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What’s My Motivation?

May 11th, 2018

I would imagine everyone who’s tried to produce something more than a coherent piece of writing remembers the event or reason which inspired them to make a conscious effort to give words to the ideas in their head. Until recently I thought I knew what prompted me to pursue my dream of being an author but it turns out things were far more complex than I realised.

I’d always wanted to write and over the years had made a few stabs at it, but nothing really serious; mostly attempts to entertain my family and amuse my friends.

It was the sudden and untimely death of my sister that finally gave me the jolt I needed to stop procrastinating and write.  She’d been a teacher for thirty-seven years and had given her life to the profession. I was following in her footsteps and had been teaching for seventeen years when she died. But education was changing.  What had started as an enjoyable and satisfying vocation focusing on pupils’ wellbeing had become all about targets and league tables.  This had been exacerbated for me because I was the Director of Humanities in a particularly challenging school.

I’ve always liked fantasy and believe people learn more if they enjoy something so I decided to try my hand at writing Historical Fantasy. I’ve always loved telling stories to the students so in many ways this was a natural progression for me, but it had taken the death of my sister to make me take the plunge and pursue my dream.

Soon I was writing every spare minute of the day. I’d come home from school, do my preparation, answer mails then write for a couple of hours producing several thousand words a night. Thanks to this overwhelming drive to write I managed to write on average five novels and seven novellas a year as well as having a full-time job.

This was obviously unsustainable and in 2016 I collapsed at school. The message was clear; I was doing too much. I couldn’t maintain my writing output and manage a department; something had to change.

To cut the story short we moved and I changed jobs.

But bizarrely I haven’t written much in this new house.  Though I have finally understood that I was writing so much because I was unhappy. I was disappointed and disillusioned with my job and teaching so sought escapism to the places and characters I’d created.  What had started off as a way to express my creativity had become my therapy and coping mechanism for school.

A few weeks ago, I started a new novel in my favourite series. I’m enjoying writing again, but thankfully don’t have the mad desperation to get the words out onto the screen.

My motivation has changed, I’m no longer an unhappy artist, that phase is over; I’m now writing for pleasure at a more leisurely pace and on my terms.

 

Link to Elsye Harwood’s webpage:  http://www.elsyeharwood.com/

Elyse Harwood’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elsye-Harwood/e/B016APX0ZU

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