Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

What Motivates You When You Know What You're Doing Is Likely To End With Nothing? (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

TheMightyAz

Mentor
As I've mentioned before (and yes, I'm going to mention it again), I'm practising. I joined on Jan 2021 and intend to end the practice in Feb 2022. During this time, any possible reason to give up has been easily extinguished. I wasn't so much 'moving forward' but rather 'broadening my ability', and so the only goal was to improve ... and I'm more than happy with that improvement.

Come Feb though, and I'm looking at a years work on The Sixth Chamber. Anyone with common sense knows it's highly unlikely a first novel is ever going to be published, 'unlikely' being an understatement. That's a whole years worth of effort with what is, more or less, a certain failure. Yes, writing the novel is going to be a great experience and give me confidence I can indeed finish a novel, and yes, the experience will give me a better idea of how to plot, develop characters, pace a novel and so forth, but the fact still remains, it's going to be nothing more than an extended practice period.

What pushes you forward? What keeps you writing when you know there's likely nothing at the end of it? For me, it's words, sentences, paragraphs and the musicality of those combined. On Feb though, most of that will be taking a back seat while I write a first draft. I suppose that's my biggest worry.

I'm pretty sure self publishing is going to be mentioned, but for the sake of this question, I'm talking specifically about traditional publication.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
For me, I enjoy what I write, and while I don't get a ton of readers, that could change. The readers I do get tell me they enjoy my work. Most of my new projects are a challenge, and I get satisfaction meeting those challenges.

If I had stopped writing after the first few things I published because I'm not making a ton of money self-publishing, I'd have never written the Citizen of the Galaxy sequel, and the feedback I'm getting from that makes every word I've written worth the time and effort spent, because if I hadn't written what came before, I wouldn't have reached the level to be getting this kind of response. The latest note I got from a reader said that he finished it, and then immediately read it again. I get goose bumps thinking about that. That book is a success whether I ever make a penny from it.

So whether or not we ever get wider distribution and recognition, everyone here can get to the point where they get that sort of appreciation.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
@TheMightyAz,

I concur with Vranger fully. In the short time here, I have been snooping around the forum, analysing your edits, comments and suggestions, noticing a wonderful talent. The ratio of success for a first novel is terribly low, but reading your conviction, this should not take away the abilities you possess, you are a wonderful editor.

A friend once told me 'success' can be put down to 90% luck, 10% ability. I found that a little far fetched, but if you doing your all then there is little else you can do. As Vranger said, readership, recognition, big or small won't deter what you have (in many other's eyes) that I believe is enough motivation.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I spent decades writing when I ended up with "nothing". I had zero intent to publish. I still did it. It was how I learned how to write so that when I did start publishing, I was better prepared, but that was never my mindset. I love to write. That's the only thing I need to motivate me to write.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
[...]

What pushes you forward? What keeps you writing when you know there's likely nothing at the end of it? For me, it's words, sentences, paragraphs and the musicality of those combined. On Feb though, most of that will be taking a back seat while I write a first draft. I suppose that's my biggest worry.

I'm pretty sure self publishing is going to be mentioned, but for the sake of this question, I'm talking specifically about traditional publication.

The story. No, more than that, because stories are often two dimensional; it's that third dimension which is the meaning behind the story that drives me forward,
The characters too. Feeling their emotions and understanding their drives - that makes the tale immersive.
The best books give us a unique and different perspective on life and the world around us.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
As I've mentioned before (and yes, I'm going to mention it again), I'm practising. I joined on Jan 2021 and intend to end the practice in Feb 2022. During this time, any possible reason to give up has been easily extinguished. I wasn't so much 'moving forward' but rather 'broadening my ability', and so the only goal was to improve ... and I'm more than happy with that improvement.

Come Feb though, and I'm looking at a years work on The Sixth Chamber. Anyone with common sense knows it's highly unlikely a first novel is ever going to be published, 'unlikely' being an understatement. That's a whole years worth of effort with what is, more or less, a certain failure. Yes, writing the novel is going to be a great experience and give me confidence I can indeed finish a novel, and yes, the experience will give me a better idea of how to plot, develop characters, pace a novel and so forth, but the fact still remains, it's going to be nothing more than an extended practice period.

What pushes you forward? What keeps you writing when you know there's likely nothing at the end of it? For me, it's words, sentences, paragraphs and the musicality of those combined. On Feb though, most of that will be taking a back seat while I write a first draft. I suppose that's my biggest worry.

I'm pretty sure self publishing is going to be mentioned, but for the sake of this question, I'm talking specifically about traditional publication.
A combination of sheer bloody mindedness, a sense of humour that works sideways and a joy in creating.
Good luck
BC
 

Sinister

Senior Member
I never have written in order to accomplish anything. I think that's why I have such fun and an easy time writing, when I feel like it. There's no pressure since I know I'm not going to use it for anything. When I write, it's more of a byproduct of me being the way I am. Writing isn't a profession for me yet. I don't know if it ever will be. I always wanted it to be. So I think the very thing that makes it easy for me to write so continuously, is what keeps me from being anything close to a published author. I imagine one day, when I've had a bit too much to drink, I might send something out to be published. I'll get rejected and that will be the end of my short career as an author.

