Writing Books/motivation

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Question
I have come to realize that I only write when I am upset. I have enough experience in life to know how it feels when something just doesn't feel natural. Sports, socializing, etc, were never my thing, no matter how hard I tried. Writing comes naturally to me. It's like my fingers can't keep up sometimes, especially when I have something to get off my chest, when I'm motivated. The rest of the time it's painful and listless and I quit out of frustration. I always have many ideas tinkering in the back of my head but have difficulty expressing them. A voice/feeling scolds me relentlessly for failing to develop what I consider a gift.

But it always seems that the other things in life keep me occupied or feeling drained about getting down to the discipline of writing. Part of the problem is that I work at a computer for most of the day and want to come home and relax away from the computer. I am lazy. But the urgent voice continues to compel me to write but I continue to tune it out when I don't feel like it.

What techniques do you use to motivate yourself when you just can't seem to find the energy or focus? I do get writer's block but this is slightly different. This is a lack of discipline or something to do with a countering voice in my head (perhaps my father's or maybe with so many voices I'm nuts) telling me that I'm wasting my time. Part of it also is that I am one of those types that enjoys instant gratification. If something is slow in the making, I can lose sight of the glory while sifting through the grit.

This begs some questions: Is a writer a character type? I mean, what makes the hero the hero or the villan the villan? Is there an inherent drive that separates a successful writer from a wannabe? Is it possible to foster that drive through technique or is it a ingrained trait like dexterity or personality? If you can help, I'd appreciate it.

Answer
Hi Paul,
You ask a series of questions that haunt almost every writer I know.

Firstly, I don't think that the talent of a writer is hardwired into humans. However, once you open the door into that part of your brain, it is more than a little difficult to close it again.

Motivation is not as hard as it may seem. For a start, if you really want to write, then make a sober assessment of your available time and only commit yourself to a realistic writing schedule. Remember it is not about huge blocks of time, but regular time. Think of it as quarantined time that is just for writing and let your family and friends know that it is not negotiable.

To keep focus, write in a burst - let it simply flow. Then when you have done that, leave it without correction or editing. Then, when you next come back to it, spend the first part of your time to edit and rewrite what you produced before. This will get you back into the same headspace and allow you to pick up from where you left off.

Before you go to sleep, spend a few minutes following the plot of you writing in your head, not worrying over it, but watching it like a movie and "feeding your subconscious". Feed the muse and the muse feeds you. Tell yourself that you are a writer and ignore the doubts in your head. Even reading your email it is obvious you can tap in to the writer's frame of mind. So, go do it!

I use all of these techniques and so do many of my friends who are authors.

All the best,

Sandy  

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Sandy McCutcheon

Expertise

Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!

Experience

Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at http://www.riadzany.blogspot.com for a look at his blogging work.

Education/Credentials
St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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