Being a writer is not an easy job. It usually doesn’t pay well and takes up a lot of time creating, marketing, publicizing, and selling a work, and there’s usually a constant need to produce more. Add in any number of psychological quirks, from imposter syndrome to doubts about one’s abilities to convincing oneself or others one has a worthwhile story to tell and the pressures inherent in being an author can become overwhelming. It’s easy to throw up one’s hands and say, “Enough!”
While I was in the writing program at NYU, I spent most of my time in the workshop writing and rewriting a novel I was developing. Consequently I probably didn’t make the most of the opportunity to develop my writing skills. When I graduated without getting a handle on the novel, I felt burnt out and lacked any real desire to write. It wasn’t until I discovered the Usenet newsgroups on the Internet that my motivation to write was rekindled, as I found a quick and easy way to publish my written creations and a worldwide audience with which to share them.
No one needs a valid reason to write. We do it because we enjoy it, regardless of whether anyone sees it or not. Sometimes, however, the simple pleasure can be overridden by life and the necessities of work, school, or family. Finding time to write presents as much of a challenge as finding the right words. Motivation is key to pushing oneself forward despite the odds and despite the lack of success one may wish to achieve.
I’m usually working on something all the time, either writing stories or editing a work in progress or setting up the final copy for the printers or attempting to cajole readers into buying a copy of a book. The challenge for me is to focus on the more important project and not become distracted by what I could be doing. Sometimes I’ll start a new project before I’ve adequately tackled an existing one. On one level, this helps with motivation because I always have something creative to turn to when I need a break, but it can make for a long time between releases. Still, I’m usually able to get back to whatever I need to work on rather than the wide range of alternatives I have.
The best method I’ve found is to just go back to the project and work on what I can until the wheels start spinning again. It’s a hit and miss prospect for me and I often have to remind myself that a project needs to be finished. Once the words start flowing again, the motivation comes easily. Getting there is the important part. In the meantime, I move forward as best as I can and always try to keep the project foremost in my mind. So far, so good.