What Feeds You?

In the interviews that I conduct with bestselling authors, one of my favorite questions to ask is:

What feeds you as a writer?  What nourishes your soul?

I believe that this question gets to the root of why writers write.  From those answers, it’s sometimes easy to tell the writers who have a true passion for what they do, and those who are in it simply for the money.  In my humble opinion, the ones in it for the money are no longer thriving as writers, but merely subsisting, laboring to make ends meet.  That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that…but I tend to connect more readily with the passionate ones.

When I asked friend and fellow author Catherine Ryan Hyde  the question, she responded:

Everything that human beings don’t—and couldn’t—make.  This includes my dog Ella, the ocean (which is 236 yards from my house), the pelicans that skim on its waves, the seals who poke their heads up out of it to stare at me, the juvenile Cooper’s hawk who sits on the tree in my back yard, the wild turkeys who come rambling through the field behind me.  The deer who eat my flowers.  I could go on, but I expect you get the idea.

I adore her response.  It shows me that Catherine really sees the world around her, that she’s open to new ideas and adventures in her life, which translates into the amazing stories she writes.  I also happen to know that Catherine is an avid hiker, and has hiked some of the tougher trails in the world, just for her own satisfaction. 

Author Joseph Finder responded with:

I love to write.  It is the feeling I get when writing.  I love being in that space where I’m creating things.  It’s not money, not fame – they’re great such as they are – but they only support my habit.  Bottom line: I love writing.  I don’t like getting bad reviews, I don’t like the stress of touring, and so I have to remind myself what I’m in it for.

Again, the passion for what he does shows through.  I know he loves his daughter very much and builds his life around her…and writing is secondary to her, but when he’s present at his writing desk, he’s truly there, immersed in the story and the characters he’s working with, which results in some pretty incredible nail-biting thrillers. 

Though I tend to prefer more literary styles of writing, I sometimes enjoy a nice ‘palate-cleanser’ and read a mystery or thriller.  I enjoy the writing, the choice of words others use to tell their story, those very choices speaking volumes about the writer and their craft. 

What feeds your writer soul?  What is it that gets you to the writing desk each time, ready to embark on your journey?

For me, it’s the long morning walks I enjoy with my dogs.  Even when it’s -5 degrees, it’s beautifully quiet and the night animals are out, hunting and foraging. (we typically walk between 330 and 430 a.m. each day)  Just that pristine quiet fills me with songs from the universe.  Seeing my dogs at play feeds my soul and makes me realize that there is joy in the world that knows no boundaries.  Laughing with friends fills me up.  Beautiful music soothes me.  Knowing that when I’m out in the world, I’m doing my best every day keeps me positive.  I bring these elements to the table with me when I sit down to write.  And though I tend to write about the darker side of human nature in my novels, short stories, and screenplays, there’s always an underpinning of hope and redemption that shines through. 

Feel free to comment on the ways you nourish your soul, or provide a link if you decide to post a blog about it.

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4 thoughts on “What Feeds You?

  1. Love. Friends. Honesty. Heroes. Nature. Reading an extraordinary story that makes me cry. As I actually sit and write I am blessed to look out at a small lake. I watch the geese come and go and my dreams soar with them. To the heights we fly, strong wings whisking the wind aside. Flight. Freedom. Creation. Hand to wing to keyboard… Thanks, Christian. It nourished my soul to pause and think about this.

  2. Great post, Christian. I think everyone’s “built” to do something in the life lived–doesn’t mean you’ll be the best at it, or even noticed, just that while you’re here, walking this Earth in the continuum you find yourself, you’re meant to “do” something. It could be acting, bricklaying, forest rangering, you name it. But whatever it is you’re doing…it gives one a sense of value fulfillment. So what feeds and nourishes my soul? I could say “writing,” but I think “writing” is more the mechanics behind the root cause for me, though I intensely enjoy writing in and of itself. What seems to nourish my soul is exercising the imagination. [Mental] Creation. Monkeying around with What-ifs. Play. Idea generation. All these things and more. I think, for now, that’s the best answer I can offer.

    • Hi Frank! I love this response, as it divulges the real spirit in you. I believe that if an action or deed feeds our soul – no matter what it is – we’re happy humans because of it.

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