Well, actually, not motivation, per se, but more the willpower and the focus to sit down and freaking do the work.
But motivation is related to that, so it’s my topic for today :-p
I’m not alone in struggling with this. I think it’s pretty nearly universal. A lot of people have trouble getting their butt in the chair and their words on the page (figuratively speaking, of course, especially since I don’t write my first drafts at a desk these days). Kern Windwraith had a guest blogger, JoAnne, over at her blog the other day talking about this exact thing. Her point? Just Do It.
It’s fantastic advice, but doesn’t necessarily make it easy to follow.
Over time I’ve slowly begun to understand the things that motivate me. The two biggest ones are Deadlines and Accountability. I’ve totally signed up for workshops and paid good money just to have deadlines I had to meet. I’ve used my critique group meetings the same way. I didn’t win NaNoWriMo until I founded the NaNoLJers group (now run by the awesome Amber Stults) and knew that people were watching how I did and would notice if I slacked off.
Deadlines and Accountability. Those are the tricks for me.
This year, not only did I post a list of goals for the year publicly on this blog where everyone can see them (and see if I don’t meet them), but I also signed up for Write 1 Sub 1.
Write 1 Sub 1 has been fantastic for keeping myself motivated, largely because it combines accountability and deadlines together. The idea is pretty much summed up in the challenge’s name — you write 1 piece and you submit 1 piece. In my case my goal is to write (at least) one story or poem a month and submit (at least) one new story or poem a month. Some super ambitious people are writing and submitting at least one story a week. I’m not that brave or masochistic LOL I think most people doing the challenge write and sub the same story, but I’m not like most people.
When I write a first draft of something (especially poetry) I like to let it rest. A lot of people do, I know, but I like to let it rest a good long time. Like, at least a few weeks. At least. That means I’m never writing and submitting the same piece of work in the same monthly period, but I am writing and submitting, so that’s good.
We’re only four months into this year and already if it hadn’t been for W1S1 I wouldn’t have written anything new for at least two of those months. It’s easy, for me, to get caught up in the novel I’m revising or Niteblade, or whatever and just not write anything new, but W1S1 keeps that from happening, which is a good thing. A very good thing.
It’s not too late to join in if you haven’t already and this sounds like something you might find useful. You can check it out at Write 1 Sub 1 Do you use another similar challenge/website/program/group to stay motivated to write? I’d love to hear about it. Sometimes diversity helps and you never know when I may need a little extra something to help keep me motivated.
This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter M. Please come back on Monday when I’ll be talking about something near and dear to my heart — Niteblade.