On Motivation

June 3, 2010 at 8:16 am (drafting, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’d be the first to admit that I sometimes don’t write every day. In fact, I can go for weeks at times without writing. But then I’ll suddenly start and the words will flow and stopping becomes quite difficult. Even when I’m superbly busy and should be doing other things.

Those spaces in between aren’t procrastination. Merely a different part of my process. I am planning, thinking, wondering. I am turning ideas around inside my head and waiting to know which one is worth pursuing. And once I know, I begin and I write with certainty.

What keeps me writing? I love it. It is a part of me. Every word given life upon the page and worked over and over again.

Yes, it is tiring. Yes, it is distracting from all the other things I could be doing. Yes, sometimes it keeps me away from things I want to do. But clearly I don’t want sleep or to do any of those other things as much as writing. And for as long as that is true, I will write.

Right now, I haven’t had the time to write properly (without distraction) for two days. My MC was left hanging underneath a rock ledge, fighting for grip on slippery rock in a scene that will undoubtably be cut from the next draft. I am currently pursuing a random thought that crossed my mind earlier in the week and I shoved the MC over the edge just to see what would happen. It is entertaining but really unhelpful to the plot so in the next rewrite she might be saved the effort of rescuing herself.

If I don’t write, she’ll hang there forever. I’ll always wonder what she would have done next. I’ll never see the story through and I’ll never get to the rewrite where I remove the useless scene (or find a use for it). Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. It isn’t as if this story that I’m working on will ever change the world. But I want to write it.

That is my motivation.

What is yours?



  1. Mason Canyon said,

    I like your process of writing. You don’t push yourself, you let it come to you on its own. But, I have to admit now I’m curious to see what happens to the MC hanging underneath the rock ledge. 😉

    Thoughts in Progress

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      So am I. I’m just formulating the next step of how I’m getting this scene to lead back to the story I’m actually trying to tell and am hoping to finish it by later today.

  2. Maribeth said,

    I am similiar in my ways. I find when I allow myself a few days off from writing the most wonderful scenarios pop up. I have had the best ideas come to me on my most lazy days. I have accepted that it is a process and sometimes you have to be doing nothing to think of something.

    Great Post.


  3. Carol Kilgore said,

    I write every day when it’s possible. Let me explain. I live a crazy life with my own little routines. But my husband works at home and often has other ideas about what “we” will do. And when. Plus he generates interruptions with people coming and going, which makes the dogs crazy. Add that to the general hubbub of family, friends, phone calls, and daily chores … well, you see the picture. Some days, despite my best plans, it’s impossible to write. Some days all I manage is to open the manuscript only to close it untouched at the end of the day. And some I don’t manage that. So I grab every opportunity. I hope today will be one.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I hope you get your writing done too. There is nothing worse than having the writing bug but trying to maintain all of the other things you need to do.

  4. Alex Willging said,

    I’ve learned to get used to the ebb and flow of what I once hoped would be a consistent writing schedule. When I’m working on an actual story (and not just writing down ideas or rewriting older concepts), I make an effort to write at least a thousand words a day, which comes out to about two and a quarter pages on MS Word. If I’ve done that much, I feel like I’ve truly accomplished something with the story. But even though I’m between jobs now, I’m still fighting the apathy and self-doubt that keep me doing everything but working on my story and putting all those ideas to the test.

  5. Lynn Rush said,

    Wow, going weeks without writing? I kinda had a little heart attack when I read that. I can’t do that…even if it’s only a few words, I have to write each day.

    Motivation? Gosh, just getting into another world. Creating havoc for my characters, and just pure love of writing keeps me at the keyboard day in and day out. 🙂

    Great post.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Well -weeks without writing something on my WIP. My work kind of means I write every day – lots and lots and lots though usually not what I want to write.

  6. catwoods said,


    I hear you on the timeline for writing. While I virtually write every day, be it for work, my blog or working on a WIP. It’s a rare day that my fingers don’t tap out tiny snippets of something.

    But my WIPS? That’s a whole ‘nother story. I have actually gone weeks without adding a word. Like you, I don’t think this is an earth shattering mistake. It is simply the way I process each project.

    I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to write, unless we fail to write at all.

    NIce post~ cat

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I think sometimes the breaks help. The moments of reflection help the brain to process how the project is oging and where it should be.
      Wishing you the best with your writing.

  7. Lua said,

    I love writing- every step of the process; the thinking, the planning, getting to know the characters, plotting, researching, the actual writing and finally revising…
    My motivation? I guess the fact that I can write (or at least I think I can 🙂 ) is my motivation… Writing is pretty much the only think I like to do and the only thing I’m good at. As long as it doesn’t leave me, I’m sticking with writing ,)

  8. Jemi Fraser said,

    Yikes – you can’t leave her hanging there! 🙂

    I’m pretty much the same – I’ve always written (sporadically) for fun. It’s only in the last year or so I’ve decided to see what it takes to publish (which is a lot!). I write because I enjoy it – I like creating characters – putting words on paper – watching it all develop. Fun. 🙂

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I can’t let her fall either, which is a shame because she probably deserves it at this point (kidding).
      I agree, it is fun. The process – even when it isn’t gonig well – is generally enjoyable.

  9. The Old Silly said,

    It’s whatever works for you, really, and I am much the same. I write every day, but not always inspired … more as a discipline, honing the craft, practicing, etc. … but my best writing comes when in the “zone” when the ideas and inspirations are coming faster than I can key them in and I will write continuously and feverishly even when I, like you, “should be doing something else”, lol.

  10. writerleerobertson said,

    I write because it truly makes me happy.

    Last year I remember there was a phase I felt a bit down and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized, it was because I hadn’t been writing lately.

    I think this is our reward as writers, we have a source of happiness that doesn’t cost anything and will always be there (for as long as we continue doing it).

  11. Carol J. Garvin said,

    I think Cat is right that there isn’t really a right or wrong way to approach writing. As long as we’re writing at all we’re making progress. I love the psychology of developing my characters, watching them turn into real people coping with their lives within my story. Does that mean I’m a control freak? 😉

  12. Casey Lybrand said,

    I like your motivation. Don’t leave her hanging!

    I try to just push forward, even when I don’t want to. I usually get into once I’m going. I want to know where the story is going! I have an outline, but the specifics that emerge during the writing help keep me going.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      The first draft really is that trial and error. You have an idea where you want it to go but the how keeps changing and sometimes you end up taking a very different road.

  13. Corra McFeydon said,

    What’s my motivation?

    I want to be a novelist. I can’t very well do that without writing.

    – Corra 🙂

    the victorian heroine

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Have to agree. Hard to be a novelist without a novel. Wishing you the best of luck.

  14. Yee-haw! It’s a blog post roundup… « Serial Distractions said,

    […] Cassandra Jade wrote this very nice post “On Motivation“.  I really enjoy her lack of self-flagellation when she doesn’t write.  For her, it […]

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