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:~: Monday, December 10, 2007 :~:

Drive vs. Want

My RWA vice president and I are in the process of filling our '08 calendar with speakers for our local meetings. I'm of the mindset that a good speaker isn't simply one who fills a slot and takes up time but who has something worthwhile to present to our membership. This could be a writer, though often times it's not. In my experience, most writers don't make the best speakers - unless of course they were teachers at one time, or in a profession where they were often in front of crowds giving public speeches or lectures.

One of our themes for the coming year is remotivation. We have a lot of writers who are, what I think of as, hobbyists. They come to the meetings, they're good writers, they have great ideas, but something's holding them back, be it fear or doubt or worry that they might not be good at something they really love. They've heard writing speakers go on and on about craft, they know the mechanics of writing a good book, most can even take an idea and plot out an entire story that makes perfect sense. Yet they're not doing it. They write three or four chapters and then slack off, or life interferes and writing gets pushed to the wayside. They talk about what they really want and they attend workshops and conferences in the hope it will inspire them, yet it doesn't.

It seems to me there's a huge gap between this concept of want - what we say or think we want as writers - and that internal drive that pushes us to go after our goals. Why is it some people have the ability to push past everything in their way and focus on the end product until they're done? Is it possible to inspire someone to have that drive, or does it have to come from within?

We're in the process of trying to schedule a life coach to come in and talk to the group about setting realistic goals and sticking to them, but I thought I'd toss it out to our RWKF readers and see what you come up with. What keeps you motivated to write (or to do whatever else it is that is your passion)? What inspires you? And most importantly, what is it that drives you, and was there ever a time when you were willing to give up on your dreams? What pushed you forward?


Blogger Nancy said...

Elizabeth, after being in RWA for 23 years, I sold in Feb. 2007. It's a 2-book deal to Berkley. Oh, yes, there were times I did quit writing. When we had special issues happening with our children. When hubby lost his job and I went back to work. When my Internal Editor shut me down cold. I kept coming back to writing because I couldn't not write. And then I realized that it DID matter if I never published. I did have the drive and ambition - not to step on others, but to write what I wanted, what I was passionate about, and to keep working.

So, yes, I very much related to this blog.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Roberta Isleib said...

Hi ladies, Roberta Isleib here, clinical psychologist and author of seven mystery novels. I love to speak on this topic so please feel free to contact me if you'd like to talk about it.

Roberta Isleib (currently president of Sisters in Crime)

4:56 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

"Is it possible to inspire someone to have that drive, or does it have to come from within?"

Drive is the thing you cannot fake, or pass on to someone else. The writer has to want it so bad that they won't settle for a no, or a crappy first draft, or hoping that their writing will get better.

1:41 PM  

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