The 1 big secret behind why we write

I picked this up on the Bloggess today, and although she’s applying it to bloggers, frankly I think it completely explains writers.


Why do we do what we do?

You know why? We’re not motivated by the money. No, we are not. It’s not there. Even if a writer makes, say, $5k for a book, cranking them out at the amazing speed of two books a year, that’s, um, $10k a year. You can be homeless on that.

And we are not motivated by the fame. No. It’s not there, either. We all go to blogging now for our fame (even though it’s not there EITHER). Jenny Lawson, aka the Bloggess, gets 300k visits a month on her blog and has been voted one of the top 9,000 bloggers in the world. Top nine thousand. Like being people’s 8,999th favorite is a good thing! (I don’t mean to disparage her, either—I love Jenny’s blog.)

We writers work in the creative, not the labor, industry, and that means we are motivated by the autonomy, the mastery, and the sense of bringing something into the world that makes it a better place to be. Because we’re all here together in this world, aren’t we? And the books that others have brought into it have enriched and gladdened our lives, and we want to be a part of that, a part of that community, a part of that greater family known as Writerhood. We want to be in this with each other.

And we are all in this together.

Thanks for pointing this out, Jenny! And also the guy with the pen! And everyone at Ohio U! (I LOVE the guy in the staff uniform.)

3 thoughts on “The 1 big secret behind why we write

  1. Lady Glamis says:

    I just watched that video, and WOW! I’m going to share this on The Lit Lab. I’ve seen this concept used places, but never really put it all together in my head like that. We humans are amazing, certainly! I think this applies to anything we do/create. I have a friend who’s paying me to do a film project thing for her, and I’m telling you, I’m SO MUCH LESS motivated to do this project than my other work. Ugh. Maybe I should just tell her not to pay me! 🙂

  2. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for sharing those two excellent videos – thought provoking and uplifting.

  3. Victoria says:

    Yes, that video about motivation is great, isn’t? I just sat here with my mouth hanging open.

    And I seriously, truly love the video of the flashmob dance. I’d never heard of flashmobs before (don’t you wonder how I blog from a CAVE?), until I saw this one, and I was so blown away by the smiles on those people’s faces, the sheer joy they were getting out of dancing their butts off for the fun of it. . .the guy in the staff uniform is my new hero.

    And that school president. Because I remember his generation at that age. And there is nothing that spells H.O.P.E. to me like thinking of one of those crazy, groovin’ and dancin’ 1960s peace-&-love young folks getting to be president of a university full of crazy, groovin’ 2010 don’t-stop-believin’ young folks.

    It makes me grateful I was around to see this.

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