(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr. Find out more at my newsletter.)
Serdar and I often talk about why we create what we do. These conversations veer into things like the “punk” mindset, artistic visions, and the like. Why do people make what they do, and how can they be true to their vision?
Well, the truth is, it’s not always a straight line or magical revelation. Finding that “you” thing in writing is a journey, one my Way With Worlds books illustrates.
Most of my readers know how they started. I had two books on worldbuilding – the Way With Worlds Books – but wanted to sell more. I got the idea to do six small, cheap books on specific subjects to tie into them and raise interest. After being told I should raise the price to show value, they started selling well.
Previously I thought like a marketer, but now I saw what people wanted. People wanted specialized guides, and my unique “coaching buddy approach” seemed to resonate with people. This realization fired up my writing side.
So I wrote a few more books.
The act of writing the books inspired more books. Reader feedback guided me to pick the best titles. I set the lofty goal of writing thirty of these books, figuring that would ensure sales and be a worthy challenge.
I wrote a few more books, and my motivations evolved.
My drive to help writers and creatives changed. I realized how much good I could do and how much help I could provide. I also realized that worldbuilding helped people think about our world. What I did mattered to people.
I also began to savor the challenge in creating these books. I had to find what subjects people needed to learn. I created a system to help me write them effectively.
I kept writing.
I came to realize how outlandish my goals were – and how much I enjoyed them. Thirty books for a specific audience with specific interests on specific subjects? I was doing something only I could do.
I had started with a simple marketing idea based on a subject that interested me. It had evolved into a challenge, then something outrageously me. As you noticed, I’m still writing.
Our creative journeys aren’t linear, and our creative selves not always apparent. But if you keep creating and learning, you’ll find that work only you can make – and the you that can make that work.