Disorder in the House and Finding Motivation

Hitting one of my many lulls in re-writing The Novel, I find that one of the hardest things to come by is just time where I am left alone. The apartment I share with my girlfriend and kid is relatively spacious but it doesn’t exactly have different wings we can venture off to when we wish to be alone and undisturbed.  What makes the whole writing vs interaction thing more difficult isn’t when we just have conflicting projects to work on where we each need the computer but only have space for one of us. We’re moderately well behaved and well adjusted adults, after all,we can sort this out. Meaning she smacks me with her Webster’s II and I agree to wait until she’s done.

The most problematic times are the times when one of us is trying to work while the other wants “quality time.” Alright, yes, it is stereotypical here for it to be her wanting to snuggle and chat and blah blah blah, and I’m sure I occasionally fall into the nagging “spend time with me” mode, too. But, today, it’s her in that mode and all I want to do is what I am doing now. Sitting at my computer (after she sat at hers all morning and I sat in the bedroom reading or went to the living room and jiggled around with wii fit thirty minutes), doing a blog or two, maybe some email and, hopefully, some work on The Novel.

Of course, this situation didn’t come about through some frictionless negotiation. So she’s in a surly mood now, I’m going to pay for it later and, well, yeah. Fun. But this is something everyone deals with, right? But I think it’s something that is particularly difficult for people trying to do something artistic (though i still hate referring to my attempts to write as “artistic” as I don’t see myself as any sort of artist). Sometimes we just need left alone and, as anyone who writes a lot knows, we who write tend to spend more time than normal alone and entirely by choice.

Where is all of this going?

Well, it goes towards another problem I’ve had the past couple of days and that’s finding motivation to open up the word doc and start working.  I recently got done with grinding through two particularly rough chapters in the re-write and I’ve been hesitant to delve into the next chapter.  Maybe I just need a mental break from it for a couple of days, or whatever, I’m not sure, but I also feel horrible at not making more progress yesterday. So last night I was talking to my girlfriend about this and she suggested setting carrots out in front of me. For every so many chapters I get re-written we would go out to eat or get a book or something.

with how much writing is focused on being a delay of gratification (after all, unless we have a book deal none of us knows if our stuff will ever be published, regardless of how much time and effort we put into it), she thought that maybe this would be a good way of providing a little extra motivation to get through the particularly rough patches. And it seems like a good idea. But when we started talking about it, I realized that there also just isn’t a whole lot I want and, generally, what I want bad enough to really want, I’ll just go out and get.

but this has made me wonder: do external motivations work for writers in general? Or is it mainly an interior drive to get the thing finished that pushes us through to the end of projects?

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One Response to “Disorder in the House and Finding Motivation”

  1. cherilaser Says:

    Hi! For an added perspective on the world of writing and publishing, I invite you to visit my new blog at http://www.cherilaser.wordpress.com. Start with the Blog Launch Posting. Your comments and input would be welcome.

    A personalized tip about finding time alone to write, I recently invested in a mini-netbook that is small enough to fit in a lunch bag. (You can pick one up now for a couple hundred dollars.) Time that was otherwise wasted during commute hours on trains/buses, or waiting in doctors’ offices, etc. is now spent writing because I can just whip out that little netbook. Even if only a few paragraphs are finished at a time, the story keeps moving forward in ways that I could never make happen before. Just a thought …

    Thanks so much. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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