My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Maintaining Motivation

Now that NaNo is over and the rush to hit 50K has past, I find myself wondering: will I be able to maitain my motivation?

It’s sad really. The first draft of this book should have been completed a year ago…but December came and for some odd reason, I turned away from the book and didn’t work on it.

I have throughout the year submitted some of my written chapters for my weekly critique group, but I only ever worked on those chapters, rather than finishing the book.

Now I’m wondering if the same will happen this year.

I don’t want it to happen again. I need to get this finished…and I’m so much closer to that finish line that was elusive last year. It’s on the horizon–I can see it in the distance. Yet I can feel myself growing tired, desiring to stop and sit on the sidelines once again.

So, I need to keep myself motivated…somehow. I need to focus on that finish line, getting the first draft completed. I need to make every day like NaNo, even if I only get a thousand words written.

I am hoping to get my first draft completed by the end of the month. By midnight come the 31st of December, I want to have those words “the end” written.

It’s going to be difficult for me–more so than it was during NaNo. Perhaps I’m not what some would call a “true writer”; one who would have the discipline enough to keep writing every day. It’s that discipline that I know I am lacking–but something I have to find if I ever have the hopes of being a novelist.

So, I must still keep that inner editor locked away and search for that motivation to keep going–and finally type “the end” on this draft.

So, my question to writers out there: how do you keep yourself focused on the goal?

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Comments on: "Maintaining Motivation" (13)

  1. Hey Dara. : )

    Not too sure if this will help, but, it’s *fear* that keeps me motivated/writing something I started.

    Fear I won’t finish, fear I’ll get too lazy, fear I’ll spend forever with my writing hidden on my lap top, fear I’m fooling myself, chasing the golden carrot of publication …

    I’ve found that it helps to set daily goals for writing, much like little kids do best with a routine and schedule, lol. It’s not easy to wrestle a novel onto paper and then revise it. It’s easier with a routine in place. That’s why NaNo works so well.

    My first novel is 150,000 words, and it took me ten years to write and revise it. It was tougher material than my present YA NaNo novel, and I let it sit, at times, to marinate, and while I gathered my second wind.

    Anyway, that’s what’s so great about NaNo — the built in motivation. I took the holiday off after NaNo and now it’s Monday. I plan to take the two or three hours at night that I used to write my daily words and do my revising, because the biggest motivator of all, for me, is all the work and writing so far – too much effort to waste it.

    Em cheering you on! (p.s. your blog is wonderful, I added you to my blogroll : )

  2. another p.s. —

    My writing friend Tasha has a post today on the inner critic and a revising method people are lately talking about:

    http://gypsyscarlett.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/writing-evil-inner-editors-return/

    And, if you look at the blogs on my blogroll, many of my blogging friends are also NaNo winners and grappling with revisions now that NaNo is over — and many need more than 50,000 words for their novel to be complete.

    In case you want some company. : )

    Em

  3. If you think you need something like NaNo to help you finish I think there is a finishing month in December for those who need to write more to get the novel completed.

    I personally tend to set daily goals, weekly goals, goals for the month. I break my writing down into smaller chunks because it’s the only way to get anything done in my household at the moment… lol. Ten minutes here, ten there, it all adds up, and making sure that I am in daily contact with whatever I’m working on at the time means I can jump straight back into the story. Never let too many days pass because then it can be hard to get going again.

    Good luck! I’ll, as ever, be cheering you on πŸ™‚ I hope to be reading all about how good you feel at completing the novel come the end of the month.

  4. Thanks to both of you!

    I know I can do it, but I’m one of those people who sometimes tends to focus on the negative…unfortunately πŸ˜› I am getting better though!

  5. clarifying said:

    Perhaps you want to take a leaf out of Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way and commit to write 3 pages every day as soon as you get up. That way, you can feel as if you’ve accomplished something each day, and the daily doing of the novel will create a momentum that will get you toward the finish line.

    Good Luck: I know how hard it is and how easy it is to feel despondent.

  6. chibidoucet said:

    Have you considered trying NaNoFiMo (National Novel Finishing Month)? It takes place in December, and I know it’s a huge help to people coming out of NaNo, to keep them writing.

  7. Hey Dara,

    Very nice post. And be assured- you’re not alone.

    You don’t have to write every day to be a true writer. Every writer has their own way. But I do find it’s easier to keep motivated if I write *almost* every day. The more I write the more the Muse rewards me. She needs to be fed.

    Best of luck to you. I’ll be checking in to see how you’re doing and cheering you on. πŸ˜‰

    (waves hello to Emily)

  8. my first NANO was ’06, and while I had plenty of words by the end, the ‘end’ was still a ways off, and by the middle of Decenber, we were getting into the moving mindset, and I sort of left the novel behind…

    never thought I’d pick it back up (my way to leave things half-baked), yet once we were back in the US, with not much to do but wait for our shipment, I pulled it up, and finished that baby, much to my GREAT surprise!

    that was in April, so a four month break was given.

    my 2 cents? try to write as you did last month. finishing is a great feeling! I started something this past January, and left it languishing again until September, thinking the whole time, ‘can I really do this? am I a novelist?’

    wrapping up that project told me yeah, I can and I am. it might not be as tidy as I’d like, but guilt/fear can be a good motivator. I didn’t want to let that one just sit and stew…

    just write! the best way to get it finished…

    and a prayer your way, for inspiration… πŸ™‚

  9. Pretend December is Nano part 2. πŸ™‚ I’m going to be setting aside my Nano project so I can get back to my sequel, which really needs to get written. My motivation for writing that comes and goes since it’s so complex with multiple woven storylines. I try to keep working on it a bit each day, and give myself weekends off.

  10. It’s all too easy to get hung up on the “real writer” fear. If you’ve come this far, you’re real. Just keep forging ahead every chance you get.

    Good luck!

  11. Thanks everyone for all the support!!

  12. Make it a New Year’s resolution to revise your NEWLY COMPLETED manuscript.

  13. Hi, Dara,

    Here’s hoping you’re still moving along with your project. A little bit at a time is how it’s going to get done. I know things are gonna be a bit slow what with the holidays coming up.

    To answer your question, sometimes nothing I do keeps me motivated. I have two novels that I haven’t completed after starting them more than a year ago and yet there are those I’ve finished within 4-6 months. I try not to pressure myself because the characters talk to me when they’re ready. As to those two projects, someday when they really start bugging me, I’ll get back in the saddle and start writing.

    Visualize the book all finished and work towards that a bit at a time.

    P.S. Linked with you at Facebook, but I don’t think you know who I am under my given name – Joy.

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