At some point every writer has trouble with motivation (or her brother, procrastination). We get sidetracked with thousands of other tiny daily chores, putting off our writing, or waiting for inspiration to strike that at some point we no longer feel the need to write at all. Then we move on to other projects that seem more interesting, that will yield more immediate results, that give us the same sense of accomplishment as a strong, well-written scene.
Then along comes a challenge (from a twitter feed or writing website) or a friend, who also happens to be a writer, tells you about the upcoming printing of his next novel, describing the excitement of choosing a cover and having to schedule book signings. The vicarious enthusiasm we feel for his good fortune produces in us a seed of envy that, if nurtured and pruned, grows and blossoms into the drive to do as well as him.
Some advice I’ve come to rely on to keep my motivation high is to write every day. In the past I wrote only when inspiration struck me, and at times went a month or longer without putting a single word down. Since deciding to continue my Master’s program and while working bimonthly with an awesome, prolific critique group, I can’t find enough time in the day to work on my own novel. The creativity it takes to analyze and critique literature breeds the creativity I need to continue my own story.
Now, I purposely set aside an hour or two to write, revise, outline, plan, edit, and write some more. I’m a convert to scheduled writing and its results manifest in completed chapters, new storylines, and blog posts like these.
Don’t let whimsy decide your success. Set aside time everyday to write and the motivation to continue will follow. And eventually so will a completed manuscript.