For my Creative Writing class, I picked up a copy of THE DAILY WRITER by Fred White. It's a collection of meditations and exercises to help establish a regular writing routine. I assign a page for each day in class. I thought it might be good for me to write along with my students. If nothing else, it gives me something else to post on my blog. I will try to keep these writings down to a brief 10 minutes. After all, this is a starter activity -- if I spend too long on it, that defeats the purpose of the activity. I tend to pause too much for rewriting and editing. If I'm so brave and willing to ignore the backspace key, you'll get a mostly stream of conscious response.
On Motivation (p. 22). Begin a journal entry with the words: "The real reason I want to be a writer is as follows..."
The real reason I want to be a writer is as follows: I love stories. It's not that I especially love telling stories. Although, I do. It's the story itself. I love stories in all formats, media, and genre. I could bury myself in a movie, a television show, a comic book, a novel, an audiobook, an episode of This American Life, and I would be perfectly content. I think when you love stories, when you get as hungry as I do for them, you have to start creating your own.
Originally, this contemplation of the "real reason" stressed me out. I couldn't objectively evaluate my motivation. What if it's just because I wanted to be good at something, anything, so I figured I would stubbornly push forward in this direction? Regardless of a lack of natural talent. What if it's merely the desire to call myself a "writer". Admittedly, this reason gave me pause. Sometimes, I hate telling people I'm a teacher. It's not that I hate teaching, but I hate the immediate reactions. You tell someone you're a teacher and they go into their theories on how to fix public education, or they offer sympathy for my career path. If you want to know my thoughts, I really don't think that public education is as bad as we think it is. It's better to tell people you're a writer, because they have no instant talking point. They probably don't believe you when you say you're a writer, but whatever. As I pondered this prompt, I wanted my reason to be something noble: I have a passion for the written word or I want to transform society with my insights. Nah. I'm a big nerd for good stories. I obsess over them, and sometimes it's more permissible to obsess over something you're working on than an episode of The Office. (I mean, how many years have I been working on ASTRONAUT DAD?)
There you go, first entry. More to follow. Maybe.