What prods a writer to the keyboard day after day?

A statement read long ago, that many novelists set out in their newest writing to discover the book under the one they previously finished, has long resonated with me.

I addressed it head-on in What’s Left, which picked up at the end of my first published novel and the Hippie Trails stories that followed. The nagging questions also prompted the three Jaya novels that followed Promised, which are now all compressed into Nearly Canaan.

In both cases, this effort to finally resolve the question of “what’s it about” – really about – led to my reworking the previous novels rather than writing more. In fact, it would up reducing my list.


I write to explore and discover. There’s a reason I’ve come to be defined as a Mixmaster.

If you’re a writer, let me ask. How about you? What motivates you to sit down at the keyboard? What’s your approach? How do you define yourself and your work?


Has me recalling another question. Would you rather produce one big book that delivers it all – a masterpiece? Or a bookshelf of more modest but widely read works?


Or if you’re a reader, why do you turn to the books you choose?

4 thoughts on “What prods a writer to the keyboard day after day?

  1. I could say that I write because I love it, but it is much more for me. It seems to fulfill something inside me that nothing else has so far. It is the best I can describe it. I don’t limit myself to a genre; I write the book that is knocking at my door. I answer the loudest knock. How long should it be? I think the story determines that, whatever it wants to be. Although I end up trimming and adding considerably, at least for me that seems to be the case, each story tells me when it ends. I guess it is a very different experience for every writer.

  2. I have really enjoyed writing a whole novel but do not enjoy the process of trying to get it published. I do want some readership and was told to persist and be brave like my characters. I want to move on to some other writing ideas but am still focused on some revising of first novel. But when I don’t get on with it I feel low, frustrated, not fulfilled. When I write I have a more uplifting day and just enjoy the creative process. One bestseller would be good!

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