I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration and motivation these last few days. I guess inspiration is that air-fairy feeling of ideas and moods and wanting to write and knowing what to write about while motivation is what makes us put our butts in the chair and our fingers on the keys and makes us write stories instead of Facebook posts. They go hand in hand and one without the other causes all sorts of problems.
I’m a writer who rarely lacks inspiration but who often loses motivation.
Sometimes I’m a distracted writer. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Blogging. Answering emails. Some of it is legit marketing and networking. Some of it, a lot of it, is time wasting. I know this but it’s just so much easier to keep scrolling than to go back to work. And I often tumble down the rabbit-hole of related links and further reading.
And I’m not alone if the Memes out there are anything to go by.
But sometimes it’s not distraction that keeps my fingers from the keys. Sometimes it’s an overwhelming sense of … well, being overwhelmed. Deadlines and word count goals and the whole process of coherent thought and thoughtful story-telling just becomes too much. It’s this huge process and it’s easy to forget that it’s nothing more than one word after another – one letter at a time.
Every writer has that something that motivates them. Rewards are popular. So are editors or agents who stand there demanding deadlines be met. Sometimes I use rewards but I’m my own boss so I find it easy to ignore me.
For me, the greatest motivation I have is my book shelf. I inherited a lot of my mom’s books, like these Stephen King hardcovers:
This doesn’t even include all the paperbacks I own by Stephen King and there’s a lot of books here. 34 here, plus On Writing which is one shelf up, plus the paperbacks. Mr. King has written a lot of books.
And then there’s these classics, also part of my inheritance:
17 paperbacks by David Eddings, plus one hardcover a few shelves down.
Now David Eddings and Stephen King are both prolific writers and really, they take up the largest chunks of my book shelf. But here’s another, an author I didn’t inherit:
I don’t even have this full series, and it’s not her only series.
So why am I showing you these snapshots of my book shelves? Because I walk into my room and I look at these shelves FULL of books by other authors and then I look at this shelf:
6 books. Okay, the latest 2 are missing. I’m ordering them soon. So 8 books. That’s it. Compared to the other sections of my shelf it is LEAN.
I walk into my room and I see this and I think “I want to take up an entire shelf in someone’s room some day.” This is what puts my butt in the chair. This is what renews me and spurs me to finish the next book. Or one of the things, anyway.
I know I CAN have that many books on the shelf, I just have to write them. I just have to finish them. I just have to ignore the distractions and the doubts and the overwhelming big picture and write the books. They’re there inside me, all these stories just waiting to come out. All I have to do is get them down. And get them edited. And get covers for them. But I’m not thinking about that now or I’ll get overwhelmed again.
Right now I’m thinking about writing.
What motivates you?