Friday, May 8, 2015

Finding What Drives You

April Erwin
By guest April Erwin
When Mary asked what my topic was for this post, I had a few notes outlined but nothing solidified. I read them off to my sister, Angel, (my sounding board for EVERYTHING) and then announced, “How about, ‘Finding What Drives You’?” 

Angel nods seriously and responds, “That sounds good, but I find it highly amusing that the girl who procrastinates writing so much is going to tell others how to find their drive.”

“True…” Angel never holds back the truth, which is why I count on her opinion so much. “But, this is what I’m feeling led to write about and I already have these ideas…”
“Well, maybe it will help you find your drive, too.”
Ouch! That stung a little. Not because she was mean, but because I saw a kernel of truth in it. Did that stop me? Nope. I messaged Mary the topic and then promptly put off writing the post a little longer so we could deal with all the graduation and birthday hub-bub in our house. 

If you’re like me though, writing isn’t all about having your fingers attached to a keyboard. Once an idea gets in my head I fiddle with it constantly. During one of these internal writing chats with myself, it occurred to me:  Drive and Motivation isn’t always the same thing. Before you roll your eyes and scoff, give me a moment to show you.

Drive is the thing that urges or compels you to do something.  
“Would you eat a cricket?” This was the challenge written across a food blog post I recently saw. UGH! Eat a cricket? NO WAY! I realize in some parts of the world this is nutritious and normal, but me? I’m a pizza and cheeseburger kind of girl. Then I remembered a challenge from some co-workers about 15 years ago. 

My boss had purchased a tiny bag of Nacho cheese covered deep fried grubs. They were about the size of a grain of rice, but you could tell what they were. It was a novelty purchase to show all the guys and see if anyone was man enough to try one. Not one of them would. Not even the boss that bought them. Out of nowhere I surprise everyone (including myself) with “I’ll eat one.” Surprised, they finally handed me one. I ate it – whole. Sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to chew. They were all rather impressed and shocked. So was I. I’d just ate a nacho cheese covered fried grub no one else would, to prove a point. I can do anything.

Justice Burning Book Trailer
 I’m competitive. I like to be challenged. That takes boldness. So how does that translate into my writing life? How can I be bold in some areas and so timid and shy in others? I’ve always been a kind of contradiction where the only time I was bold was when I had something to prove to someone else. But what happens when there isn’t anyone to prove something to? 

When I began writing my first book, that need to prove I could do it was what drove me. I had testimonies that I felt called to write, but unfortunately they weren’t always what drove me. Once I’d completed Missing Pieces and published it, that challenge to prove I could write a book was gone and there was no one to compete against, or push me to try harder. I had to find a new and better reason to drive me. 

My second published novel, Dysfunction Junction, was actually my third to write. I had worked for a long time on Justice Burning, but finally put it on a shelf. Now I had a new story on my heart that I couldn’t let go of. I had testimonies that I needed to write and felt God saying I had a message that could touch someone, if I would complete the book. I felt compelled to write it.

Here is where I began to see the difference between drive and motivation. My drive to tell Kianna’s story was in the feeling of necessity that I complete it. My personal testimonies with God helped to encourage that drive. Did I write like crazy and not procrastinate? No! (I invite you to laugh hysterically with me.) 

            Motivation is the inducement or incentive to greater effort, a reward offered for increased productivity. 

I had to find motivation regularly to get my butt in the chair to write. I read a lot of articles on how to find motivation. I’d set rewards for myself or challenges, sometimes they worked. Sometimes they didn’t. Often though, I would build up my motivation by leaning on what drove me to begin with; the urgency to write and share stories for God. I found the best way for me to do that was to pray.  Keeping up a dialogue with God about why I felt driven to write this project and praising Him for giving me the opportunity and strength was important. 

You would think after seeing the success of Dysfunction Junction published, I’d be jumping right back in to the writing pool and looking for my next contract. I didn’t. I wrote a bit, but it took a critique partner suggesting I submit Justice Burning before I did. My contract was offered within 24 hours. (I about fell out of my chair.) Thirty days later, it’s published in e-book and paperback and I’m being asked when my next book will be coming.  Good question. Let me rev up my drive again and see what I can do. 

