events the book is based upon.

Inspiration can also lead you to write stories about children, thus children’s fiction. My books, for example, tend to explore adult themes. My goal is to write stories that demonstrate the depravity of man and the grace of God. This sometimes requires me being on a balancing beam between being too explicit and being too bland. That is one reason I like people to review my books because it gives me an inkling of how I am doing and if I need to edit or not.

In short, inspiration covers almost every aspect of writing. It is also helpful in helping me when roadblocks, etc. get in my way. Before I got saved when I asked Jesus into my heart, I would attempt to write a book. Sometimes I would get about five chapters in and suddenly hit a roadblock. And I couldn’t get around it.

But after I got saved this changed; albeit 30 years later. I got inspiration direct from God while reading about Noah and the Ark in Genesis chapter 6. I saw that while God told us enough to display the depravity of man and the grace of God, it was still mostly skeleton. I realized that as a writer I could clothe the skeleton in fiction and bring the characters and events alive!

In addition, the Holy Spirit gave me Psalm 71:18: ‘Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shown thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”

He not only gave me a major boost in my writing, but He also gave me a motive: to show His strength unto this generation!

That is my number one motive for writing and it sustains me no matter what.

Duration of your career

At the beginning of this blog I said, motive plays a major role in helping you survive or be sustained when your writing career runs into buffeting winds of adversity or road bumps that threaten to derail you.

In previous blogs I have discussed a variety of motives, such as:

  • Money
  • Fame
  • Call of God

These are all excellent motives, but as a Christian the best is Call of God. At our physical birth we receive talents. It could be one or multiple talents. I believe I received the talent called imagination, which is crucial to fictional and, for that matter, nonfictional writing.

I don’t regard my writing skill as a talent. Rather, it is a result of hard work and study! But when I got saved, He gave me another gift which is the ability to tell a story that glorifies God.

Even so, it took another 30 years for the talent (my imagination) and the storytelling ability to unite. And that happened because God showed it to me as I described earlier. But all of that would not have taken place without my first getting saved and then allowing God to chip away the dead skin of sin in my life. He keeps purifying me and providing me insights into how we humans think and, more importantly, how He thinks.

I am not saying that you must have the same experiences I had. But if you are a Christian and you want to serve God through your writing, then we have something in common. More importantly, in Christ you have the most important motivation there can be. Nothing is more powerful than knowing that you are doing what He wants you to do.

Motives can change over time and thus it is always wise to reexamine your motives and how you are applying them. But God’s plan for your life while it may seem to change from your perspective, it remains unchanged. Your understanding of it can change, but God is fully aware of everything that you will experience and has already incorporated it into His plan for you. That is exciting!

In conclusion, being motivated is absolutely important. You can have multiple motivations, but I believe that one will dominate. Whichever one that is, it will influence how you write and whether to overcome obstacles or not. I encourage you to reexamine your motives. It might result in adding or subtracting, or reordering, but it will certainly result in you having a more balanced approach to your writing and the wherewithal to overcome the obstacles that will come.

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Ron’s Lit Tip Motivation

Today’s Issue: Motivation

Welcome to #RonsLitTip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.

What is Motivation?

The dictionary defines it as ‘1 – The act of motivating or providing an incentive; 2 – That which motivates; incentive, drive’.

Simply put, it is doing something that encourages you to move forward toward your goal. It can be an incentive, a reward, an inspirational phrase, almost anything.

How do you get Motivated?

Getting motivated is a lot harder than merely quoting a dictionary. It requires a little self-introspection. For example, I am motivated to write this blog because I want to help other people. I write books and my motivation there is both to entertain and to share the Christian worldview and the Gospel. I am the Editor at TR Writing Services because I want to help new authors and other authors get their hard work turned into a quality book and then get published.

Three different tasks and three different motivations: Help others, entertain, and be a witness.

We are each different from one another. And that applies to motivation. Some people are motivated to write by the promise of money, fame, and influence. It can be just one or, as in my case, multiple goals. You need to find what motivates you. To do that you need to ask yourself hard questions and answer honestly.

These questions can be as simple as: What do I want to achieve with this book? Sales, popularity, influence, or something else. Write it down. Then break it down.

For instance, one of my choices would be influence. I could break that down to Help others and to acquaint them with Christ. Or I might choose to entertain and break that down to providing a good read, igniting their imagination, or providing escape from everyday life.

How to Keep Motivated?

Once you’ve identified what motivates you, I believe the rest is easy. Keep doing the things that got you motivated in the first place. But, while that is true, there is a dark side.

Getting Motivated Again

The fact is that experienced writers do get off track. I’m tempted to say go back to How do you get Motivated and start over. And that might work. The problem is that sometimes when we get off track, we also lose the desire to get motivated. Sometimes we need a kick in the pants by our friends or relatives. Only when you regain the desire to be motivated will the Get Motivated work.

You need someone who is willing to do that. It can be your mate, a friend, or a fellow author. By the way, this works in your Christian walk also.

Lit Tip: Motivation is important. Keep working on it.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.