Friday, February 27, 2009

Staying motivated...

Writing is the ultimate work-for-yourself job. Even if you are under contract, there is no one stopping by your office, poking their head in and asking, "How's it coming?" In fact you could take months off (if under contract) YEARS (if not) and only a few people would really notice.

So, what keeps us going?

In general I am a pretty self-motivated person. Last year I was extremely motivated. I wrote in a year's time two short stories, a novella and (most of) four novels. (I say most of, because two of those I had started the previous year.) Looking back I realize this was a lot. At least it seems like a lot to me...and no one was sitting next to me forcing me to do it. I just DID.

But this year it's different. I'm still writing at a decent pace, but it's harder to get going. And I'm not hitting the daily word counts I did a year ago. I'm not sure why...

Any thoughts? What motivates you? What makes you want to open up that document (or continue on some other project if you aren't a writer) rather than say staring at the ceiling or checking Facebook/Twitter obsessively?

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, last year Facebook and Twitter weren't in my life. I may have just hit on my problem...

10 comments:

Casey said...

When I write:

I can't clean the house
I don't have to do laundry
I never have to wear pantyhouse to work
I can ignore the weeds in the yard
I can say "no" to lunch invitations I don't want to accept anyway

I have the perfect excuse to avoid all these things: I'm writing

Jess Granger said...

I'm going to argue the thought that no one is poking there head in here asking what I'm doing. Kiddos are infamous for that. :)

Jess

Lori Devoti said...

Jess, my kids prefer the scream from the other room technique. It is quite Zen.
Casey, I have lately found myself WANTING to do things like...uh...jog when I should be writing. It is beginning to worry me...
Lori

Casey said...

Well, Lori, wanting to do things like jog, or (in my case) knit or weave when you should be writing is perfectly natural. Those are fun things to do! It's the boring stuff that we can avoid. Of course, that being said, I did just clean out the fridge--one of my least favorite jobs!

Angie Fox said...

Wow, Lori - you were busy last year. If I had to guess, I'd say slowing down this year is your mind's way of renewing itself. It's hard to go full guns all the time.

Jess Granger said...

I do my best plotting and characterization while working in the garden.

Jess

Vicki said...

I think some books are gimmie books, in that they almost write themselves. The words pour out and it's all sunshine and roses (or darkness and vines depending on your genre).

And last year for you was amazing.

Erica said...

What an amazing year you had, Lori! To keep up that pace would surely kill you...

Most days, the sheer fun of writing is enough to get me bouncing with excitement in front of the keyboard.

When I had a different day job, I literally used to struggle to get out of bed. Whenever I'm having a slow day, I remember that, and realise I've got it pretty good.

And I second Casey about being able to say no to disagreeable invitations :) people who don't understand the writing process very well fall for this all the time. 'But honey, if I don't do it NOW the ideas will go away. Really, they will.' :)

Ann Aguirre said...

I like the pleasure of seeing my word count meters go up. It might sound silly, but I find if I record my progress on a daily basis, it's really hard for me NOT to meet my goal. Finishing my words for the day and putting the new tally up on my blog has become the action that frees me up to do whatever I like for the rest of the day. If I don't make it for whatever reason, I experience all kinds of guilt until I get caught up.

Of course I'm prone to worrying. My thoughts go like this:

Lovely, you've failed to make word count twice this week. Now you're 6K behind. You're not going to make your self-assigned draft deadline. Now something dreadful will happen and you won't have the book revised and polished by your actual deadline. You'll be late. They'll realize your only real skill is turning in your books on time and you'll never get another contract. Way to go!

At which point, I frantically start trying to make up the lost time. Sigh.

Lori Devoti said...

Ann, I hate to say this, but you sound a lot like me! I plan out exactly how many words I need to write each day and last year I never missed a day. NEVER--not if I planned to write that day. This year...hmm, not so much. :)
But I have to agree with everyone you do have to slow down at some point. Or at least take a period to readjust. I think I'm readjusting...at least I hope that's what I'm doing. :)
Thanks guys!
Lori