For me that’s what it takes every time, with every project. It’s a choice. I have to choose to dig deep and find that drive inside, the urgency that compels me not to give up on writing even though it’s really hard work that takes a lot of years to see come to fruition. It’s the proverbial rock I cling to when writing waters get rather stormy.  Then when the drive is stirred up, and I find my story inspiration, I still have to choose to keep that drive alive and find ways to motivate myself. (A good swift kick in the pants by my big sister helps.) Sometimes I just need the boost to push past procrastination. Other times I need a much deeper acknowledgment of what drives me.
Today let's talk about what drives you? 

Focus on knowing what really drives you and ask your friends/family to remind you when you struggle.  Finding what drives you will keep you going when your writing stalls out.
 What is the deep seeded, compelling urge that keeps you coming back to the keyboard? 
Do you have a testimony? If you haven’t defined that in your heart and mind yet, then take the time to pray about it.

I’m giving away 1-Dysfunction Junction e-book, 1- Justice Burning e-book, and 1-Justice Burning autographed paperback. Three prizes, three winners. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing.

Justice Burning released April 24th and is available now in print and e-book.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes and Noble
Widowed Fire Investigator, Aidan McLeod is determined never to fall in love again. Serving his family and community is enough.
School counselor and graphologist, Morgan Daryl inherited her Grandmother’s farm. Ready for a fresh start, she leaves a tragic past behind to move to Justice, Missouri.

An explosive fire at Morgan’s school triggers a series of escalating fires throughout town. At each fire, the arsonist leaves a note. Can Morgan’s graphology training help?

As Aidan works to catch the arsonist, he struggles against a growing attraction to Morgan. Can Aidan learn to trust Morgan with the investigation and his heart?

Aidan will have to decide soon, because Justice is burning and it’s up to Aidan to stop it before someone ends up dead.

Dream big, be bold, no fear! 

April Erwin is the author of suspenseful and humorous inspirational contemporary stories that reflect her faith and the life motto created with her sister and best friend. A lifelong resident of Independence, MO, April loves living in her hometown surrounded by family and her Cocker Spaniel, Buddy. Raised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she's thrilled to achieve her dream to become a writer and use that to witness of her Christian faith. She holds an Associate in Graphological Science, the study of handwriting analysis, tutors dyslexic and reading challenged individuals, enjoys photography, is a singer/songwriter and records original music with her sister, Angel. Also the author of Dysfunction Junction and Missing Pieces, Justice Burning is her third published novel.

 Twenty-six and never been kissed. That's about to change...
Finding true love these days feels impossible to Kianna Ravencamp, only dysfunction surrounds her. Her sister’s married to an abusive husband and marriages she’s admired for years are falling apart. Maybe relationships like her parent’s don’t exist anymore. She dreams of true love and a family, but she’s never even been kissed.

For her birthday, her best friend gives her a journal and dares her to follow her dream of songwriting and vocal lessons quickly follow. Kianna’s finally dared to dream big… if the three men in her life don’t get in her way.

Nick Steele, her new vocal partner is flirtatious and charming. Derek Simpson, the new vocal coach is asking her out for coffee. Even Jason Payne, a childhood friend is acting odd. For the first time in her life, she will have to navigate dating and flirtation. Will her inexperience be her downfall? How will these relationships affect her songwriting career? 

Letting go and trusting God is the only answer that brings the path to real love and success.

Find me online:  @aprilerwin   


  1. Morning, April. I find I need both drive and motivation these I'm not a w tier, but your post applies to me, too. I will get motivated to find your books, though...or is that drive because I need to drive? Thanks for the timely post!

  2. April, welcome! I'm glad you joined us. I think I'm motivated/driven by different things at different times. Sometimes it's a deadline (talk about lighting a fire under me!). Sometimes it's the love of writing. Sometimes it's a story that's pushing me like crazy (especially as I near the end of the story).

  3. Hi April:

    Great cover for "Justice Burning"!

    It looks like a scene from a blockbuster movie. I saw the trailer, read the blurb and just had to download the book! Perhaps I can be the first to review it. (Please still put me in for a Kindle copy of "Dysfunction Junction" or "Missing Pieces").

