I love to write. I think most “normal” people hate to write. I remember back before e-mail when I would exchange letters with friends and relatives, and as soon as I got a letter from one of them I would love sitting down to write a reply. They would often complain that I wrote back too soon, thereby putting the ball back in their court so they were on the hook again for something that was obviously a dreaded chore. I can’t even count the number of people who, after learning that I’ve written several books, say they could never do that. I’ve even heard people say that staring at a blank sheet of paper intimidates the hell out of them. I love starting with a nice, clean blank sheet; the possibilities are endless.
But all that aside, that doesn’t mean that I write constantly. I do have to be motivated. In my earlier blogs about inspiration, I mention how some writers discipline themselves to sit down and write X number of hours (or pages) every day. I used to envy people who did that, because I just couldn’t do it and it seemed very ambitious and very professional. Over the years I have tried it and it just doesn’t work for me. Whatever I write when I am unmotivated (and/or uninspired) is just crap, and that to me is a waste of time. Why should I discipline myself to write if I’m only going to throw it all away at the end of the day? I see no purpose in that whatsoever. So if I’m not motivated, if I’m not inspired, I don’t write.
Most of the time that’s not a problem. If I don’t schedule my writing, there are no deadlines to keep, no quotas to meet. If I do, I do; if I don’t, I don’t. I’ve always had a “day job” and only sold completed manuscripts. I have never sold a book on spec, never had an editor or publisher standing over my shoulder waiting for pages. I’d have a lot of trouble with pressure like that. No, I work on a book until it feels done, then figure out the publishing aspect. Since I’ve turned to self-publishing, it’s all done on my time, at my pace, and on my very undisciplined schedule. The story is the thing that keeps me motivated and moving forward, not someone else’s sense of time.
But that also means I have dry spells. I have gone days, weeks, months, even years without writing a thing. Years ago when I was prioritizing and reorganizing my personal life, I had no energy left for writing. It was all going into my reinvention of myself. Most of the time that was fine as I had plenty of other things to think about, and I had already written 5 books and published 2. But when this particular dry spell stretched into years, I began to wonder if—and fear that—I would never write again. That was scary to contemplate.
Luckily not a problem. Somewhere along the line I had the dream that inspired Goddess Rising, and I was off to the races again. This was one of those stories that grabbed me by the throat and would not let go; I couldn’t not write it. It took two years to write, in between all the other stuff that I was doing, but eventually it got done. And I’ve never had a dry spell like that since.
Now, after having been through that spell and coming out of it, I don’t question my motivation or lack thereof. I know I will write. Maybe not today, but I will write. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not according to anyone else’s schedule, maybe not with any discipline or plan.
But I will write.