Monday, September 24, 2012

Thinking about motivation and inspiration

It's pretty easy to start a novel. It's a whole other thing entirely to finish one. So where does the motivation come from to finish it, to see that which you started through to the end? 

Sometimes teens write to me and ask me how to keep going with a novel. The doubts start to creep in, and it doesn't take much to make someone stop and wonder, wait, why am I doing this again? I'm never sure what to say, other than, all writers have these doubts. It's normal. The middle is hard. The initial excitement is gone and now, it's just a whole lot of work. Really, it becomes a question of, how badly do you want it? 

I think motivation is something that comes from within. There's nothing anyone can say to make you finish the book. You have to have a desire to sit down and write every day, and you have to be able to push the negative self-talk away.

When I'm writing a book, most of the time, there is enough motivation from inside of me to finish it. I love that feeling of accomplishment. I WANT to finish it. All I know is that I don't have trouble (usually) finding the motivation to finish a book, once I have a solid idea with a solid beginning.

Now that I'm published, I'm also motivated by having editors who want to see other things from me. And I'm motivated by wanting my career to grow.

It seems to me inspiration is more about the act of creating, and it can be found outside of ourselves, unlike motivation. When I'm in need of some inspiration, I look for nuggets of experiences that speak to my heart; that move me in such a way that I, in turn, want to work hard to move others with my words. It might be a pretty sunrise, or a walk on the beach. It might be a movie that brings me to tears, or a song I can't get enough of.

It's important to realize when we need inspiration. Because maybe we can find the motivation inside to finish and slog through the writing and get a book written, even if it takes a year or two to do it. But it's the inspiration, the flutters of the heart we find in life, that makes the book something worth sharing with others.

Basically, it takes both motivation and inspiration to finish a novel. And it's often necessary to get out into the world and away from the computer to find some inspiration. We shouldn't feel bad about doing that - our books will be better for it.

Wishing you lots of motivation AND inspiration this week!


  1. Awesome post! I have plenty of story ideas floating around and I'm working on my first novel. I know someday it will get published. Don't know, but I just have a good feeling. Lovely picture!

  2. When I first started reading this, my thoughts turned to inspiration, lol...I was thinking along same lines. When you don't feel motivated, look for inspiration. And sometimes, it is a good idea to step away from it for a little bit, take a break and come back to it. The voices that tell us what the story wants to say sometimes are very fickle things! But eventually, they'll speak to you again.
    Very nice post. ;o) Keep up the good work.
    Suzan Tisdale

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! Your post reminded me that it's important sometimes to stop and think about why I am writing. And sometimes it's stepping away from it that helps me to see why I really want it.