    BTW: the JB link is not working. I found the trailer at this url:

    I enjoyed the video. The music does a fine job. It is worth a look. I just wonder why you did not do a voice over. Was there a special reason?

    As to your question: What most often drives me is necessity -- usually manifested as deadlines. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. I believe that the need to do something needs to be greater than the desire to be doing something else. You "gotta wanna!"

    One question: would you please explain what you mean by, " I had testimonies that I felt called to write..."? I have not seen this term used in this way before. I have visions of people standing up in church telling you to write. Somehow I don't think that is what you mean.

    Thanks for you post. I look forward to starting your book tomorrow.


  4. Good Morning, Marianne! Thanks for stopping in. I think we ALL need to know what drives us, no matter what our career. I hope you find what you need. :)

  5. Hi Missy! Glad you're here. You're right, I know what drives me has changed over the years, but it's been so helpful to take the time to identify it. You have some very good things driving you. :)

  6. April - I think we are sisters, at least in spirit. I struggle with procrastination and bounce everything off my sister.

    As far as what drives me, the desire to reach my goal. The more tangible the goal the better.

    I'd love to win a copy of one of your books.

  7. I've been MIA, so I want to congratulate Patti Jo and Natalie on being Genesis semi-finalists. And congrats to Mary Curry for being a finalist in the Daphne.

  8. Hi Vince, I'm so glad you like the cover, I had fun finding the right image. And I had so much fun creating the trailer. I've always made my own and I think they get better with each try. I didn't do a voice over because I didn't think to honestly. :) I'll keep that in mind for the next trailer I create. (Thanks for correcting the trailer link too.) I so appreciate you downloading JB I hope you enjoy it.

    To answer your question, I had personal testimonies where I prayed about writing and knew that it was what God wanted for me. Although I would welcome someone sharing their own testimony with me, it's always been more personal. There have been several over the years. God has always been good to encourage me and strengthen my confidence as a writer when I really need it. When I start to doubt why I write or if I should keep trying, I pray. He never fails to answer. :)

  9. Sisters are the best, Terri. I don't know what I'd do without mine! I don't believe we can ever have to much family either, so welcome sis. :)

  10. Welcome April! (love your name, by the way) :)
    I must echo what Missy wrote about being motivated and driven by different things at different times. Sometimes I need to achieve a self-imposed deadline, other times certain characters are "driving me" to finish writing their story.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us, and CONGRATS on your writing success! (and I'm smiling at your comments about your sister - - my sisters are wonderful).
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

    p.s. Waving at Terri W.! Thanks for your sweet note of congrats! :)

  11. It's the drive that gives me momentum.

  12. Hi April. What a great post...thank you. I am a procrastinator from way back and I have to fight with myself in many areas to get things done. It is really hard for me. People who do not have this problem find it hard to understand but it is a real problem that I did not choose and I hate about myself. That is why I work hard to defeat it.

    I do better at everything when I am given a deadline, whether it is by someone else or self imposed. I just need to give myself more and more deadlines to complete my tasks. I also do better when I am held accountable to someone else.

    I would love to win one of your books.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  13. Grubs? Welcome oh brave woman!!

    The need for peanut butter and jelly drives me.

    Which is why I have a problem with perma free.


  14. Good morning, April. It's great to meet you, and thanks for sharing.

    What a fabulous cover for Justice Burning, and I'd love to have my name in the drawing. Thanks!

  15. Loved this post, April. Yeah, I admit, there are times when the drive isn't there. But it needs to be! Knowing why I'm writing the story helps me. Knowing that someone wants to see this story has become a huge motivator for me when I wondered if I should just give up. :)

    I love your covers!

  16. Hi April.

    Now I'm trying to decide what drives me.

    The only answer that pops right into my head (which can't be right) is that I love it.

    I love writing. Can that be answer enough?

