Yesterday I talked about finding inspiration, and it got me thinking about the difference between motivation and inspiration.
To me, motivation is what keeps you going - it's the force that keeps you moving forward.
When I'm writing a book, most of the time, there is motivation enough from inside of me to finish it. I love that feeling of accomplishment. I WANT to finish it. When we start out writing a novel, we have to be motivated enough to sit down and put words to the page consistently almost every day. And I think it is important to understand where your motivation comes from.
Now that I'm published, I'm motivated by having editors who want to see other things from me. And I'm motivated by wanting my career to grow.
Inspiration is more about the act of creating. When I talked about praying and hoping for inspiration, what I'm looking for are nuggets of experiences that speak to my heart and soul. That move me in such a way that I, in turn, want to work hard to move others with my words.
I'm deep in revisions right now. The manuscript is a mess. There are holes, there are notes in places where I need something but haven't figured out what should go there. It's hard, hard work. Every day I work on it, because I desperately want to finish it. I'm certainly motivated to finish it. But at this point, it's really not about finishing it. It's about making it good so it's worth reading. And not just a good story, but telling a story that touches someone. Really touches someone. Every book, that's my goal.
So, I look for things that touch me. That MOVE me. You know what I'm talking about here. It's that sunrise that takes your breath away. It's a music video like this one. It's holding a precious baby and watching as he reaches up and touches your face. It's watching a movie that moves you to tears. And then I take those feelings of joy/sorrow/regret/pain and try my best to drop them into my story.
I've been told many times my books make people cry. Is this my goal? Not specifically, no. It goes back to touching people. Going right to their heart and touching something there. That is my goal. Because that, to me, is life at its best. Those heart-felt moments that we remember for a long time.
It's important as writers to realize when we need inspiration. Because we can slog through the writing any old time, and get a book written. But it's the inspiration, the flutters of the heart we find in life, that makes the book something worth sharing with others.
I guess all this is to say - figure out what inspires you, and don't feel bad when you get up from the computer to go and find it. In the end, it's definitely time well spent!