What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Because that novel isn't going to delay itself
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Seamus
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What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Seamus » February 22nd, 2010, 12:57 pm

Is your writing mostly for external or internal affirmation? If you are reading (or writing) this, you have the audacity and possibly the arrogance to believe that someone wants to hear what you have to say. In fact, we writers go beyond the boldness of the message and believe that others may find our prose artful, entertaining, insightful or useful. We string a few words together and put them out there and say, "There. Look at that," as though we were placing a bouquet on the table. There is no mistake about it -- this is a public thing. But then there's an internal process. You like to write -- you may even need to write. As you write more, you become better at it, and as you become better, you need to write more to see if this addiction is fatal. It takes you to a world of your own making, in which the very trees have sprouted from your mind and the people there speak from your fingers. So tonight, which of these is the stronger motivator for compelling you to your keyboard: a hope that there is a public out there for your work, or the compulsion to express yourself?
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
Website (shameless self-promotion): http://www.inwrittenform.com

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JustineDell
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by JustineDell » February 22nd, 2010, 1:01 pm

Both.

It started with a complusion, which is still going strong. I will still write if I never get published, that's just the icing on the cake. But of course, wouldn't everyone love for their book to be published?

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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christi
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by christi » February 22nd, 2010, 8:58 pm

I suppose I've always written to entertain, but that's because everything I do is to entertain. Whether I'm standing in line at the grocery store or in a business meeting at work, I find humor in the moment and joke around with people. I love to make people laugh, and almost love it as much when I make them think. When I wrote in high school, I would give them out to friends (poems or short stories) and got published in the school literary book. Once 'out in the real world' my writing was just for me, but with the popularity of the internet (yes, I'm that old) I found a new way to express myself. I found fanfiction places where I honed my skills and got feedback and had about a thousand readers, but that was writing with someone else's babies. So, I started to work on my own stuff. Except for friends, family, and a few friends of friends, I've not shared my current novel with the public since I want to publish it. Not for the money or fame (ew, don't like the downsides of fame at ALL), but to prove to myself that I can do it, and the hope that I can entertain even those I've never met.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

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Simpatico
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Simpatico » February 22nd, 2010, 10:27 pm

Is your writing mostly for external or internal affirmation? If you are reading (or writing) this, you have the audacity and possibly the arrogance to believe that someone wants to hear what you have to say. In fact, we writers go beyond the boldness of the message and believe that others may find our prose artful, entertaining, insightful or useful. We string a few words together and put them out there and say, "There. Look at that," as though we were placing a bouquet on the table. There is no mistake about it -- this is a public thing. But then there's an internal process. You like to write -- you may even need to write. As you write more, you become better at it, and as you become better, you need to write more to see if this addiction is fatal. It takes you to a world of your own making, in which the very trees have sprouted from your mind and the people there speak from your fingers.
I really don’t think of my writing as any kind of affirmation at all, really. Nor do I think of it as audacity or arrogance to want to share it with others. Storytelling is an innate quality for many people. Writing just happens to be one of the mediums available to communicate a story to a person.

Humans have a natural need to communicate with others. We, as writers, have stories that move us personally, and just like anybody who has a great story to tell their friends the next day, we have a natural urge to share it.

People right now - non-writers - are sharing the most trivial facts of their lives via facebook and twitter. It’s something we humans can’t help.

So is it any wonder that when a story consumes us and makes us sacrifice time, effort and even companionship, we feel an urge to share it with others?

So tonight, which of these is the stronger motivator for compelling you to your keyboard: a hope that there is a public out there for your work, or the compulsion to express yourself?
In my case, I don’t think it’s either. It’s hard to explain, but for me, it’s not about me. It’s about the story. I just have a story I want to share. One I think others will enjoy very much.

It’s kind of like if I create an elaborate Halloween or Christmas display. I just enjoy seeing the look on the kid’s faces. Seeing their smiles, seeing the look of joy and wonder on their faces, watching them walk away saying “Wow, that was cool.”

