I’ve been thinking about the motivation to write. I’m not talking about fiction, necessarily, but that’s a big part of it that I’ll get to in a few minutes. My thoughts at the moment are more on writing about real life and the need to connect with others who might be going through the same things as I am. The desire to put it all out there to find out if I really am alone in my living room with my laptop. And I am alone. Alone with millions of other people, all of them doing the same thing I am. Being part of that crowd is motivating indeed.
But then, a couple of days ago I read an article about David Bowie. Only it isn’t really just about him. It’s about all of us. Every one of us on social media, whether a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr… any of them. Whether you liked Bowie or not, you need to read this. I’ll give you a minute. Please come back when you’re finished.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
We’re urged as writers to bleed on the page. That if we’re not bleeding – if we’re not putting everything we’ve got into what we write – then no one will be interested. But how much is too much? There are some who will tell us that there’s no such thing as too much. They are the ones who live off the angst of everyone else. I think of them as emotional vampires; they’ll say anything to get us to open up to them and say it’s for our own good. But they’ll never go out of their way to help. They’ll just motivate us…
What motivates you to write what you write? To share what you share? Has it changed since you started?
I understand how cathartic it can be to share a problem with the world, or go off on a rant when something is weighing heavily on the mind. I suppose the question comes down to how many details we give out. Its scary when we realise just how easy it is to give away our privacy. To box it up in a neat little package that is a simple post on social media and hand it to the entire world. In the past couple of weeks I’ve written 50-word stories on my fiction blog. Fifty words can say a lot. I even wonder sometimes how much of myself I’m giving away via fiction. To me it’s glaringly obvious what I’m imagining and what I’m bleeding; I can only hope it’s not as obvious to everyone else.
In the past I have tried to put a few filters on what I post. First and foremost, how does what I’m writing serve me? My reason for blogging of course is to have people read, so yes, I write what I think people will click on. When a post seems to be entirely self-serving (such as a rant) I feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I’ll post, sometimes it goes in the trash. If a post serves others, whether it’s a public service announcement, an example of what it’s like to parent a special needs child, or a prompt, I’m more likely to hit the publish button without thought for my privacy. On this blog I draw the line at the people in my life. I only write about what they willingly make public themselves. Even then I sometimes hesitate. There are people in my life I don’t talk about at all. Personally I have very little to hide about my life. Until I read the article, I didn’t even really think about discretion or, on the flipside, indiscretion. Now I wonder.
It’s contradictory that we’re so isolated and yet so out-in-the-open. We’re a society that no longer needs to go to a store to buy things, nor venture outside to talk to our neighbours, yet people half way around the planet can experience our lunch, our bowel movements, and if we wish to remain anonymous, even our sickest desires and without consequence. But it all starts with one thing. Motivation.
I ask you again, what’s yours?
The “Motivation” prompt is brought to you by Aaron Elmore at the blog bearing his own name. If you don’t already follow him, please check him out!
To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today. It’s never too late! And don’t forget to ping back your January 14th post here!