-Sin
 

Private Universe

Senior Member
I identify with all the posts above. I would also single out the motivation of having something completed, even if no one reads it. Just that aesthetic satisfaction of having tied something up and made it as whole and complete as I can.

This resonated with me too - an anecdote by a Dutch filmmaker:

George Sluizer
Sluizer spent more than a year in physical therapy, relearning how to sit and then stand and walk. During that grueling period of recovery, he finally reached a decision: He needed to complete Dark Blood. ”I had the feeling that I had to finish the creative work which hundreds of people had done together,” he says, ”so that it would be there for anyone who wanted to see it.” Sluizer was still in very poor health, and his doctors told him he might not have long to live. ”I said, I want to finish the film before whatever happens. At least I will finish my job as best as I could.”
[...]
Sometimes it's not about rules. Or insurance companies, banks, or money. The best grant I ever got was from a novelist whose short story I wanted to film. Not Dark Blood, another film. I spotted the writer in the street just after I read his story and I walked up to him and said: "Sorry, you don't know me but I am a Dutch movie director, I just read your story and I would love to film it." And he embraced me. That hug was the best gift, the best motivation I've ever got. Not a... a Government grant or official subsidy. Fuck the money! (Audience laughs)
 

Turnbull

Senior Member
Writing is just fun. Even if it's just for self-fulfillment reasons. Confessions: I once wrote a five part Mega Man fanfiction, because I was upset with how depressing the story got over the franchise's lifetime. It was pretty cathartic, gotta say.
 

noisebloom

Senior Member
I relate to a lot of what has already been said (vague, I know). I've been writing since I first understood was writing was - over three decades. Writing has always been a compulsion more than a cognizant choice for me, but the cognizant choice ended up being my desire to seek traditional publication (just recently).

Now that there's this external element of potential publication/distribution in the mix, there's all this worry: "Will I succeed? Have I wasted my entire life doing nothing? What kind of crazy person would want to read the thoughts of a weirdo like me?" Additionally, there are the dauntingly low probabilities of achieving traditional publication.

My motivation is that I won't ever quit; I can't quit. Writing makes more sense to me than pretty much anything else. In person, I talk like an idiot, I'm clumsy, and I generally feel awkward, but when I write, I feel comfortable.

I can't ever imagine a life without this comforting medium I gravitate towards, so I believe that greatly improves my motivation.

I will also say that I strongly believe there are things you can do to swing the odds in your favor. Considering feedback from beta readers and agents, editorial consultation, query letter review, and enough honest self-assessment/introspection will undoubtedly improve your odds.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Easy. I write for me.

I don't really expect other people to come along for the ride, though I'm surprised and flattered when they do. Truth is, I don't have any kind of realistic picture about my chances. I have no expectation of critical or financial success.

I knew early on that my characters were shallow. I scrapped those and tried again and failed. Maybe once I convince myself I can write one good solid character I'll do something radical and attempt a story with two.

Shooting for the stars, we are.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I ask myself this question all the time! Maybe its because I got something to say-but I want to do it through storytelling. The hard part is putting what you want to say/ express into a story that is cohesive with structure. I suppose I do it for self-expression and one day I want someone to be able to read a completed work and go "oh I get it, I see what you did there" even if it's not publishable or the greatest thing ever lol
 

Lawless

Senior Member
What pushes you forward? What keeps you writing when you know there's likely nothing at the end of it? [---] talking specifically about traditional publication.

I've pretty much given up on my dream of becoming a world-famous millionaire novelist. Clearly I don't have mass taste. Apart from which, I know big money is not in the novels. Nevertheless:

1. I want to create the novels I have conceived because I want them to exist – even if they're not going to be bestsellers.

2. I get tremendous enjoyment out of re-reading my own past works (fiction as well as articles). It makes the time and effort spent on creating them totally worth it.

Come to think of it, the world is growing more tolerant with each passing decade. Authors are getting away with saying things in their books that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. So I still have a chance. ;-)
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've pretty much given up on my dream of becoming a world-famous millionaire novelist. Clearly I don't have mass taste. Apart from which, I know big money is not in the novels. Nevertheless:

1. I want to create the novels I have conceived because I want them to exist – even if they're not going to be bestsellers.

2. I get tremendous enjoyment out of re-reading my own past works (fiction as well as articles). It makes the time and effort spent on creating them totally worth it.

Come to think of it, the world is growing more tolerant with each passing decade. Authors are getting away with saying things in their books that would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. So I still have a chance. ;-)
LOL what do you like to write if you don't mind my asking?
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
I just put it in a folder and occasionally look through it to see if I have any further thoughts; one thing I don't do is fret about it.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top