What motivates me?

#wpad blog challenge, day 20.

Where do I find motivation to write?  I obviously want to write so what would be stopping me? Why do I need motivation to do something I enjoy?

The “what would be stopping me” is easy to answer – lack of confidence. The thought that I am not good enough and should be doing something useful to justify my existence, not just sit there and scribble. So I need motivation to overcome this lack of confidence.

For me, motivation comes in two basic categories: internal and external. What can I find inside myself that nudges me to write, and which events or people or stories make me want to lock myself up in my study with my laptop?

Internal factors

I’m not talking about inspiration here, about ideas for stories. It’s more about an urge to put words on paper or screen. So partly this is about stories that are inside me wanting to get out – see also yesterday’s post. And partly motivation comes from the creative challenge of finding the right words to fit the thought, the scene, the atmosphere I have in mind.

This daily blog challenge prompts me to write. To work my way through the month, day after day even after it has become a question of stamina. I look forward to looking back at the end of the month and thinking, you did it. You achieved something. It doesn’t actually matter so much how many people read it – although of course it’s nice to think some of these posts are entertaining to others – but it’s the concept of achievement. So it’s the idea of reaching the goal that motivates me. And, yes, also the hope that this raises my profile just a little and therefore eventually further my career as a writer.

These are internal motivation factors. But they are personal, and often difficult to handle. Thankfully, there are also external ones.

External nudges

Despite what I just said about the relative unimportance of other people reading my blurbs, getting responses to my writing is a great motivation. Positive responses, of course, but hopefully negative or critical remarks will also always motivate me – to become better, or to defend my writing.

I also find motivation in other people’s life stories, how they juggle difficult job and/or family situations and manage to do whatever they do against the odds, at night after a two day jobs, in between caring for an ageing parent, despite an abusive husband etc. They Cope With Life, they don’t give up, sometimes they write about their experiences, sometimes they just write – J.K. Rowling is a good example. But the point that motivates me is not whether they write, and even less so whether they are successful. It’s that they cope against the odds. That makes me look at my own cushy life and tell myself to do something creative with it, to use what I hope is my talent.

Most important: other writers!

This really is another external factor but a very special one. So special that I will add a third category for them – for all those fellow writers out there.

I often have the feeling that “nobody understands me.” This isn’t me whining; if you are a writer you will know what I mean. Non-writers just can’t seem to understand why I get so excited about a certain plot twist, a character, an unusual structure and so on – whether it’s in my own writing or in something I read or watch. They don’t understand the agony of writer’s block or even just how important it is for me to write. They don’t take me seriously!!! And that, in the best case scenario, deflates me, in the worst case, demotivates me.

The best solution for this is to mix with other writers. Online is good, face to face is better. Other writers understand what you struggle with. They have suffered from writer’s block. They speak the same language. You usually don’t even have to finish your sentence, they will do it for you and put their own spin on it. And they will have tips to share – actually, in my experience being with other writers is all about sharing. Perhaps I am lucky, but all the writers I know are extremely generous. And because they understand and share to help me improve, they boost my confidence.

For me, spending time with other writers is the best motivation. Which is why I can’t wait for the London Screenwriters’ Festival.

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