Tag Archives: motivations

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing: #7 – Lust

7 Deadly Sins of Writing-Sin7

Dang, the last sin…we were having so much fun with these!

Lust? Really, you’re relating lust to writing, David?

I don’t think it’s a stretch. Originally, I wrote the definition as, “When writing becomes an idol and you want success above everything else…”  The word lust alone can be controversial enough, not to mention the word idol. How do we define idol? The Free Dictionary defines it a number of ways: 1) an image used as an object of worship. 2) a false god 3) one that is adored, often blindly or excessively, and 4) something visible but without substance. Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Read some of those key words again: false, blindly, excessively and without substance. If your writing relates to any of these words, stop and reassess.

And to me, lust is the unfortunate state in which we replace a true love with something more superficial and self gratifying (hmmm…sounds like idol worship, huh?). It truly is the opposite of a healthy love for someone or something.

I wanna get, get, GET…not give!

So, let me ask you a question: Why did you start writing in the first place? Was it to make money? Was it for fame? I doubt it. I bet  your motivations were a bit more pure than that. Now, I’m not saying that money or fame are wrong; they just may not be the best motivations for producing your best work.

Or is it safe to say your initial motivations were for the simple joy of telling stories, creating interesting worlds from your imagination, playing with the words and enjoying their sound when read from the paper? At least one of those reasons, I bet.

Go find your first love of writing again, have fun, and you’ll probably begin to see some of your best work!

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Can Good Stories Be More Than Entertainment?

MP900341529[1]“Art is an expression of joy and awe. It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of selfless spirit.” ― David MametTrue and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor

I recently heard David Mamet (one of my favorite playwrights/screenwriters) in an interview say that stories have no purpose than to entertain; they have no purpose beyond entertainment. I find that difficult to accept fully. I’ve always been one to see the power of the parable. Heck, I actually learned something from Aesop’s Fables. And they were art. Maybe not the best art, but art nonetheless.

I don’t want to get into another debate about art—which is too broad to tackle here—but I don’t believe all art is simply about ‘joy and awe’ but it should be the major component, otherwise your art clangs like a broken cymbal. Especially a story. It can be about truth. Art reveals truth. Think of the ironic truth you hear in so much of popular music, even the most obtuse pop. We humans desire morality plays whether we realize it or not.

One of my motivations for writing is to inspire (hopefully). I’d like to evoke some emotion in my readers. Is that manipulation? (Perhaps a whole separate post?) While not apparent, my current novel is about love, love where most has grown cold. If I wrote simply to entertain, I’d stop writing. It’s much deeper than that for me. But Mamet’s right, if he’s not merely giving a fair warning: keep it interesting or get out of the business. Keep your ham-handed lessons and didactic attempts to yourself. Ultimately, your best motivations will always be selfless—and ring true.

I like Pablo Picasso’s quote: “We all know art is not truth. Art is a lie to make us realize the truth.”

I’d love to hear other opinions. Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing.

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