So where does a writer’s motivation or inspiration come from? And is motivation different than inspiration? Do you have to be inspired to get motivated? Or vice versa? We’re talking about what really gets you off your butt to write.
Motivation: noun. The reasons behind someone’s actions or behaviors.
The first synonym for motivation is inspiration.
Inspiration: noun. The process of being filled with a feeling or with the urge to do something.
The first synonym for inspiration is motivation.
I’ve often heard my writing buddies talk about their muse, but I’m not sure I have one. At some point in the past, I discussed the concept that muses (if they exist) needed to be treated like willful teenagers and beaten into submission. I could be wrong about that. Not the part about beating the willful teenager – just the part about them being a teenager. After writing a few books, I now believe that a muse would be more like a rather fat tomcat, lounging around until he feels the need to make noise, waste, a hairball, or more useless damn cats. The muse hangs about until they decide you need some inspiration and then drops it on you. And, much like a cat hacking up a hairball, that usually happens at some incredibly inopportune time.
Now, I fully admit to having voices in my head, and they are a bunch of chatty Cathy’s sometimes. But what is it that gets me off my butt to do this? No one forces me to come out here and sit down at this desk, but I’m here almost every day, working on something. Writing, rewriting, or just faking it until I make it.
In October, I accepted the challenge of the NaNoWrite, and I spent November accomplishing the goal of 50,000 words in a month. That novel has finished beta and will move into edit in the next quarter. But, finding my new plot has been slow. I had ideas, but no inspiration or motivation. Until now.
I was lurking on a message board and saw an editor chat for a publisher who shall remain nameless. Their particular genre is not my cup of tea, but the chats are often interesting and useful. There was discussion going on about what they were looking for in character and storyline. It had to do with the idea of an alpha male and the wallflower female, who is really much stronger than she thinks. She brings out the best in him and we can see his true self, and she learns to get off the wall. Ugh. Really? However, one of the questions was, what if she’s only a wallflower because she’s a tomboy?
Bingo! A scene flashed into my head and I have the concept for the book. There is a real appeal to a “Fish Out of Water” story. Most of us can relate to that. Lord knows that I’ve been one more than once. I pounded out the opening 1000 words yesterday and today I’m laying out the plot line.
So was I motivated or inspired? I don’t really know and I’m not really sure I care. But that lazy fat cat is off the couch and on the move.