So how does “creating a life-altering piece of art” exactly happen? Where did your idea come from? How did you come up with this concept? Why is it bubbling out onto a printed page? What is motivating you?
When speaking to authors and other creative minded humans, you will notice that the creative process is varied, but there is one constant, a spark. We have a flash of inspiration, a moment of clarity, the a-ha moment, to coin a worn out phrase, “The Big Idea”. Unfortunately, no matter how great and powerful the concept, it’s kinetic energy tends to slow when we ask the question, “What do I do now?”
Though the life cycle of a Big Idea, there are a few phases. Inspiration, Planning, Production and ultimately Completion.
We love Big Ideas. That flash of inspiration can keep us warm and toasty for a long time.
We daydream of the adoration we will receive when we have created a finished version of our Big Idea. Money falls from the sky, people lift us on their shoulders. We were right and we are loved.
But Big Ideas are also grinds. How do I do it? Can I do it? Do I have time? Coming up with a plan and being able to implement that plan is not easy. It is far from easy. That is why most Big Ideas stay scribbled on beer stained bar napkins. Developing a process is a big time buzz kill.
To keep your vision alive, it is important for you understand your motivation. Why do you want to publish your story? Your reason. Not your friends or your mother’s reason. The real motivation. You don’t need to tell anyone else if you don’t want to.
What is Your Motivation?
There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket, there’s only five of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy? – Grandpa George from Willie Wonka
Money is an excellent reason to create a book. In fact, a majority of the publishing world would say that it is the only reason.
But the beauty of self and electronic publishing is that it no longer has to be about money. Because of technological advances such as short run digital printing and electronic publishing, self publishers can get their story to the masses without spending their life savings or justifying it’s worth to larger publishing firms.
A grizzled war veteran, sits with his aging friends at the local VFW hall, drinking flat beer and telling horrific stories from his past. Every day he notices that a fellow warrior that has fallen. Death didn’t come from a strafing 50 caliber machine gun or punishment inflicted during concentration camp imprisonment. It is time that was taking away his loved ones. Those brutal seconds that turn into minutes. He knows very well that time will not stop for him. His personal stories are funny, his stories are tragic, his life is an inspiration to those around him. He is encouraged by his friends and family to tell his life story; to write down his struggles and successes.
“Maybe you can make some money also!” suggest his closest advisors.
While the lure of “Retire Early” money doesn’t exist for him, having some “Go to Vegas” money pulls him out of the VFW hall and in front of desk, typing out his life story. But what is his real motivation? It’s not really about the money is it? In this scenario money is just the catalyst.
For him, it’s about legacy. To share with others; inspire after his time on this earth has past. Dictating ones own legacy is a huge motivator. Just look at the biography section at your local bookstore.
So, what is your reason? Is it legacy? Is it to educate? Do you wish to entertain or inspire? Is it creative energy that just is bursting to come out? Do you want to make a little money? Do you want to make a lot of money?
There are many motivations in addition to the all mighty dollar. Publishing is a business, and a big one at that, so we justify our actions and qualify success by the silver in our pockets. Because of this, sometimes the real reason for the creation of a book gets lost. Just think about why you write.
Know thyself and your expectations will fall in line.