Talent is nice, language skills are important, good ideas are valuable, but, for a writer, I think motivation is indispensable.
I'd enjoyed writing since beginning school, with accompanying good grades. I had edited a college newspaper, and so on, but I didn't get going, motivation-wise until coming to Spring Hollow in the Arkansas Ozarks kicked me into writing. Simply put, I wanted to share what I was experiencing with everyone.
That's what did it for me. Each writer may have a somewhat similar story--something that said "I need to share this, and it's time to write."
Of course motivation is not a one-time thing. It has to have enough steam to keep you going through the problems, hours and hours at the computer, and times of discouragement and rejection most writers face.
Okay, so I'm motivated. What next?
When I began writing about Spring Hollow in the Arkansas Ozarks for magazines and newspapers and, eventually, in the non-fiction book "DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow," I already realized that this beautiful area was doomed. We were located in a county that, largely because it holds Walmart's headquarters, was rapidly becoming urban/suburban. Progress has too often been defined as this kind of growth, though perhaps that's beginning to change just a bit. As we lose wild places, we begin to value them more.
So, my motivation became a test for me. Could I construct my part of the Arkansas Ozarks in words? Could I share and preserve it that way?
After taking up this challenge, I learned something. In many cases, writing what our senses and perceptions tell us about a place (and I do this in my fiction writing too) can be better than virtual reality. We convey more than sight and sound. We strive to open doors for the reader, to bring individual experiences and perceptions to their attention.
I asked myself, "Can I be so accurate and honest that what a reader brings to what I have written enhances the experience for them? What can I bring alive for them?
Well, the reader has to answer that of course, and what happens for him or her will depend, at least partly, on the life experiences they bring to the reading. But, if I am any example, albeit a prejudiced one, I do bring special places and experiences in the Arkansas Ozarks alive on paper and screen. How do I know this? Because I can re-read my own books to bring any area, past or present, alive. If my motivation was to accomplish this--well, for at least one person, it succeeded.
If you are a writer, what motivates you?