Saturday, August 10, 2013

Motivation Station

To be a working writer means finding a way to motivate yourself to keep working. A complete novel can require you to string together 60,000 to 80,000 words, organized into cohesive storylines that are comprised of chapters. The chapters are built from scenes, which in turn rely on paragraphs which are put together one sentence at a time.

It's an incredible amount of work and more than a little daunting to consider.

I've often said if I knew how much work putting together a novel was going to be, I would never have attempted it.

So here I am, eight novels later, with an opening to a story, along with a loose outline/plot plan, looking ahead to hours and hours of work to achieve a viable draft. It's enough to make a writer throw in the towel and decide to surf Facebook instead. (No, it never does get any easier. . . )

What keeps me motivated?

First, I'm more than a little bit compulsive and having my word processor track my word count keeps me writing. Watching that number climb is as addictive as watching the score go up in a video game.

Second, this is my job. I'm a writer. And as my friend and editor, Rebecca Blain says, 'writers write'.  Frankly, I'm too stubborn to give up.

Third, my family believes in me. They have given me the space and time to write. My work is a promise I've made to them and they deserve my best words.

Most importantly, as difficult as parts of the process can be, just getting words on the page is the greatest reward I can imagine. I can leaf through a manuscript and know that the universe depicted in its pages would not have come to being without my effort. And when I get frustrated or stymied, I look at all my bookshelves and feel an instant kinship to any writer who has ever forced pen to paper. The rows and rows of books lining the walls of my living room and office are both reminder and motivation to keep working.

Today's post is part of the FM Writers Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour where dozens of writers put their own spin on a common monthly topic. This month's topic was motivation.

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