There are moments in life that you never forget. Some might seem insignificant, a trivial, fleeting space in time not even worthy of remembrance.
One such moment for me was when I was eight. I was visiting my aunt and uncle's farm, and somehow I found myself sitting up on a gigantic horse. I was timid, and my grip on the reins was weak and trembling. Instead of loping in a circle, the animal kept making a beeline for the gate and butting against it. "Why does he keep doing that?" I asked with a perplexed frown. I didn't have the courage to steer the horse in another direction.
My uncle was leaning on the fence, his hands dangling in front of him. "Because you let him," he answered simply. As if it was so obvious. The brim of his hat shadowed his face, but I sensed his expectation. I wanted to live up to what he believed I could do. So, steeling myself, I tightened my grip on those reins and tugged the horse away from the gate.
There is a point to telling you this. Whenever I reach that spot in my writing where the plot seems bland and the characters paltry, I think of that day. Being a dramatic person, I jump to thoughts like, I suck and this sucks and the world sucks. But then those words come back to me, always consistent in my uncle's straightforward way: Because you let him.
The story is mine. Anything that happens comes from me. If the plot is weak, I let it become weak. If the characters are flat, I let them become flat. It may sound like some kind of god complex, but it's all in my control. I let it. This is my drive, my motivation. I don't think of this story being in print one day, or anyone else reading it. I think of what I'm capable of. Where I can take these imaginary people and events.
What is your motivation?