On Motivation

It’s hard for me to stay motivated. So often I’ll start one project, write a bit of it, and then feel like moving on to something else.

For the longest time, whenever anyone asked, What am you writing currently? I could answer that, but a week from then the answer would change. And the week after and the week after that. On the other hand you could see that I’m always working on something, always coming up with new ideas, always starting new projects. Sounds great, right? Yeah, except for that one little detail that was left out: none of those would be finished.

I don’t like continuing things. A lot of the time I don’t even like editing, or at least not after a day or two has gone by. Most stories that I write are all written in a single sitting, very quickly, then edited right afterwards. So something is only ever finished if I finish it in that first sitting.

For example, “The War Inside.” Wrote that all in one sitting, edited a few small lines here and there, and haven’t touched it since. Of course I had planned on making it two or three times as long. Adding more and more in, separating it into two parts–the physical war and the mental. Yet it remains untouched, which is generally the case with most things I write.

I think that stems from one of two possibilities: Either a) I’m fairly content with how it is, and therefore don’t see the “need” to fix it even though I might want to; or b) there’s some other project I’d rather work on. The former would be the answer to “The War Inside,” but the latter is a very common culprit as well.

Currently (ha!) I’m trying to finish writing a novel. Basically, my dream has always been to write a novel, but the problem has been choosing one to write. Well, tired and frustrated at the lack of progress, I finally just chose one, and resolved to work on only this one until I finished–I’ve had the idea since 2010, and finally started writing it last November for NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately I only got 25,000 words, but considering that’s the most I’ve written (probably of all my works combined, before last year), and the longest I’ve spent on a single project, I was happy.

The problem was, I was pushing aside school and everything else in lieu of this novel, so as soon as November was done, I stopped writing completely for about a week just to catch up on everything. And I never started back up again.

More and more time went by, and still I haven’t worked on it much since. The biggest reason being simply that it’s been so long. During NaNo, I had this drive that kept me going–in the heat of the story, just writing word after word. But now that’s all gone. I don’t know exactly where I was going with things, or how I was planning to write them (despite my in-depth outline–I know where the story is going, but I still feel lost due to having stopped in the middle).

So now I’m stuck in that horrible position of on one hand thinking “I’m half way done with it, I need to/can finish it now” and on the other hand thinking “I’ve been on this for so long I just want to do something else now.”

Well, I’m going for the former. I’ve gotten this far, I like the characters, I like the story; I can finish it. Is it the thing I want to write most right now? No. Is it the set of characters that I want to write most right now? No. But I know myself, and I know that the same thing will happen with any other project I start. And I know that I like this story, and right now my number one goal is to finish a novel.

I’m halfway done–now it’s time to finish.

(on one last note, I had planned to participate in Camp NaNo for April, but of course the first week of April I just had to be on vacation, and as such so far I have 0 words. But I still plan on doing it. Even just 25,000 words like November–any significant progress I’ll be happy with)

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One thought on “On Motivation

  1. Go for it! I’m sure that the inspiration will kick back in and you’ll gain back that momentum that you had in the fall, to finish your first novel.

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