I picked up a book called The Writer's Guide to Persistence a couple weeks ago (mostly because I have problems sticking with a project until it's done and I was curious). One of the first exercises in this book is to take a look at why you're writing in the first place. What first got you into writing, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, genre or literary? What gets you excited about putting words on the page? What is your driving reason to create?
Is it to entertain yourself and your readers? Is it because you need an outlet for all those voices in your head? Is it because you want fame and fortune? (If it's the last one, I highly suggest a different career; not to be pessimistic, but the odds of getting famous and filthy rich from writing are very slim.)
I thought it was an interesting exercise, to go back and look at the root of what got me into this craziness in the first place. The reasons I came up with were: to entertain, to get the voices out of my head (because my characters are persistent), to explore the human condition, and to help increase diversity in literature (even if only a handful of people ever read my work). Since I came up with this list, I've been trying to go back to it when I'm feeling stuck. How can I utilize my desire to entertain to get over the stuck I'm feeling on this project? How fix this story I hate to help explore what it means to be alive?
I can't say it's been 100% successful yet, but I do think it's a something we should all think about. What about you? What keeps your creative clock ticking?
Emily is having a hard time coming up with something witty for her bio today. She'd much rather be out in the sunshine with her camera.