Monday, 12 February 2018

Motivation & Muses - The Creative Process

MOTIVATION & MUSES

I don't know about you, but it's something that I'm asked a whole ton. Where do I get my inspiration from? What or who is my 'muse'? How do I stay motivated to finish a book? To publish? To go through that long arduous journey from start to finish? And how do I stay focused when so much of the world is demanding my attention? Questions like these, maybe phrased different, get asked of writers and authors so very much. I can understand why, after all not everyone has the capability to build whole new worlds with their words, nor do they have the ability to see that whole book through from start to finish and then through the editing process. It's something that comes up so much in my questions from readers, so I thought I would give you all a little insight into how I manage it.

I have, for the majority of my life, been someone who loves creating. I may not have wanted to be a writer from an early age (I was aiming for a paediatrician) but when I sat down all those years ago and finally put pen to paper, I realised I had found my profession. It was something that inspired me, kept my attention, allowed me to explore and grow and also I had some talent in it. I'd always had an over active imagination, and it had always been said as a bad thing. Looking back I can say that how I used that imagination wasn't always for good so I get where they're coming from.

However, now that I literally write stories for a living, I find that it feels weird to not be working on something at any one time. It's one of the reasons I'm able to manage to write two books at the same time. I can focus so much on the one world, and switch it off and go into another, that I am one of the few writers who successfully works on several projects at once. But yet I still get asked: how do you stay motivated?

For me the answer is both simple and complicated at the same time. The simple version is I make myself accountable. I've talked many times before about my organisation skills. I've talked about how I set aside a day for this and a day for that and how I stick to it. My motivation comes from me telling myself that I want to see this through to the end. Yes, I have my tips and tricks when I'm having one of those days, but I'm also very invested in my work. I always have been and doubt that will ever change. I keep myself motivated and when you're writing a book (or going through the editing process) you need that. You need be your own cheerleader but you also need to be your own boss. No one else can deliver that same motivation that you can give yourself.

The complicated answer is that I have a lot of things in my life that I can't control. I'm disabled, I'm chronically ill, I struggle for breath and I live in pain. I can't control any of that. I can't change that my lungs don't work right, and I can't stop my muscles from cramping or deal with the fatigue and need for naps any other way than by giving in. But I can control my work load. I can control how I write, what I write, when I write and how much I write. That is completely in my control. So that, in a weird way, keeps me motivated. It keeps me going back to the word document and typing away. I can create worlds and characters with my words, and I can make people care about those characters, and that world and those story-lines. In short, I am in control of my writing.

When it comes to giving advice on someone else trying to find their own motivation and get those words down, I can't. Because I'm not you. I can tell you what works for me, but just like so many things in the writing world, that's not going to help you all that much. What works for me may spark some ideas for you, but no writer works in exactly the same way, just as no spoonie has exactly the same limitations and symptoms as someone else with exactly the same conditions. Life affects everyone differently. So I can't tell you how to make sure you hit 2k a day, or how to juggling your work load so that you finish a book in a month - that's a whole nother ball game to be honest - but I can say that you have to hold yourself accountable. You are the boss of your work and I'm the boss of mine.

That said, the reason people ask so much about inspiration and motivation is because there are so many different ways to do it and people are looking to find the easiest answer for themselves. Do I work hard to get the output I do? Of course! But I also have a completely different life than you do. I write as much as I do, but I'm not holding down a full time job and I'm not trying to work with a toddler around - did that, thank goodness they grow up! I have the whole day ahead of me to write and I do it in my own way. You need to find what works for you and how to make yourself motivated.

As far as muses go, I've never really been a writer who had a muse. Sure I have the odd bits and pieces that I'll play with when I'm stuck. I have those little nano bugs that I like to run around. I have a nano quadcoptor that I play around with. I still need to learn how to properly fly that thing! I have fidget toys for when I'm thinking out of plot holes and all of that. But at the end of the day, I don't need them to keep going through my work. I am in charge of what I create and I own that. It's not an easy task for anyone and if you're looking for easy, then you picked the wrong profession.

Writing is hard. It's draining. It's impossible some days and you have to keep, always, pushing yourself. But at the same time, it's amazing and I can't see myself ever doing anything else. I love what I do. I love the stories I tell and the adventures I go on. I love every day of it, even the days when I'm cursing myself out. But how do I stay motivated? I write. It's both that simple and that hard all that the same time.

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