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Finding Motivation to Write

And why motivation actually isn't that important.

Anyone who's begun to write will experience it.  Actually, anyone who writes period, whether it's been for a week or thirty years, will sometimes lack to motivation—the inspiration—to write.

And if you're a new writer, you may not always know how to find that motivation, to just sit down and write, to put down your phone, ignore time-consuming sites like Facebook and YouTube, ignore the allure of video games, ignore just how many tiles are in your ceiling, etc.

You must understand that writing is a thing that takes up time—sometimes a lot of time.  If you have a family, you'll have to choose to write over spending time with them.  If you're a student, you will have to choose writing over homework.  If you have other hobbies, you'll have to set them down, sometimes.

You mustn't, of course, never take care of those other things, but if you're to write every day, the wife must understand that you have a character that needs fleshing out, and the homework, lifeless as it is, must understand that school's not that important anyway.

But motivation!  Your wife, certainly, is a lot prettier than a blank page.  And your video games are probably a lot more fun.  And maybe you really do need to know how many tiles your ceiling is made up of, if you're to remodel. 

This is why I recommend setting aside some time, a particular time, every day.  I try to do the mornings, but admittedly, I am not so good at this.  

Many writers—from novelists and poets to philosophers and journalists—have chosen the early morning because it's, quite frankly, the best time.

Before work, before school, before your spouse wakes, and before your mind has any time to think about anything else at all, find your computer or your notebook and write.

There.  Just by waking up at four or five instead of six or seven, you've cut out the vast majority of anything else that may demand your attention.

But you're tired, of course.  Five o'clock is pretty fucking early.  And even so early in the morning, Facebook exists, and so do your video games, or your books.  And so does the bed.

So you're not out of the woods yet.

At this point, I'm afraid, not much else can be done rather than a focus of will.  I sometimes set an alarm thirty minutes before I rise and write so I can down a caffeine pill that will, hopefully, be doing what it does when the four thirty alarm screams into my ear.

If you're worried about waking your spouse, maybe set a very soft alarm on your phone, and then a louder one across the room, that you must go and switch off to avoid a cranky husband or wife.

But that's my strategy.  It may work for you, but writing is, after all, a journey in discovering one's own methods.

And I am not immune from distractions.  This is part of why I write here, on Vocal; I think to myself, if I cannot write my story, for whatever reason, perhaps I can write about writing?

And that's not all.  Even if you have your story in front of you and can't find the words, maybe finding something else that's creative and related to your story will help the juices flow.

Maybe draw a character, even if you're not a very good artist.  Maybe listen to music that you feel is similar to the tone of your story.  Maybe start a Pinterest board centering around the aesthetic of your story.

In dire situations, I might fire up Hammer World Editor (which is completely free, by the way) and digitally construct a scene or a setting from whatever story I'm writing, and play and explore it.

But at the end of the day (or the beginning, in this case) sometimes you have to just force yourself to write.  Even if you feel that motivation or inspiration will never come to you, just put down some goddamn words on paper.

That's what's really important, after all, isn't it?  The words.  Not the music or the settings or the characters, but the words, because these things cannot be if there are not first words to describe them.

And if you can just write some words, every day, even if it's just a sentence, then you're well on your way.

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