I was looking over my blog today and felt a little wussy-panted. I haven't been posting very much. I mean, I figure I should be racking my brain at least couple times a month! The truth is, however, that I've been pretty hot and cold with writing this month, in general. The hot was two weeks ago. I met my four hour a week goal and pumped out 6300 words. Hurray! Dents in writing are a good thing. The cold would be last week. When I only wrote for about 20 minutes putting out 519 words. There were of course extenuating circumstances, but it got me thinking about motivation, and I thought it might be an interesting blog topic.
I'm interested in getting some feed back for an additional reason that I'd like to preface my statements with. I've noticed looking around at other writer's blogs that everyone's end goal is not the same. I probably expose my naivete, but I was a little surprised. I thought that everyone that wrote was driven by the desire to publish! However, more than once I've read posts indicating that some writers write for the joy of writing, or are satisfied to write for friends and family - or simply speak about publishing as an "eventual goal, but in the meantime (etc.)" - all acceptable and admirable goals. It was an interesting discovery as I'm on the other end of the spectrum. By heavens, I like writing, but if my book does nothing but sit on my shelf as a manuscript, I feel like my soul will fester. I want it to reach the masses! I want to share it with all lovers of the genre! I want to bring another re-readable book to the audience's libraries. I was inspired to write when I found a book that opened a new world to me! I want to do that for another person. There are all sorts of reasons for this desire, and how it's fueled, but that's for another blog post that will likely never see the light of day.
My point in bringing this up - is that since people have different goals, they must also have different motivations. When needing a writing shove, I used to read for motivation. In retrospect this proved problematic for me. I quickly learned that reading genres different than the one I was writing threw of my writers chi. Eventually I realized that for me to stay focused in what I'm writing, I can't actually read much at all. Being a character lover, when I read a really good book, I want to emulate it! Well that can obviously be a slippery slope. So I decided that while this is a real bummer, it's worth it to me to retain my core story and character arcs. I figure I can start reading once my first draft is done. Then I know I won't look back and gag when I realize that I sucked the life out of a book I read only to spit it into my own writing.
While occasionally I'll just force myself (which usually brings out inferior product) - the most common practice I have is to get excited about the success of FINISHING - and this is where I tie into that tangent about goals- *wink*. I often go read the blogs of published authors in the genre I write. My two favorite are Patrick Rothfuss's blog (he's very entertaining) and Patricia C. Wrede's blog (she's very informative). Reading about people who have "made it" gets me excited about the potential success within my reach. Something I haven't done for awhile, but want to begin again, is reading a section of "Robert's Rules of Writing" by Robert Masello. It was a book given to me by my grandma when I was in high school, and she were trying to encourage me. I actually know nothing about the writer, but the book makes writing cool, and is both entertaining and informative. I don't always agree or follow what he says, but the book does what I want it to do: It helps me get writing.
The last thing that I'll occasionally do is get feedback from my beta readers. I have very few at this point... basically two. Coming up with the right questions for them can sometimes kick start my mind. Similar to this, is getting my husby to brainstorm through the problems I'm facing. Sometimes we'll do so over dinner, and can last over an hour, sometimes two. These help a ton, though, usually in a long term way, as I'm usually burned out for the day by the time we're done.
What about you? What do you do when writing doesn't sound fun, but you know you need to do it?