Monday, August 18, 2014

Motivation & Courage

"Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them."
~Jim Davis

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

It takes a lot of courage to stay motivated as an author. With the popularity and availability of self-publishing and e-publishing many more authors have the opportunity to get their stories out there.

Now there is more competition than ever before. There are fewer traditional publishers (they've been gobbled up). Millions of books are being published each year but only a dozen authors are millionaires and a small percentage of the rest make a living with their writing.

Why do we do it? Because we're story tellers. We're compelled to write, not one book, but another and another, and so on. It is our craft, our passion and defines who we are.

For centuries artists, scholars, scribes - by whatever name you use to describe us - have gone to the page to create. That page may be paper or computer screen, but it is still a blank canvas for us to show you what happens.

It is said that everyone has a story inside them. I can see that. But many never write the story down or it's never complete. It takes courage to follow the story to the end. It takes motivation to fill the empty vessel.

We sometimes feel afraid to proceed. The "What if" question is not only a story tool, but it's an impediment to the writer. 

"What if no one will publish it?"
"What if readers don't like what I have to say?"
"What if I can't find the words to finish the story?"

There are so much more to writing than just having an idea. The expression of that idea, the investment in the characters, plot and flow that we have to make is like child birth. Something wonderful is happening inside and someday it will be mature enough to breathe on its own. It takes months and months (sometimes years) to be ready for the world. Before it is born we'll nurture it and build it up so that it can stand alone in the world. Then we'll tell everyone we know (and even those we don't know) how beautiful our baby is - and hope that the world will agree.

We can't be afraid. We must write. We must tell the story.

Bonnie Tharp’s novel, Feisty Family Values was published by Five Star Publishing in hardback and released in February 2010. Patchwork Family was released in paperback by Bell Books Publishing in March of 2014. You can find out more about Bonnie & her books at


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

I've been nodding my head in agreement with everything you've said here. You are a feisty lady! It does take courage, great effort and concentration to actually write. We write because we must. Some elemental need is within those write to tell a story that we feel needs telling.

Bonnie Tharp said...

I never know where my mind will go when I sit down to write. When this came to mind I felt all writers could relate and commiserate. Doing this solitary journey needs a reminder that we are not alone. Thanks for your comment.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Whenever I'm writing I don't think about courage, but I know it's there because I face whatever problem comes along and keep on going. Courage and faith.

Karen McCullough said...

Thank you for that! It's so true. This can be a very discouraging occupation and it's hard to keep on doing it sometimes.

Bonnie Tharp said...

I agree, Susan, we don't think about the courage it takes to write - we just do it!

It is hard to keep going, Karen. But the stories must be told.

Enjoy the journey, my writing friends.

Mary Fremont Schoenecker said...

I loved the analogy to childbirth.Yes,indeed we agonize until that story is finished and ready for the world. Good blog, Bonnie.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Mary, Thanks for the comment.

Karen McCullough said...

You are so, so right! I sometimes think that when people ask the inevitable question about where you got your ideas, what they really mean is how did you manage to do all that work to create a complex and interesting plot with so many different characters, motivations, etc. It's not easy, but for some of us, it's just impossible to stop!

Bonnie Tharp said...

Thanks, Karen. You are probably right. Gee, does that mean we writers are an obsessive lot? Maybe, just a little. :-)