Initiative and Motivation
motivation inspiration initiative writing grr procrastination
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I'm writing this entry to talk about something I'm sure a lot of writers struggle with -- namely, finding the initiative and motivation to write. (Incidentally, authoring this entry is part of my attempt to find both.)
For over a year now, a plan to write a novel has been fermenting in my mind. I told myself at the beginning of this year that I would plan it and write it. As of this writing, I have done neither. Admittedly, my lack of progress is mainly due to procrastination; however, I probably would not be procrastinating if I had the motivation to write something and the determination to follow through.
Of course, a diagnosis is only half the battle. Where can I find a cure?
The most obvious panacea is writing to provide a message. I don't necessarily mean morals in the style of Aesop or Ayn Rand, namely, blatant and spelled out for the reader; I also mean messages like a warning about dystopia (George Orwell, 1984), the allure of evil (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings), what we're likely to find in the universe (Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey), etc. If you understand your message well, it can provide a skeleton framework for your story and, if you're lucky, inspiration.
But messages don't always work. Maybe you're too leery of being heavy-handed; maybe there are a few different messages that could or could not work, but you can't select one just yet; or, most likely, maybe your mind hasn't paired a message with a plot. What do you do?
The second cure I know for lack of writing initiative and motivation is adopting a habit of writing. This might seem contradictory at first -- how can you habituate writing if you can't write? -- but think about riding a bicycle, or swimming, or even math: You couldn't do it at first, but you learned. You can't write anything if you don't try to write anything, so write something.
A third option is to make writing into a challenge. Some people are motivated by deadlines; though I don't find them particularly inspiring, they can spur writing, especially in the case of a contest. Other people may write stories to incorporate new words into their vocabularies, try out another writing style, etc.
The fourth and final thing I can think of is to write whenever you feel emotionally charged. I find writing an excellent means of catharsis. If you feel particularly happy, sad, angry, whatever, try to translate your emotions into words.
Okay, this isn't a great blog entry, but I figured I should take advantage of having Premier perks and write another rant after such a long hiatus from written ramblings. Now I just have to see if writing the above inspired me at all...