Talent is nice. Language skills are nice. But, for a writer, I think it’s MOTIVATION that’s indispensable.
I’d enjoyed writing since beginning school, had been editor of a college newspaper, and donated articles here and there, but I didn’t get going, motivation-wise, until coming to Spring Hollow in the Arkansas Ozarks. That kicked me into writing for publication. I loved this place. Why couldn’t I share it with others who would never see it?
After John and I bought the land at Spring Hollow, ideas for sharing information, inspiration, and stories began bubbling inside me, then popping out on paper. (This was in pre-computer days, unless you’re talking about air-conditioned rooms full of huge beige boxes humming in the basement of the office building where I worked.)
What about you who are reading this? Each writer, each creator, has a somewhat similar story, I imagine. Don’t you know of something in your life that has given you motivation and said: “It’s time to ACT?”
Motivation is not a one-time thing. It has to have enough steam to keep you going through problems, discouragement, set-backs, and outright rejection, whether you’re writing a magazine article, writing a novel, or starting up a new business featuring your own ideas.
Simply said, Spring Hollow helped me learn what Sense of Place means, and I wanted to share that. The rural Ozarks area is beautiful of course. Sometimes I find it so beautiful I can’t take it all in. But, since our own area, even back at the beginning, was rapidly becoming suburban, I realized Spring Hollow as I knew it initially, was doomed. If I wanted to keep this forested landscape and all the varied species of animals and birds that lived here alive, even in memory, I needed to preserve their stories on paper.
It became a writing challenge to find out if I could construct Spring Hollow in words, and share it with others that way. I believe writing what our senses tell us about a place is better than pictures or virtual reality, because we convey more than sight or sound. We open doors for the reader by allowing him or her to bring their own individual perceptions and experiences into what we share, making the sharing much richer.
The challenge was and is: Can I be so accurate and honest that what a reader brings to my writing will enhance what I want to give life to in magazines, newspapers, or book pages?
Experience has now told me I have had some success in this. Whether I am writing truth about Spring Hollow (as recorded in my collected essays in DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow), or re-creating loved Arkansas areas accurately as a background for fiction (the TO DIE FOR mystery series featuring senior detectives Carrie McCrite and Henry King), people seem to enjoy visits here. Indeed, I hear reports of people coming to Arkansas at least partly because they want to experience in person what I have shared on paper, (or now, in e-books). From the beginning I learned that my experiences here translated happily into the lives of readers, not only in the United States and other English-speaking countries, but in Germany and China as well.
How do I feel about that? Guess you could call it motivation satisfaction.
So–what motivates you? Right! Carry on!