So… why don’t I write when I say I want to write?
This blog came about precisely because four writers said we wanted to self-publish — and then struggled to do that. In my case, I’ve been published in the past but I knew I wanted to write a story that wasn’t quite “in the box.” I wanted to do something different, write in my own style, take a few more chances than New York would be comfortable with. I wanted to write a fantasy novella trilogy that was more romantica than erotica. (And if you read erotica, you know what I mean.)
But even though I wrote the first half of the first book in 2 weeks while on vacation last summer, I struggled to get the second half under wraps. I found all sorts of other things to write. (Yes, I’m a prolific fanfic writer, and one day I might tell you for what, but today is not that day). I suddenly took a greater interest in my day job. I discovered hobbies that were critical to my sense of well-being.
Then the Write or Consequences challenge came along. Or, as it started out, the Ice Bucket Bikini Babes. Now there’s some motivation to jump-start the writing! Not me, not in a bikini, not getting doused with ice water, and certainly not in February. Remarkably, the second half of the book started coming along nicely.
That got me wondering about motivation, drive, and desire.
I say I want to write my novel, and then write something else. I say I’m going to punch out that scene on Saturday afternoon, but I cook bibimbop. Or develop a sudden and urgent need to do yardwork. Or decide to learn a new language.
Is it a matter of not being properly motivated? Has my desire to tell that compelling story waned? Am I just lazy?
Then I came across this article from the NY Times that I found intriguing. In a nutshell, if I sit down and literally write “my story” about an event or experience — the way I perceived the event, how I felt about it — and then rewrite it in a more honest and positive way, I can change the narrative I live by. My brain will look at the new story of my self and assimilate it into my future behavior. Whoa. The power of positive thinking on steroids, and starting from a story of self that I know could be more productive.
One of my predominant stories about my writing self is that “I never finish what I start.” Since reading the article, I rewrote that self-story to be more honest: I have finished and sold four books and three were published before the line I wrote for folded. So yes, I did finish what I started, and did a pretty decent job of it, too.
My story about this novella trilogy is, so far, that not only will I make each goal I set, but that the novellas will be damned good — some of my best storytelling, my most poetic writing to date. This isn’t about being “successful” in terms of selling a lot of copies (though that would be nice), but about writing as deeply emotional and emotionally honest a story as I can within the framework of my chosen genre.
That’s my new story. What’s yours?