That’s what does it for me. That’s what keeps me coming back to the keyboard. I want to create something that will cause that effect. My writing is just a means to an end.

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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by askmonkey » February 22nd, 2010, 10:56 pm

I agree with simpatico. Sometimes and idea pops into my head and I just have to write it down and see where it goes. (That new idea feeling is such an exciting one, isn't it?) The people I first want to share it with isn't the whole wide world, but the people I care about.
But that being said, I do want others to read it. I want to share that excitement I felt when I read (and re-read and re-read) my favorite books as a kid. If someday I can make someone else feel just as excited about reading as I did as a kid, I will really feel fulfilled.
Perhaps this can be described as a "compulsion to express" myself. Not sure.

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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Holly » February 23rd, 2010, 12:00 am

Great post.

I'm just nuts. I wrote my novel because of a mystical conviction that if I finish it, somebody will buy it. You know, the old Kevin Costner "if you build it, they will come" thing. It's either true or I need medication.

I also wrote it because I miss D.C. My husband and I moved from downtown D.C. to a tiny town with 2,500 people. I can jump in my imaginary world and be home again in seconds.

Finally, I wrote it for laughs. I wanted to write a "Rite Aid" novel. My town doesn't have a bookstore. You go online, or you go to the Giant Food or the Rite Aid drugstore. When it's 90 degrees outside, you put on your flip flops and schlepp into the Rite Aid and look for a paperback. I wanted to write one of those novels. I looked at other people's stuff and said, "Hell, I could do better than that."

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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Sam » February 23rd, 2010, 1:51 am

Excellent thread!!

I was lured to the keyboard first and foremost, now and in the beginning, by the evil internet. I find that the taking in of such a massive amount of information after an hour or two at "sites of the day" that the need for expression on my thoughts just have to happen.

I have a e.diary that I make little notes on what I think the important stories "floating in the ether" are and my thoughts on them. I soon find that I have a couple of subjects or ideas that just must go into my work, so soon after writing a page or ten I'm on a writing frenzy. Next thing I know I'm in a chat or on a message board to see what others are finding and what they think..So, Here I now sit..typing away..to you...

I find that just starting is sometimes the hardest thing and just having a "notes to yourself" folder is a very easy way to begin the writing day, or night.

If I had to choice I would say to let my voice be heard, but it's really more of a basic communication with others that's my driving force, that and the need to know just about everything going on in this big old world around us and the need to document it, for one or all.

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marilyn peake
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by marilyn peake » February 23rd, 2010, 4:49 pm

Great question! For me, it’s a combination of both internal and external motivations. Internal: I love writing and the creative process. External: I’d like my writing to make a difference someday, to contribute to public discussion in meaningful ways.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Ryan
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Ryan » February 24th, 2010, 1:21 am

Ditto Marilyn...

The tagline for my blog is "We are nothing without stories" Wendell Berry

There are common themes and lessons in life that we have to be constantly reminded of. Even when I read my own writing I learn from it.
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

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aspiring_x
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by aspiring_x » February 24th, 2010, 1:06 pm

ummm... it's fun and challenging? is that not a good enough answer?

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JustineDell
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by JustineDell » February 24th, 2010, 1:21 pm

Holly wrote: I wanted to write a "Rite Aid" novel. My town doesn't have a bookstore. You go online, or you go to the Giant Food or the Rite Aid drugstore. When it's 90 degrees outside, you put on your flip flops and schlepp into the Rite Aid and look for a paperback. I wanted to write one of those novels. I looked at other people's stuff and said, "Hell, I could do better than that."
This made me laugh. I've often thought the same thing, but then thought the total opposite when I picked up something else.

