Guest Post By Jason McIntire
In an early chapter of my current work-in-progress, a visual arts instructor starts off his class by having the students write down a one-sentence summary of their own personal motivation. I believe that any endeavor should start this way - not necessarily with pen and paper, but at least in our own minds. When we start a project, we should know why. Otherwise, we'll quickly get lost in the middle, and in the end have no idea whether we accomplished our goal.
So, what is my motivation for writing? In part, it's simply the pleasure of doing it. Writing is frequently fun, particularly when I'm on a roll and the story seems to tell itself. But other times it's like walking uphill through sand while carrying a can of garbage in each hand. These un-fun times aren't frequent (thankfully) but they are discouraging enough that I would almost certainly quit if pleasure alone were my goal.
The pleasure of others is also a motivator. It gives me considerable enjoyment when reviewers describe The Sparrow Found A House with words like "interesting," "climactic," and "exciting." But then again, there are literally millions of interesting, climactic, exciting stories people could be reading - most of which are more so than my own work. Entertainment for its own sake is ultimately of limited value anyway.
For some (few) writers, there is of course the profit motive. Personally I could not make a living selling novels if I tried, for the simple reason that I don't write the kind of fiction the mass market wants to read. In any case, we have chosen to give away complete digital versions of all our books for free, pretty much killing anything of a profit motive that might have remained.
And this brings us to my greatest motivation, the one thing above all else that keeps me sitting down to write even when it's hard. That motivation is eternal impact. The real satisfaction for me comes when I hear feedback like this from a reader:
"This book is not just entertaining, but an exhortation to all Christians. I will admit, this book was the first fictional one that caused me to seriously contemplate the way I live my life for Christ."
That's why I write. That's also why I'm thankful that the Lord has allowed us the freedom to give away our work, something not every author has the luxury of doing.
Writing is usually enjoyable for me, and it's always fun to hear that someone else liked my work. But it's only when someone's life is touched eternally that it all becomes truly worthwhile.
Thanks once again to Sarah Holman for having me on the blog, and for hosting this giveaway of my book. Remember, you can also download "The Sparrow Found A House" for free when you visit elishapress.com.
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Monday, May 19, 2014
Why We Write
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