  17. Terri, I'm glad you mentioned the Genesis finalists!! Congrats to all of you!!

  18. Mary, I think it can. It's one of the things that drives me. I miss writing when I'm away from it.

  19. Oh, and I also get grumpy when I'm not writing. :)

  20. Success, or semi-success, motivates me. I keep an Encouragement file on my computer and refer to it, well, often.
    Failure also motivates me, strangely enough. If I get a so-so contest score, which is usually one out of the three, and the judge gives me CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, I dive in and do what they suggested. If they're snarky (like one in 100), then I get a little down.
    But what motivates me the most now is the double whammy of my age and what's happening in publishing. I'm 64 and I don't know how much time I'll have, AND I don't know how much longer traditional publishing will be around. My dream is to have my first book published, between covers, a print edition, something I can hold in my hands, and I don't know if that's going to happen. I know I'll publish something somewhere, God has laid this on my heart, but I don't know the mechanics. Oh well...
    I am also a Genesis semi-finalist and am thrilled. It is the furthest I've EVER gotten with them. Congrats to Patti Jo, Natalie and anyone I missed. A woman I used to be in a crit group with is ALSO a semi-finalist! This is going to be an interesting year.
    Kathy Bailey

  21. I know "finaling" has become a verb, but what about "semi-finagling"? Can I tell people I've "semi-ed"? Or will they think I'm a truck? Input please...

  22. Off to day job, check in later.

  23. Thank you, Patti Jo! Thanks for being here and sharing with us. I love to hear what drives others to write. :)

  24. I feel you, Cindy. Deadlines motivate me better than anything. You'd think I'd get better at motivating myself the longer I do it and the more strides I make, but it's an everyday battle. :)

  25. Tina Radcliff I appreciate your admiration, but looking back I think "Wow, how stupid was that?" LOL It does give me a little more sympathy towards my nieces and nephews when they pull a 'stupid' to impress others or prove themselves. Been there... :)

    I think I'd have to agree with you on the PB&J now days. Thanks for being here today.

  26. Welcome Jackie and Jeanne T! I've been very blessed with covers I love. So glad you both stopped in. :)

    I agree knowing why you're telling the story makes a big difference! It's no longer just words on paper but a creation to breathe life into. :)

  27. Mary, I think Love for doing it is a perfectly acceptable answer. If that's what is deep in your heart that keeps compelling you, than you got it. :) Praise God for giving you a drive to do something you love and then showing you success! :)

  28. I understand how you feel Kathy Bailey! Seeing those contest scores/reviews usually has me on a roller coaster. :) I love that you know God has put it on your heart to write! What a great thing to drive you and lean on when you're feeling weak. I felt many times like I would NEVER see anything published, but God has His own timing. Good luck!

  29. April, drive and motivation work well together, don't they! Seems I need both. :)

    Excellent post!

    I'll stick to traditional foods, although I applaud your courage to down the chip, grubs and all. :)

    Have you been to Kirksville, MO? I lived there years ago. Lovely farm country. Great people.

  30. Welcome to Seekerville, April. Thanks for your inspiring post! Great to see how you pushed past procrastination to write the stories you're called to write. Isn't it cool that we each have a special perspective that God wants to use for His kingdom?

    Thanks for three giveaways. Your books look wonderful!


  31. Thanks, Debby, I prefer 'normal' food now myself too. :) I've been through Kirksville - beautiful place. I'm further south, in the Kansas City Metro area.

  32. Thank you, Janet Dean. :) Yes! I love hearing how others have found their drive and how God uses it to bless others. I'm so glad we have such a plethora (my fave word!) of perspectives. The world would be so boring otherwise.

  33. April, it's great to have you in Seekerville, and I'm really intrigued by your insights into drive and motivation. The way you've explained the differences and how they work together makes sense to me. Thank you!

  34. Thank you, Myra, I always love my time here at Seekerville. You all are rockin'. :)

  35. Hi April,
    Right now a looming deadline is giving me a whole bunch of drive and motivation - not to mention 'panic'!

  36. Hi, April! Thanks for an enlightening post.

    I read your bio and was surprised when I saw that you have a degree in Graphological Science. I didn't know there was such a thing. I'm curious. Do you make use of handwriting analysis in your stories?

  37. Hi Susan, thanks for being here. Panic can be a big motivator! lol, I know I've felt that before. Good luck with your deadline. :)

  38. Welcome Keli Gwyn! I received my Associates in Graphological Science from a woman who held her Masters and had practiced for years (even assisting the Kansas Bureau of Investigation). She was able to teach classes but only certified to give associates degrees. I would have to go to Germany to get my Masters in that particular Science.

