I apologize for not posting sooner!
Why have I not posted? Well, my focus has been diverted to the rest of the things on my list for the year. But those things have been moving very s-l-o-w-l-y.
The new year always seems to begin with this low of oh gosh I have so much to do and I am not sure how to accomplish it. Lately, my parents and I have had a lot of conversations about the things on our lists… mainly: how to begin and keep moving forward. As Stephen King said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
A large part of any creative life is the ability to begin on your own. Nowadays, almost everyone’s life is heavily directed by either their job or the school that they are in.
Because of this, much of the world seems to be based off of deadlines. Like many people, I tend to do things at the last moment when a deadline is in front of me. No matter what that deadline is. The thing is, when you are doing your own work, you usually have to set those deadlines for yourself. You are your own supervisor.
So… how does one stay motivated? And how does one find motivation when it has been dropped?
Because I am talking about writing: the list may be slightly smaller than it would otherwise. However, there are always thousands of ways to do something. The list that I have here is slightly based off of a post from September (you can find it here).
You write because you love it, right?
Creative work almost always comes from passion… and if you love something, you can usually find the motivation to do whatever that thing is. So, maybe a loss of motivation can be distilled (by ancient alchemists) into two things:
- Questioning how much you love what you are trying to find motivation for.
- Not knowing how you could possibly accomplish anything, because- by the gods and goddess- this world is very large and very scary and you are tiny.
Assuming that it is possible to distill questions: you must now face whichever one of those is your fear.
If you are questioning how much you love something: well… you simply need to ask yourself what your life would be like without it. Would it be better or worse? Do you yearn to do the creative work that you are questioning? Can you go a day without thinking about it?
If you do not know how you would ever be able to accomplish anything: look at what your dream is and start following it. Do your best and see what happens. If someone tells you that what you are trying to do is impossible, it simply means that it is impossible in their mind. Who knows, maybe you will end up doing something extraordinary!
Once you know why you are stuck: How does one actually find motivation?
Explore like the great adventurer that you could be.
Here is a list of things that might be good to try:
- Read something that you never thought you would. You know those times that I have mentioned reading when not writing? Yes? That is where this comes from. Personally, I have spent a lot of time reading this month. Also, reading can be counted as research.
- Move around. So something active. Seriously, it will help.
- Learn something new. Whether it is what happened in the Geneva revolution of 1782, or a new knitting style, learning new things can bring ideas… and ideas can bring that theoretical muse.
- Look for inspiration. Maybe find a few good quotes or a writing prompt that will give you at least a few lines. It is okay if you do not like what you are writing in that moment, you are writing something and that is what matters.
- Go outside. Remember that tree that you always end up staring at? The one with the crooked branches and the perpetual bird droppings? It just might end up becoming a major plot point.
- Go somewhere new. Explore. Step into an unfamiliar museum and study one of the artifacts; you never know when that knowledge might become come in handy.
- People-watch. You can see some strange things when watching people. That woman to your right with the puffy hair could be your main character’s grandmother. Coffee shops are great; do not forget about the coffee and hot chocolate… those are always good. People-watching is always better with a mug of something hot.
- Play games with yourself. Look through a dictionary and find a way to write with the first word you see.
- Read the news. Maybe you will end up staring at an old newspaper, or maybe you will end up laughing at the ridiculous politics that surrounds us. But you might end up finding a good idea among the musty pages.
- Motivation is often linked to inspiration. So, all of those tools that you may have collected to gather inspiration can also get you started.
- Daydream. I know, I know, this is probably the most counter-intuitive thing that I have ever mentioned. But you must dream to accomplish something, right? Think about how wonderful it will be to have a finished manuscript, or a reader contacting you and asking you why your main character is the way he or she is. Dream; and then step back and figure out how you can make at least part of that dream a reality.
- Find a way to have fun. Often, when you loose motivation, the entire world seems to press down on you. But do not let that stop you from getting up and having fun! Even if it is for a brief moment. You do not even have to get up: watch one of your favorite TV shows or listen to music. Do something that will free your characters and start your brain up again.
Just like an old train: parts need to be greased and coal needs to be added.
Alright… that is one more list that could be never ending, but I will stop there because so much of everything else I could add are details. Customize your own list. Try things and see what happens.
And if you have anything that you would like me to add (or any suggestions), please leave a comment.
Now… onto the next part of this post…
Remember how I mentioned that I am planning on publishing Subliminal this year? Yes?
I still am.
So far, editing is very slow (which is part of the reason why I have not been around much), but I am slowly working through the entire book. I hope to have a full second draft by the end of this month.
I am also hoping to publish by the end of the summer. Of course, that may not happen. But I can wish and dream.
Before I disappear again: I have a cover to share with you…
I am still not sure if I will publish under a pseudonym or my real name, but that is a post for another time…