I don’t really believe in natural motivation. If I want to follow an exercise program, I have to write a schedule and pretend that it is basically my second job. I don’t jump out of bed every morning saying, “Yay! It’s time to rise and shine and do chest, back, and abs today! I’m so happy!”
So why do I think I am missing something when I don’t feel motivated to work on my novel? I have sat down with it several times over the past few days and every time, I write a few words, then start to fuss about where it’s going next and leave it. I’ve gotten into a knot of anxiety over it because I think I know where I want it to go in the long run, but in the short run, I’m not sure how I’m going to get it there. My characters are starting to think and feel for themselves, but in the meantime, I need to direct them to make sure they end up where they eventually need to be.
It’s enough to drive me crazy.
So, why do I feel like I need to be motivated to do this? There are several ways to write. Some people sit down and basically throw up all over the page and then edit it later. Some people stress over every single syllable. Some people, like me on my first novel, just force themselves to sit down with it several hours a day, every day and write solidly, no matter what comes out. Editing can always be done later.
That said, I am having a lot of trouble making myself do that with my second novel. The doubts keep settling in. I didn’t have any doubts with the first novel because I had literally no fucking idea what I was doing. It’s kind of easy to do something if you don’t know what you are doing, because you can’t really do it wrong. You just barrel through and worry about the consequences later.
And now, here I am with one novel published in ebook format, and an actual publisher who is getting ready to publish it as a *real* book, and my first actual author appearance coming up with people who invited me to come and talk to them because they think I have something of value to say and I can’t get my two main characters out of their car and into a restaurant where they are going to run into someone who completely fucks up their chances of having an amazing date.
But that’s it. That’s where I just solved my own dilemma. Because I don’t have to be motivated. I don’t have to *feel* like writing right now. I don’t have to want it. I just have to open the file and sit my ass in the chair and write about what happens next and it I don’t like it, I can change it later.
As my friend Kim likes to say, “Any decision can be unmade.”
Time to get back to my second job. I’ve got a hot butch in a GQ menswear look who is about to be completely frustrated by her inability to get laid tonight. Trust me, Andy, I know the feeling. 🙂