    I do love the science and in Justice Burning, Morgan Daryl uses her skills in graphology to help catch the arsonist. It was a lot of fun entwining it into the story. :)

  39. Note for KAYBEE: I saw a Kathleen Bailey on the Genesis Semi-finalist list - - is that YOU?
    If so, a HUGE CONGRATS!!! :)

  40. What drives me is a little voice inside of me that says "get going you will do it ". I am not a writer but am driven to do whatever needs done around around the house or in life. Can't stand thngs hanging over my head. If for example I need to make an important call or do a dreaded project jump head first into doing it because I can't stand thning about what needs done. With me it just get's done, it's my personality ! I would love to have a chance to win a print copy.

  41. Welcome, Deanne! What a blessing to have that drive to just get it done right away and not put it off. :) There are times I can do that and others I need a push. It takes all kinds though to make this world work and it's people like you and my sister who don't put things off that can push me back on track and I'm really thankful for you guys. :)

  42. Hey April! Great post! I need my drive put into gear to finish the race strong. At times I feel that I am not moving forward. I love your book covers!


  43. Hi Caryl, thank you for being here. Happy Friday to you too. :) I have a lot of moments when I feel I'm not moving at all, but it's those moments when I do that keep me digging back in to find my drive and keep going. I have so far to go it's almost daunting, but when I look back and see how far God has brought me the tasks ahead don't seem quite as impossible. I'm still such a newbie, but ONE day, I'll be like Mary and the other gals on here - pro's that can inspire others like me. ;)

  44. April, you are perfectly NORMAL! Well, as normal as a writer can be! HA!

    Most people with a desire to improve their craft or knowledge base gravitate to topics they feel they need to work on the most.

    You are wise beyond your years!

  45. Okay, I'm not quite over the eating grub thing -- give me a minute...nope, not going to get over the grub thing. Ewwwwwwww! LOL

    Thankfully the trailer video distracted me and settled my tummy. Much rather read about arson than grub eating -- does that make me a bad person? Thanks to Vince for posting the link, by the way. Awesome trailer -- it sold me.

  46. I'm so Normal, Pam, I'm ABnormal! lol :) And although I'd love to think I've earned some wisdom, I know I have so much more to gain. I usually find after writing a post like this I've learned more for me than I've probably shared, but what a great experience. I'm glad there are places like Seekerville where we can learn from each other and gain a little more. Thanks for being here today. :)

  47. Welcome, Kav! SO glad the trailer won you over. I can't say the grub was a proud moment, but it's usually our NOT so proud moments we really learn from. lol.

    Fire has always intrigued me. We had a house fire when I was only 5 because my brother was playing with matches. So arson and Firefighters have come to stand for both something that brings both fear and heroes, as well as reminders of how God can help you overcome all things. :)

  48. Hi April
    I'm saying wow to your Graphological degree. way cool.
    I'm also nodding vigorously at much of what you shared. A very humor filled post with Truth inserted in a way that can stick (which brings to mind my five year old's excuse when he can't seem to relay what he learned in pre-school... "but momma, the words hit my ear wax and bounced out of my brain").

    ANYWAY... after reading about your publication journey, I'm feeling a bit better about mine. I will be working on that FOCUS on what drives me to do what I do. Usually it's a God thing - but I need more specifics for the motivation to kick in.

    Please sign me up for any of your wonderful, generous gift offers. The Justice Burning is an AWESOME, eye catching cover. I love firefighters too.

    Thanks for sharing with Seekerville!!!

  49. .

    Castle was just renewed for another year.

  50. Hey, April, WELCOME to Seekerville!!

    And, gosh, I've never thought about the difference between "drive" and "motivation" before, so thanks for clarifying that -- VERY helpful!!

    You asked: What is the deep seeded, compelling urge that keeps you coming back to the keyboard?

    I would have to say for me, it's twofold -- my passion for God and my passion for romance, the two of which I'm compelled to intertwine in stories that reflect life lessons I've learned.

    Going from being a very hostile agnostic to a on-fire believer at the age of 23 in the wild-child era of free love, my greatest desire and drive in life is to try and convince young women today (or older ones) that a love affair with God is the only way to true peace and happiness. And that application of God's precepts -- in their sexuality and their life -- is so much more satisfying than the 50 Shades mentality today.

