The Great Motivator


I wrote this today. I do this sort of stream of consciousness babbling a lot on Twitter. It’s something of a safety valve for me. A way to get things off my chest in a way that I can’t do on this site. I’ve never been a very good blogger,as anyone who regularly checks in here can attest. Blogging is basically writing, and if I’m going to spend my time writing, it should probably be something I’m getting paid to write. Twitter is a handy way of expressing an opinion or mouthing off without it feeling too much like the day job.

In this case, I had an opinion about fear. A certain amount of it goes hand in hand with making a living as a writer. Your future is dependent on random fluctuations in a publisher’s spreadsheet and the whims of readers, a notoriously fickle lot, among a host of other factors, some you will have only the vaguest understanding of. Fear drives writers as surely as inspiration and obsession. Even at the best of times, when the advances are rolling in regularly, the royalties are plentiful, and commissions are easy to come by, the fear is there. It never goes away.

That’s a good thing, I think. Fear is healthy, as long as you can endure it, and keep it from paralyzing you. It’s not the only motivator, but it’s an effective one. It sharpens the wits and keeps you alert. Fear keeps you aware of your surroundings. Fear keeps you on your toes. Fear keeps you hungry for that next commission, in fighting trim for that next challenge.

Fear keeps you moving forward.

That’s a lot better than the alternative, in my opinion.