The Mother of Invention

Phew, am I down to the wire to get this post published in time for my monthly slot!

I’ll be honest – I’m a procrastinator. I’m an unlikely procrastinator, since I’m also super neurotic and prone to deadline-induced anxiety, yet more often than not it takes a hard and fast due-by date for me to actually get anything done. Which brings me to the source of much of my inspiration: necessity.


Don’t get me wrong – much of my story ideas are prompted by landscapes, experiences, or pieces of music. But what actually gets my butt in the chair and the words onto the screen is external expectation. I think that’s partly why NaNoWriMo works so well for me every year: having to enter a daily word count into a public website gives me the accountability and boot-up-the-butt I need to keep on truckin’, day after day.

Which is why, since the end of NaNo and the completion of my NaNo project, I’ve spent the Christmas holidays and, well, pretty much all of January being a writing slug. Gone is my 1600-word-a-day pace. I plotted for two weeks. I spent three days crafting the first hundred words of the new WIP. After all, why push myself if no one’s waiting on me to finish?

Yeah, that attitude isn’t working too well for me, but I’m struggling to find the external motivation I need to get cracking. A couple years ago I tried a year-long word count spreadsheet, but in the end it just made me feel inadequate about not reaching my overambitious goal. Maybe I should put a self-imposed manuscript due date in my calendar? Reward myself with a piece of chocolate after every 1000 words?

How do you inspire yourselves to do the hard work of writing? Once the beautiful piece of music has summoned the Muse and prompted the story idea, where do you find inspiration to just write?


The Mother of Invention — 1 Comment

  1. I’m asking myself that same question lately, Rebecca. I’ve been working overtime at the day job lately when I’m usually just casual part-time, and right now I’m tired. And I find I don’t write well when I’m tired. One thing that has worked for me, at least some of the time, is just trying to write 100 words a day. That’s barely a paragraph, and if I can make myself just go to the computer and write that much, sometimes I can write more than that. It’s the idea of making the job feel doable instead of the insurmountable mountain writing sometimes feels like. Good luck!

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