    As far as motivation, the only thing that really does it for me is 1.) momentum -- when I'm on a roll and cranking out the pages, then I'm incredibly motivated to keep going. And 2.) a deadine! :)

    Thanks for a very insightful post, April, and happy weekend!


  51. Hey DebH, thanks for stopping in. I LOVE your five-year-old's quote! LOL, I feel that way some days. You should use that in one your books. Very unique.

    I'm glad my journey can be an inspiration to someone else. I've certainly had plenty of writer's help inspire and lift me up over the years. It's good to feel like I can pay that forward in a small way. :)

  52. YAY, Vince! I love Castle! I'll celebrate with you over the renew. :)

  53. Hi Julie, I'm so glad I got be here with you all again. I love your description of what drives you and how you've entwined that in your writing. Your drive is not only clear to you, I can see it clearly in the books you write as well. :)

  54. Some days I don't know what motivates or drives me. Other days I feel like I just have to get busy and do this. I am definitely more motivated by deadlines, though. I need more self disciple. Please enter me in the drawing.

  55. Welcome, Sandy! Deadlines get me motivated too. And although I'm guessing that was a typo, I think a little more DISCIPLE in me would definitely make me a better writer and help me accomplish more. ;) Don't you love when God turns even the little things into great reminders?

  56. Yes, Patti Jo, it's me. What fun, huh? Tell you what, if we both win you make a peach cobbler and I'll do something up in chocolate. Can't wait!
    Kathy Bailey
    a.k.a. kaybee

  57. Wow, Natalie and Kathy Bailey too.

    Congrats Ladies.

    Chocolate and Peach pie. Won't be as much fun as April's grubs, but I'm game.

  58. Hi April:

    I'm on chapter 5 of "Justice Burning" and it is so detailed on how a fire department works and on arson investigations and on EMT procedures that I'm wondering if you researched this as an outsider or if your family is made up of firefighters? And how do you know all the different colors you get when you burn different combustibles?

    We just had a post on research and now I am interested in how you did it. Very, very exciting so far but I'm wondering when the heroine is going to make an appearance. It is really interesting, as a man, for me to see you start the book with the hero's story and family life. This is not a stock 'contest entry' opening where the hero and heroine have to meet in the first three pages. What a refreshing surprise! I think readers are going to love this book!


  59. Great post, April. Thanks so much for sharing with us today. :)

  60. You're right, April, that was a typo. I don't even know where that came from, so it must have been a God thing.

  61. Kaybee - congrats on your Genesis semi-finalist!

  62. Hi April:

    Yay! The heroine just entered one page after I wrote the last post. It's a romance!

  63. That's okay, Tina, I'd gladly choose Peach pie and chocolate these days! Yumm! :) And if I didn't mention it before, let me add my Congrats to Natalie and KayBee, The Genesis is a big deal!

  64. Thanks, Vince, your comments just made my day. :)

    No one in my family is a firefighter or EMT/Paramedic, but a good friend from church is a fire investigator and he spent a lot of time giving me a condensed course on fire investigation and how fire burns. I also visited a training course and watched the firefighters go through the motions, such as suiting up and running drills. As for colors of fire? I watched things burn. And before someone calls me a Pyro,lol, don't worry it's just one of those things I've noticed over the years. I also watched a few videos to see how colors change. Another friend trained to be an EMT and she gave tips to make things clearer, but it's amazing how much I picked up googling and watching training videos.

    The Heroine, Morgan Daryl does enter the story later than in a traditional story, but Aidan's family's tale is what started my passion with this story to begin with. It may be unusual to start with the male character, but it just felt right for this story. :)

  65. Thank you, Anna, I'm so glad you were here today. :)

  66. Debby Giusti, a friend just posted on facebook that her son fixed MO Cicada's last year to see what they tasted like. Apparently Shrimp and sometimes Asparagus. Now I don't feel so bad about my grub because I'm certainly saying no to this MO delicacy. Maybe I should have asked, "Would you eat a Cicada?" LOL

  67. I enjoyed your post today.. nacho w/grubs? When I was young we had chocolate covered bugs, tasted like nuts! Thanks for that memory :) please toss me into the drawing. Justice Burning, sounds intense!