8 Responses

  1. Jack Frost
    Jack Frost at |

    I had a teacher that always told us “You’re never, not motivated, you’re just motivated to do something else.” Which I don’t know, the more I repeat it the more I don’t like it. I mean it’s true, but it’s a phrasing meant to take you away from the negative “un-motivated” to “motivated, just in a different direction.” Which sounds like a denial of the fact that you’re not motivated to do what you want to be motivated to do.

    But you’re absolutely right, after acknowledgement of the lack of motivation where you want it, the question isn’t remaining motivated it’s restarting. Getting back into it.

    When you think about it, no one is constantly motivated to do one task. They can keep the task at the backs of their minds, they can be so anxious to continue that they can’t think of anything else, but eventually their focus shifts and so does their motivation. When you come back into it the motivation is either easy to pick back up, or it’s difficult. As to how to restart, that really depends on problem or task you’re trying to approach.

    My most recent example revolves around programming. I’ve come back to this one problem several times over the past three years. But only recently have I made any head-way. And that’s because I found someone who did all of the work for me. All I have to do is convert and map to my current project. It’s a lot easier when i’m not trying to wrap my head around things I don’t understand.

    Of course I don’t always give up until someone else gives me my answers. xD Though it definitely helps. I do enjoy figuring it out for myself. Especially when it stretches me (I swear that’s not an innuendo).

    I think it all comes down to ZPD, if ti’s too hard you’ll lose motivation quickly. But if it challenges you, you’ll be more tempted to push through. And if it’s too easy, you’ll lose motivation quickly.

    When it comes to writing, If it’s a story I’m not truly interested, it becomes too hard to force it to fit, or it’s just a silly story that really won’t hold my interest. Like you said and North told me, you’ve got to write the story you want to write or have to write. On the other side of that, if it’s not a story you’re truly interested in but have to do, you can figure out the challenge in the story and regain your interest.

    And never forget the very important “break” from your story. Sometimes motivation can be lost by being a little too close to your story to see the problems for what they are. Taking time away isn’t always a lack of motivation, it’s sometimes a tactic.

    1. AF Henley
      AF Henley at |

      *highfives* Well said. Thank you very much for sharing! <3

  2. L. Wynter | 菈文德雯特
    L. Wynter | 菈文德雯特 at |

    “Stay motivated” is just the non-tyrant way of saying “forcing yourself to keep going” in my book. In the many years of being away from home for schooling (living as a responsible adult) and finding the time to write despite of lacking time, I’ve come to realize that one can’t “stay motivated” all the time.

    Down time is just as precious and valuable as motivation. One has to have both.

    For me personally, “staying motivated” brews more problems than relinquishing the motivation and allowing myself some down time. Always. Especially when I’m writing. If the motivation isn’t there to keep writing, that usually also means something is wrong with the writing, and taking a break to refresh my eyes is always a good idea.

    However, I do give myself a “limit” on downtime. Let’s say I just finished the last day of NaNoWriMo (which I did do last year), it’s tempting to take a whole month off to recover (because ouch!). If I didn’t set for myself a time period, I might do just that and end up losing all the momentum I gained.

    So I’ll set it for 1 week with the maximum of 2 weeks (because I did put my responsibilities on hold for about a month and will need time to catch up) and come back with fresh eyes.

    And just like the down time, coming back is also a hard limit. That means, unless the emergency is a Tier 1, I will sit down for 2 hours after my coffee to get back to writing.

    And the story could mean starting all over. From the very beginning. And that’s perfectly fine too.

    Thank you for sharing! <3

    1. AF Henley
      AF Henley at |

      Great plan, and some good thoughts here too. 😀

      Thank YOU for sharing back! <3

  3. drawboy
    drawboy at |

    Wow, that is a tough one to reply to.

    First of all, I am not an author, so this does apply only in a limited way.

    But in my humble opinion, we have to differentiate here. Staying motivated to write a story that really works for you and just having times when you do not feel like writing which (to me) is a very natural thing. And you continue later.

    Please let me throw something in here. In English you say ”I do not feel like doing this or that.” Which could mean that you just do not want to and rather do something else or that something deeper, internal prevents you from writing. In German we say ”Ich habe heute keine Lust”. Which just means that. That today I want to do something else. No deeper feelings involved.

    But back to my original thought. The other thing is not feeling like continue with a story because somehow it does not work for you the way you hoped. You spoke of reassessing. Is that not a very natural thing to do as well? I mean, why continue a story that does not turn out the way you want to? In painting it almost is the same. If the piece of art does not work out, I have to revaluate it.

    It does not make sense to continue with something that does not work.

    The third thing is to question one’s writing in general. The genre one is writing, the topics inside that genre. Or why writing at all.

    With the last one it all comes down to this? Do I want to keep writing in this genre? Yes or no? Do I want to write in another genre? Yes or no? Would it make me happier? Do I want to give up writing at all? Would that make me happier? Yes or… well you guess it.

    You mentioned in an earlier post and somewhat repeated here: you put in a hell of a lot more work into it than what you get in return. And this is not just the problem of one single author it is the nature of things with a niche genre.

    My believe is that it is not only a matter of motivation but more like what do I want?

    Maybe it is about accepting or not that in this niche it is unlikely to become the next Stephen King or Joanne K. Rowling.

    As long as this internal battle rages it is not about motivation but about either accepting that writing in this genre leans more toward a hobby that if it works well leads to publication and some extra bucks (and a lot of work). Or it leads to a path of frustration (hopefully not depression) and an ongoing fight with oneself that leads to nothing.

    If I may be so bold? Only when the decision is made that writing in this genre is like an ambitious ”hobby” (VERY IMPORTANT, I do not want to use the word hobby to belittle the work as m/m author but I lack another one), one can turn his/her attention towards the daily motivation.

    Being your beta reader, I know so well how crazy hard you have worked the last five years, my friend. Your energy and dedication was mindblowing! Is it not only natural to turn your attention towards Netflix now and again? 😃

    Thank you very much for this deeply thoughtful and honest post, buddy!


    1. AF Henley
      AF Henley at |

      Thank you, my friend. That is a very insightful and thought provoking reply. I appreciate it very much. <3

      ”Ich habe heute keine Lust” … I love this. 😀

  4. James Escol
    James Escol at |

    I’m with you with you’re simple answer that “You’re not.” If shaking my hands & body off & trying to cleanse the ideas of procrastination & negativities off my head can be considered as a restart, then yes, I do reset my thinking towards something that I do to keep moving forward. I change my attitude towards it. I reassess myself. I center myself with the help of music or movies. Things like that help me focus back on what I am about to achieve & what my goals are.

    1. AF Henley
      AF Henley at |

      Well said, James! And I love how you do your restarts. 😀

      Thanks so much for sharing! <3


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