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on motivation

This will be my last blog here for a wee while - I'm going on a mini blog tour for Abendau's Heir coming out and will be popping up through March in lots of places. And, hopefully, lots of people will be popping in here with some thoughts and what not. (And if anyone fancies an exchange, give me a wee shout!)

One of the things I've been musing on - sparked, as so often, by the sffchronicles.com community - is our motivation to write and how the vehicle we use to publish with should be matched to that. It dovetails nicely with the concept of motivation in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - that we aim and espouse self-actualization, the peak of the pyramid, and that one person's self-actualization is another person's hell.

So, I have to ask myself - what would be my self-actualization? In my case, for writing, some of the lower tiers of the pyramid have to be considered. Most noteably security needs - I want to write, I also want to be reasonably sure I'll pay my mortgage. So, in the first instance I need some money from writing. But I do also have a job (one related to the management mumbo-jumbo I occasionally spout) which can be combined with writing. So, suddenly, that need, within writing, drops a little. I don't need to be getting huge advances. (Although, you know, I could be doing with a new kitchen, as it happens....)

I get a lot of esteem from writing. A lot of people seem to quite like what I write, astonishing to me though that is. I get the odd thing published and that brings its own esteem. So, this one I think is pretty well there, as is belonging - I feel very much a part of the writing community I belong to.
Which all adds up to what I want, what will be the level of success which will fulfill me. We can talk pie-in-the-sky aspirations here - this is the ideal, not what might actually be or is.

Do I want to be a J.K.Rowling with the notoriety that brings? To be honest, it would probably terrify me. Do I want to travel from convention to convention and build my notoriety that way? I'd like some of that, on a limited basis, but not all the time with lots and lots of travelling - I don't thrive in that sort of role.

Do I want to self-publish, take what money I can and enjoy the freedom to write what I like? Not really - it lacks the validation that matters to my esteem needs. It also becomes more of a vacuum, losing some of the support I enjoy.

For me, at the moment, being published with a small press suits me. There's no overwhelming pressure on me to earn out a huge advance. There are some sales I hope to achieve but I feel they're doable, given what I have in place. If I do better than expected then it's a bonus and a confidence boost. Also, I'm learning about the industry in a fairly safe environment. I'm not at the mercy of a huge publisher, blinking in the headlights and pretending I know what I'm about. Hopefully, if I do get to the stage of taking off and having more demands on me I'll feel confident at handling it, having learned lots along the way. But for me, for now, for this book, having a book I'm proud of (which I do) with a nice cover (which it is) out on some bookshelves (which it will be) and doing some promo stuff (which I am) suits me very well at the moment.

But, in the future my pyramid might change. It does that. And then, maybe, it will time for me to review what it is I want. But for now, I'm pretty close to where I want to be.

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