One of the things I’m realizing about myself as a writer (and was pointed out to me by one of my partners) is that I have poor self-motivation, unless there’s some sort of outside force directing me and influencing me to sit down, write, and produce something in a set amount of time.
In the past it’s been school. I took two semesters of creative writing and for those two semesters it was new writing, every week, no exceptions. It didn’t matter if the muse was there, or if I was tired or not ‘feeling it…’ I wrote, regardless of excuses. Obviously when grades are involved, flaking out isn’t exactly and option. Unless you want to fail. Which I didn’t. Given the parameters of my assignments for those classes, I never busted out a novel, but it was consistent writing with consistent feedback, with consequences if deadlines weren’t met.
Recently, my motivation was ghost writing, which I no longer do (but discuss in a previous post.) It was easy to sit down and write having a proper deadline and clients expecting your work well-written and on time. There’s also the fact that it involves money and building up a credible reputation… So.
Now that I’m not longer in school, and I’ve limited my freelancing to editing strictly, I find it harder to make myself sit down and write. Not for lack of wanting, or interest. I love to write. I love to story tell. Unfortunately for myself, I’m easily distracted and tend to allow myself to become more distracted when there’s not someone or something telling me that if I don’t have something done by this or that date, or that there will be consequences for not turning in something or writing a certain amount of words a day. I work hardest when there’s some sort of enforceable end goal in sight. A tangible, ‘if I don’t do this, then this will happen.’ It’s simply how I work.
Of course, the problem with this is that I’ve found myself sitting on one or two stories where I’ve mentally plotted a lot of things and have characters lined up, but otherwise have not taken much time to actually… physically… write. I don’t think people realize how easy it is to just put things off and put things off when you’re a writer without some sort of concrete arrangement that makes you have to put out content.
Probably doesn’t help I’m also a text-book procrastinator. Lovely combination.
Obviously, at the end of the day, this is something that I will have to overcome myself. Because at this point, I’m not a published author with an editor that can breathe down my neck telling me that I have a deadline coming up and I better meet it. I think this will have to come with a measure of self-discipline that I haven’t had to really use since, I don’t know. High school. And that’s been a few years.
I think, especially given NaNoWriMo is coming up in a few months, and I do have the desire, I’m going to sit down, take a hard look at my current work and personal life schedule, and form a routine that I can actually… get behind, stick to, and work on writing consistently. Especially knowing that I can do so.
I just need to buck up and put in the effort. I’ll keep you guys informed of my progress.