What’s My Motivation?

Have those of you who work outside the home ever called in and said “Sorry, just not feeling it today. I’m going to stay home and play games on Facebook all day. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow.” Of course not. That would get you fired. So those of us who work from home should be subject to the same rules, albeit enforced by ourselves, rather than a boss. Right? Except writer brains don’t work like other brains. Some days (okay, in my case, weeks) the words just aren’t there. The urge to sit down and get creative is just…missing.

And because I see all these posts on Facebook about the super-productive authors with ten kajillion projects going at once, the ones who have charts and schedules for which blog post comes out on which day, and how many thousand pages they are going to edit on which book and all the new book contracts they’re signing this week…I feel guilty. I’m not working hard enough. Heck, I’m not working at all, so let’s call a spade a spade. I’m a fraud. If I’m not writing, I cannot call myself a writer.

Guilt turned to panic. I haven’t had a new release out in over a year. My readers are going to forget my name. They’ll have moved on to the next author who actually releases on a reliable schedule. Then panic to hopelessness. What’s the point? The first book in my latest trilogy has been rejected repeatedly. Why even finish the series? Does anyone really want to read this? It may be the book/series of MY heart, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is going to fall in love with it.

Writing can be a very solitary existence. And it’s easy to forget that there are others out there who might be going through the exact same thing I was struggling with. So I reached out. And it felt so good to talk with another author who knew just how I was feeling. She told me it was okay, healthy in fact, to give myself permission to take a break. To refill the creative well. She suggested I put a time limit on it, a deadline that would force me back into my chair and getting back to the business of storytelling.

I started to get excited. I thought about all the walks I was going to take with the dog, snapping pictures along the way. I thought of all the plant nurseries I was planning to visit, because something about nature and flowers is connected to my writing. I can’t explain it…it just is. I picked up a book I’d promised to read and review. I told myself that it was okay to put someone else’s book first for a change. I queued up Netflix and looked for a new bingeworthy series.

 

But while I was busy telling myself it was okay to step back, I was already feeling the stirrings of something new. And, let me tell you, the floodgates have truly opened wide. My head is full of blog post ideas, new series’ ideas, people I want to contact, publishers I want to query. I’m considering self-publishing for the first time in my writing career. This excitement — a reason to scramble out of bed in the morning and get to work — it had been missing for a long time and I was worried it would never come back. But I am so thrilled that it did. Yeah, it’s making me a little bonkers because I haven’t laid everything out in a “first this, then that” type of pattern, but I’m enjoying figuring out what fights its way to the top. Today the blog post. Tomorrow a little research, perhaps. But I’m back, baby! I’m not a fraud after all. Just a creative person who was in a bit of a slump. It happens to all of us, and it’s not the end of the world.

The Writer’s Life

roryreading

Remember on the Gilmore Girls, how Rory always carried a book wherever she went? Had to wait for the bus? Pulled out her book. Waiting for someone to get done somewhere? Got in a chapter or two. I love that. And I subscribe to that. I try to keep a book in my purse or in my car, because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity to read for a few minutes.

brainwritingThat’s the reader me. The writer me always carries a story around as well. Except that it’s in my head. And lately, my brain is flipping back and forth between three different stories. It might sound weird if you aren’t a writer. Distracting, to say the least. But it’s really not. It’s just…me.

9scyehtqxhPart of my brain is always disengaged from my current surroundings. Sometimes that’s a tiny part, or sometimes, like when I’m nearing the end of a book, it’s huge. A part of me crying out to get back to my “other” family, the world of my own creation. I see that light at the end of the tunnel, getting bigger and brighter. A little voice whispers “You’re so close – don’t stop now!”

Last night I was at the casino, celebrating a friend’s birthday. A huge group of us were sitting at a table at the buffet and I wonder how many of them realized that in my head, I was writing. Today I have so many things on my list of chores, that it would take a miracle to be able to sit down and work on my book. But I’ll be thinking about it. Part of me will be spending the day with my characters. Because I’m SO close.

thLGSPNW5VTomorrow morning, hubby will take the kids to school. I’ll sit down with a cup of coffee (and a couple of Hershey’s kisses – don’t judge!) and breath a sigh of relief. Because I’m home. I made it through our time apart and now we can continue our journey. There are people in my life that worry about me. And that’s fine for them. Writers are a different breed. I’ve accepted that. No, I’ve embraced that. It’s what I do. It’s what I am. And I love it.