Lately (and by lately, I mean today) I’ve been having trouble finding the motivation to write. And I’m not sure if it’s the lack of structure in my life or just a depressive phase. About a week ago I had all sorts of motivation to write and it lasted until yesterday when I had a particularly frustrating writing session.
I tried to write some of my first draft of a fantasy romance novel. But I had no idea what to write or where to go from the moment I was at. I don’t plan my novels beforehand, which can be both a blessing and a curse. It means I have to do a lot of editing after the first draft to put the scenes in order or simply to make it coherent and relevant to the story instead of pointless scenes and ramblings that go off on tangents.
The only problem?
By the time I have finished the first draft, I am so sick of the story that I don’t want to edit it. On top of that, I rarely come back to edit old drafts until years later. A 22,000-word story is almost impossible to edit because I moved too fast through the story. Not to mention I wrote it when I was fifteen and a terrible writer. And it’s a lot harder to add to the story than cut down on it, as many experienced writers will tell you.
But the longer a story gets the harder and more tedious a process it is to go through every word with a fine-tooth comb to get it publication-ready. I want to be a published writer, but I also want to put my best work out there, which is a conflict of interests and honestly quite contradictory. Not to mention that I am a perfectionist at heart.
These kinds of thoughts suck the motivation right out of me and send me into a depressive state. It’s a funk that I get into every once in a while that is hard to get out of.
But this blog has been good for me. I type out each blog post in about twenty minutes. I rarely edit them and publish them quickly and easily. It helps get my perfectionist tendencies a break. When I look back through my old blog posts and find typos or other such things, I force myself not to change them. It’s a nice way to challenge myself.
I wasn’t going to write blog posts today. But reading a writing book helped me find my motivation again. I stopped reading in the middle of the sentence to keep the motivation going. Nothing is more elusive than the Writing Motivation Muse.
So how do I find writing motivation? There are several things I try:
- Read a book about writing or creativity
- Listen to a podcast about writing (DIY MFA is a great one)
- Read the kinds of books I would love to write
- Read other articles and blog posts about writing (I have PLENTY bookmarked on my computer, just waiting to be read)
- Talk to my other writing friends
- Watch movies that inspire me
- If none of that works, I take a break and think about something else until I do find the motivation to write
This is a lot of things to try. I don’t usually try all of them in a day. It depends on how much time I have on my hands and how my attention span looks that day. But one of them usually works. Often, just when I have given up hope the muse suddenly appears.
How do you find motivation for writing? What sucks your motivation away?