And yes, we are all a little nuts ;-)

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

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eringayles
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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by eringayles » March 18th, 2010, 9:19 pm

Seamus wrote:Is your writing mostly for external or internal affirmation? If you are reading (or writing) this, you have the audacity and possibly the arrogance to believe that someone wants to hear what you have to say. In fact, we writers go beyond the boldness of the message and believe that others may find our prose artful, entertaining, insightful or useful. We string a few words together and put them out there and say, "There. Look at that," as though we were placing a bouquet on the table. There is no mistake about it -- this is a public thing. But then there's an internal process. You like to write -- you may even need to write. As you write more, you become better at it, and as you become better, you need to write more to see if this addiction is fatal. It takes you to a world of your own making, in which the very trees have sprouted from your mind and the people there speak from your fingers. So tonight, which of these is the stronger motivator for compelling you to your keyboard: a hope that there is a public out there for your work, or the compulsion to express yourself?
You won't believe this, but I've written a dozen books, and never used a keyboard. Reason? I can't get creative on a keyboard. Computers are logical beings -the technology of man. Creative writing is the domain of the dreamer - the fantasy unleashed. I control the fantasy (even unleashed :) ! ) The keyboard controls me.
MY motivator? Definitely the compulsion to express, but combined with the need to FEEL the expression.

I love the feel of paper aged by pencil and rubber. I love the scribbled notes in the margins. I love the post-its covering the wall. And I love writing in coffee shops without being mistaken for a nerd.
It's not that I'm a computer dumbo - It's just the 'sterile technology' hang-up.
I fill about 10 exercise pads per novel, do my own spellchecks , and then send it to a wonderful lady who types it.
I think that's gotta be the perfect world . . .

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Re: What Brings You to the Keyboard?

Post by Steppe » April 5th, 2010, 9:55 am

What bring me to the keyboard?

I have to use caps sorry!

___ GUILT ___


It's the world building experience that I get off on.
Having thought about sharing my work for pleasure or pay
I've become quite adjusted to reformatting into a standard
that is acceptable to the reader in terms of page flow.

I used to only write short stories because I felt most books
were full of fluff and I could easily detect when the author
was bidding his time. To use real world examples of writers
I admire greatly King & Koontz. King uses to much detail
as atmosphere even though he has great plots and Koontz
doesn't give enough character time.

That's my personal preferences so I try to fall somewhere in
between where the character is drawn out by the action
and back story deployed by a dream an encounter with
a person from their past or instigator of plot twist in the
present.

The __ GUILT ___ factor is in abandoning a world of
my own creation. If I stay away from a story to long I
have to at least proofread it very slowly until the world
becomes real to me in my mind again and regains the
power to make intuitive demands on my writing as
If I am trying to sense the reader's reaction from the future.

When I wrote short stories 10-35 pages.
I never felt that way because I would usually
write straight through even if it took three days.
Now that I'm older I can withstand being wrapped
up in a self crafted fantasy/delusion that I protect
as real for the time of the process to begin proceed
and end. I'm getting used to walking away from
stories and coming back when I have figured out
what the story and characters demand from me
to become real beings and real life stages to the reader.

With longer stories I am more conscious of good formatting
and proper grammar so I don't have to do as many proofreads
looking for the silly mistakes that typing real fast cause like
leaving a "the" instead of "they" or "be" instead of "to be"
The ones where you self correct as your writing by scrunching
and cutting and pasting to clarify the flow of group of sentences.

So guilt is a great motivator to return and then I use feelings
of redemption as I re-inflate the story and stage settings in my
head and the characters return to life as 3/4 dimensional beings
who would do certain things and wouldn't do certain other things.

Smoothly stopping and starting even if it temporarily feels jarring
is important no matter how old or new the writer because the real
world shall interfere periodically in any story of decent length with the
normal births deaths minor illnesses vacation and holidays.

When I have been writing regularly and am wrapped up in the story
writing process the problem is just the opposite: staying away from
the siren's call enchanting me from the keyboard and laptop screen.

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