I’m rather a competitive person. I like winning. Like I really, really like winning. I wish I was one of those people who was satisfied with knowing they did their personal best, but I’m not. I want to be at the top of the list, because I know I can be there. Is that pretentious? Maybe. Or it’s just honest. I know myself. I know what I’m good at. I don’t expect to be the best at things I’m not good at (hello volleyball), but elsewhere there’s no excuse.
Maybe this is why I’ve always struggled to motivate myself where writing is concerned. It’s a solitary pursuit: just me and my laptop/notebook & pencil. There’s no exact measure for success for a long time. “Just write because you love to!” people always say, but that only works for a journal or diary setting. If you want your writing to be good enough to earn you money, you can bet there will be times when you absolutely hate it, but keep going. And that spark of competition is a great reason to continue. Because I may hate it at the time but by George I shall beat you.
I was channel flipping on Saturday and came across that Red Riding Hood film that came out last year, the one directed by the Twilight director and starring Amanda Seyfried. It was one of those unfortunate films that seemed awesome in trailer form but fell apart when given 2.5 hours in which to tell a story. I have never actually seen it, and was half fascinated, half disgusted by the dire state of the story. Seriously, don’t people in Hollywood get paid to think about these things? Come on, people, there’s got to be someone out there who read this script and thought, ‘Hm, I like the style of your arc but let’s really work on these characters and make them actual people.’ The original fable is such rich ground to begin with—a children’s story about a little girl who has to chop her grandmother out of a wolf? Heck yeah! So down! Yet I sat there on my bed and watched Amanda Seyfriend, surrounded by ludicrously attractive men, frolic through a snowy and vaguely Norse-ish village and do nothing interesting. ‘I could do so much better,’ I thought.
And there we go. Motivation. From that simply thought sprang the framework of an entire story. A setting. A mood. A heroine. And enough authorial motivation to hopefully see me through a first draft. We’re in the early stages yet, but I DVR’d Red Riding Hood, and I’ll force myself to watch it again if I have to. I’m starting small, so I don’t psych myself out early on. The motto right now is, ‘Be better than what sucks.’
Yep. I think we’re going places.