It’s a perpetual problem for me, and I suspect for most of us, staying motivated. Especially since I have no deadline except for a self-imposed one. Which is a roundabout way of saying I know I’ve blogged about this before, but it is something that surfaces often:
How can I maintain a writing schedule and discipline, especially when things–MI-5, the recession, my son’s homework, ironing the Dandy Spouse‘s shirts, going to the gym, etc.–all serve to distract me from writing?
Right now, I am sitting in my friend Liz Maverick‘s apartment, having made a Writing Date with her. That is one way for me to write, if I schedule it in; another way is to remind myself that while I am not published now, the only way for me to have that possibility is to generate new writing (my agent, btw, is still out with my Regency-set historical, but things are moving slowly, so it’s not completely a dead ms. Whew for me).
Another way to motivate myself is through rewards: If I write this chapter, I can justify spending money and time on novels. If I don’t keep writing, I’ll just be wasting my time and money on a passion I can ill afford.
Plus Spring always makes me cheery, and today is a particularly beautiful day in New York City.
So now? I am going back to writing. Let me know how you stay motivated for whatever you do.
Oh, it is so hard to stay motivated! I have a deadline, an easy one to make, but I’m feeling not motivated at all. Drudgey. Just did a blog entry. Must get on the book!
How wonderful to have a writing date!
I’m looking for my missing motivation right now, because after writing 50K words for NaNoWriMo, I don’t think I’ve written as many as 10K since. It’s just been a rough winter. December we were snowed in for a week right before going out of town for two, so I was putting in twelve-hour days working from home while trying to amuse a 4-year-old with cabin fever, which destroyed my writing rhythm. Then my husband got sick in January, and BOTH of us have been sick this month. I’m just now starting to feel normal after four weeks of bad cold followed by sinus infection followed by pneumonia.
So there’s this part of me that’s almost afraid to get back to writing, because for the past three months every time I’ve tried there’s a blizzard or someone gets pneumonia! But I’m motivating myself by reminding myself that spring is almost here (as is evidenced by the fact all my baseball blogs are full of Spring Training reports) and that blizzards and pneumonia are winter things.
This is a nagging problem for all of us. Even those of us with deadlines.
Maybe we should remember that we really do love doing this.
I love Spring too! The cherry trees are blossoming here.
This sounds negative, but for me it isn’t. Aging keeps me motivated. I’m getting a bit long in the tooth and I’m unwilling to abandon my dreams.
Yoga also helps tremendously. On the days I do yoga, everything goes better!
Megan, I’m going to be in NYC for 6 weeks this summer, if you want to meet up at a cafe and write.
I remember Liz Maverick from SFA-RWA, although I was a newbie so she won’t remember me. IIRC she’s one motivated lady!
Motivation is about knowing that you CAN do something. Sometimes it is more about knowing that even a little bit counts toward something versus trying to cover everything at once. Having seen the highs and lows you can place perspective on those tasks that are dogging you.
Writing dates are good, except when your writing date feeds you apple turnovers instead of making you write.
You have had such a tough year! I hope you get back into the groove soon.
Thanks for letting us know that you guys have it hard, too. It is something I love, but it is damn hard.
And JaneGeorge, I would love to get together! Email me– megan @ meganframpton. com and give me the deets.
I write every spare moment and never have a problem with motivation.
KIDDING! I haven’t been successful in finding a sure-fire motivation trigger yet. Here are three things that have helped:
(1) Writing down a limited task (“draft scene 1,” “polish scene 2,” “address these three research questions,” etc.). This exercise helps me keep the edges of the 1″ picture frame (thanks, Anne Lamott!) in mind.
(2) Looking ahead to the _next_ project … that helps me keep this one in perspective. The goal then becomes to write the book, not to stress out over whether or not I can make it was wonderful as it is in my imagination. (That’s always the goal, but it can be a bit squelching to think in those terms.)
(3) Just plain old reminding myself that most people have to prod themselves to write. Tom Wolfe says, “creative writing courses’ great benefit is that you are forced to write, and forcing yourself to write is difficult work.” Whoa, even TW thinks that way? Great!
Thanks for the post, Megan!
Every time I think I don’t want to write or don’t have time or am just not feeling it, I say to myself “Do you WANT to be at Wal-Mart long enough for them to issue you a shopping cart as a walker so you can be a door greeter?”
Works for me.
First of all, I am so happy to hear that your historical is still being shopped around. I have a couple of friends who are slowly but surely making the rounds and it’s been nerve wracking for me. I can only imagine how they are driving through it all. Still they write because even unpublished, it’s all about the next book.
Generally speaking, I have every few external motivations. I am a verocious reader but have found a phenomenal UBS near me, so rewarding myself with new books doesn’t always work for me. I am a master at rationalization.
Right now my internal motivators are my desire to write a book I know others will want to read. I still think I can do this. My DH is behind me all the way and that spurs me on. Lol, even my kids are all for me. My youngest tells people ‘My mother is publishing a book.’ I try to tell her that mommy has to write it first. She just smiles and tells me that’s a given already.