Growing up, we had a rule at my house. When you turned 5, you took piano. Hard and fast. I couldn't wait for my turn . . . until it actually came.
Then I hated it.
Hated that I was forced to waste precious daylight hours practicing the piano when I could be doing something much more important such as playing in the ditch with my friends.
I was 9 when I convinced my mom that I was wasting my time and her money (and I believe my piano teacher told my mom the same thing). I got to quit.
Which I appreciated until I found a piece of music I really wanted to play.* Suddenly I spent hours at the piano learning how to play it.
And then there was another song I loved, but the sheet music was terrible! I wanted to play what I heard on the radio. Next thing I know, I'm begging my dad for lessons on playing by ear.**
The point of all this is that when I wanted something, I found the motivation to spend time learning and practicing a skill. And it was FUN.
So let's get to the point. I love writing. I do. I love creating a new world that I (and hopefully others) can get lost in. I love meeting my characters and discovering their secrets. I love that feeling of satisfaction at having gotten the words just right . . . of having made someone laugh or cry or think or whatever it is. I love it.
Even so, sometimes I lose my motivation. I want to write. I want to immerse myself in that world, but I struggle to make myself actually do it.
So the question is why? Why do I struggle to make myself do something I love?
Honestly, I don't know why . . . but I have some theories.
- Winter doldrums: Totally real thing.*** It's cold. I'm tired. There's less daylight, and I'm getting less vitamin D. Winter is winter, and aren't we supposed to hibernate or something?
- Sheer laziness: Writing is work.**** Sometimes I just don't want to work. I want to laze about and catch up on those seasons of Sherlock I've missed.*^5 I'm sure you understand.
- My long-term goal is messing with my head: My overall goal is to finish. But when I think of the twenty bajillion more rounds of revisions I have to face in order to reach that goal . . . well, you can see why I just want to curl up in a ball, rock back and forth, and hum Kumbaya. It's overwhelming!
- I have kids: Yeah, this one's pretty self-explanatory. But it never fails . . . I'm just getting in the zone when the call of the wiley one echoes through the house: "MOM! Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum! Can. You. Come. Wipe. My. Bot. Tom." Yep, she yells it just like that. And when I go to her, she tells me that she yelled it just like that. She's pretty proud of that little rhyme. Gosh . . . I should use that in a picture book. ;)
So I could go on.*^6 But the point is, there are plenty of excuses we can use for why we didn't write. We need to find that one thing that keeps us going. We need to find that one song that motivates us. That one challenge that has us begging for more writing time. Because isn't that why we started on this road in the first place?
What is your motivation?
*It may or may not have been "Part of this World" from Little Mermaid, and I may or may not have sung this song incessantly at the time. But you'll never know for sure. ;)
**My dad's an amazingly accomplished musician and I don't mind bragging on him a bit.
***This is actually the reason that I doubt my ability to live in Alaska or anywhere way up North. How do you people do it?
****This it a totally true thing, too. ;)
*^5 That would refer to every season. So you can see why I really need to catch up.
*^6 Seriously. I swear I didn't just stare at the screen for five minutes trying to come up with a fifth theory.