December 30, 2007
How do I find time to write and what motivates me?
I think these questions were easier to answer during NaNoWriMo. For me I had to put a lot of other things on hold to do it. It took up a lot of time I normally would have been doing other things. But I did NaNoWriMo to see if I could do it. And I accomplished the goal.
Asking myself how I find time to write and be motivated is like asking myself what makes me tick. But I don't confuse the issue of being a writer with finding time and motivation. I don't even question whether I am a writer or not. That really is not the subject for me. I don't really care if I'm called a writer or not. I know this sounds strange to those who are dedicated to becoming a writer or who want to be known as a writer or who are published writers and proud of it. I can't say I don't have pride, but it's different for me. I discovered I liked getting my ideas down on paper and I like telling stories that I make up. I like reading my own stories. I like the creative process of making a story, whatever the inspriation. So I am not motivated to write by the idea of becoming or being a writer. I don't even really care about the definition of 'writer.' But I do care about the motives I have for doing anything and going through the processes involved in accomplishing something.
In my case motivation is what drives or sets things into motion. If I want to write, it comes from some motivation. (In NaNoWriMo's case, it was a motivation to see if I could stretch my known limitations and actually do this too. I think I will need a new motivation next year if I do it again.) It's the same with painting. It's the same with practicing music. If I have the motivation I'll do it. If not motivated, I won't.
Here are some of my motivations:
I love to create: I love the creative process which is filled with troubleshooting and experimentation. It's full of energy. I generally try to focus on the creative process - problem solving. The end product usually amazes me and I like it, but then I move on. The object created doesn't really hold the same meaning for me as the process. I focus on how do I create this? How do I make it better? How do I finish this story? etc.
I love to try new things: Experiment, learn, experience something new. Again it's full of energy. I tend to lose interest after I've experienced something. So then I tend to look for new ways to experience something familiar. I tried writing flash or nano fiction of exactly 100 words for each story. The rules are simple: 100 words containing all the elements of a story: At least one character, a setting, a beginning, middle and end. I don't think I've mastered this yet, but I did create 19 stories that meet the criteria so far.
I love Accomplishment: Getting something done is a reward for me. I get crabby when I leave projects undone. I have one painting in my closet I started and never finished because I could not get myself to settle on the writing to use on it, or practice the caligraphy required to carry it out. That's on hold, but not forgotten. I just pulled all of my calligraphy stuff together and started practicing again. I love to try new things, and to be creative but I also like to get things done. Be finished.
I discovered I don't really like editing my NaNoWriMo book and my end of the month deadline is slipping but I'm still working on it because I almost need to get this first draft done. Just to get it done. And I've discovered, accomplishment rarely happens without goals and then discipline to do whatever is necessary to reach them.
I have to keep busy with something: Most of the time it comes down to my choices. When I start to beat myself up over not finishing a project or not keeping to a planned schedule, or whatever, I have to remind myself that I only have a limited number of hours in a day and I am making choices all day long to do whatever it is I am doing. I do know that I don't like doing nothing. I would rather be actively involved in something. So I generally have more activities than I can really do. And since I can't do nothing, I have a few project ideas and story ideas and things I have wanted to work on for a while that I keep in reserve when I'm looking for things to choose to do. That is one reason I love learning languages also - there is no limit to how much learning there is and I can pick it up at any moment when I don't know what else to do with myself. Then I'm always busy accomplishing, trying new things, creating.
So when I think I should be writing more or practicing music more, or doing more artwork or focusing more on my job or my relationships, I have to look at the root of those desires, at what choices I'm making and why. Then I can choose to make one or the other a higher priority. By the way, this month I'm doing everything I put on hold last month and editing really is lowest on my list. So as a consequence, I may finish the first draft by next weekend or by the following weekend.
I've also started working on the plot for my next novel which will be the same length, but written over the course of this year and it's going to use the same characters. If I don't hurry up and set my goals for writing this, I may end up planning until next November, then write it because I have to, haha. But I don't want that to happen either. That's why I have to get back to editing now.
Have a great new year!