Inspiration is a tricky thing. It floats in and out of consciousness when I’m least expecting it, and can be rather difficult to hold on to—especially when other shiny objects are around, just waiting to distract. Motivation can be found in a great song, funny meme, witty movie line, award-acceptance speech, just about anywhere—but then it can also disappear as soon as I open the journal or turn on the computer to ride the creative wave.
Finishing a novel is doable—I’ve done it before. I think back to how I accomplished that feat, and the one thing I keep coming back to is accountability. During the writing of my last novel, I was part of a nine month novel-writing class, then continued with a smaller writing group that would not only be waiting to read what I wrote, but they’d also share their comments! This was highly motivational. I couldn’t let them down. The straight A student in me had to deliver.
While it only takes one person to write something—I’m writing this now, all on my own—it can take a village to write a novel. Eventually I will enlist the help of other writers, editors, friends, and family to read pages of my novel and (hopefully) share their comments. These comments will spark edits and rewrites, all shaping the novel into something that I’ll want to release out into the world. The fact that some of these friends and family have already expressed interest in reading these pages should be enough accountable motivation to get it done, right? Right?
My motivation continues to come in spurts, and I’ve come to accept that. Some people write every day and say that helps keep them motivated. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work as well with me. The key is to find what inspires you and act on it. If inspiration doesn’t come every day, that’s okay too. The beauty of personal creative projects is they’re just that—personal. They shouldn’t be frustrating or stressful. Why put yourself through that? As soon as it stops being fun, I try to find a way to get the fun back, or I move on. So, that’s my new motivation—finding the fun.