Chapter 13: Shadows of Motivation

It really is something, writing a novel.  It’s your precious baby that takes months to finish.  One of the hardest parts?  You have no positive affirmation until several drafts in, when you finally feel it’s good enough to show to your beta reader.  Personally, I’m also a part-time author.  This means even the first draft takes me several months to write.  I worked on my last novel for six months before I gave it to the first of my beta readers.

What does that mean?  Any encouragement is most likely only coming to come from you.  Yes, you have a support group (I hope).  Personally I like to text both my sister and best friend different word count updates literally just to hear back that they’re excited about my progress.  I need to be reaffirmed.  Sue me.  But, is that enough?

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.  I’m a full-time student, and if you’re not in my boat I’m assuming most of you have a full-time job.  Either way, whenever I have free time my brain is simply too tired to write.  Instead I always take a nap, watch a show on Netflix (I just finished Parks and Rec in only two weeks), or even read.  Let’s not forget about the social life.  When is the time to write?? Well, it’s there.  For sure.  But I have to create it.

That’s easier said than done.  First, I have to find the motivation to even begin, and sometimes, I simply can’t find it.  I’ve kept track of my word count per day (which I of course plan to share upon this novel’s completion) and let me tell you: there are a lot of ‘0’ days.  I have random spikes where I exceed my word count, and some random days where I don’t even hit 1,000 words.

Now, I’ve always been the forgetful type.  This means that my google calendar is filled with every little thing that I have to do.  My phone reminds me and thank goodness, because otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done.  Then I thought about it.  Why am I not scheduling my writing?  I mean, up until now, I’ve always approached it as “once I finish this assignment, I’ll write.”

Screw that!

I went through my calendar and specifically allotted time to write.  It gives me the reliance that I’ve accounted for the time – instead of thinking “I should be studying” or “There’s still that assignment.”  I know that somewhere in my calendar I’ve allotted the appropriate amount of hours for that shit too!  So when I’m writing, I can be completely present.  It’s been such a simple decision.

But the results?  I’ve doubled my weekly word count.  I’m curious how you get yourself back on track when your motivation hides for a bit?