Tuesday, November 22, 2011

About writing

I was just catching up on the nano mail and read this great pep talk by Chris Cleave, author of Incendiary.  It's a great message so I thought I would include a snippet here.  He's answering the question 'what keeps you motivated':

The answer to this question is always changing for me. When I started writing as a child I just loved the work of making good sentences and paragraphs - of playing with language. Later I was motivated by provoking strong reactions in the people I showed my work to. Then there was a bad time of several years when I was motivated by a desire for a certain kind of glory or glamour, without thinking too hard about what that meant. I think you need to get through that stage pretty quickly. 

After my first novel was published I was motivated to bring injustices to light with my work, and to help people concussed by bad TV to find real life interesting again. That had a kind of grandiosity to it, though, and I found that my writing improved when I learned a little bit more humility. Then, after my second novel did well, I was motivated for a long time by fear – the fear of not being able to do it again. What cured me of that was rediscovering my very first motivation – the love of working with language and character. 

I’d say that is what motivates me now. I simply enjoy sitting down in front of my screen and exploring my characters. I like the mental work of solving the problems of plot and structure. I like exercising my freedom to write as I please, for readers who have the freedom to read as they please. I like not needing anyone’s permission. I try to remember how lucky we all are to live like this. I see it as a temporary state of grace and I find that very motivating. 

What a great journey.  It spoke to me because I find myself going through versions of all three places multiple times a day.  It can be difficult for me to stay in a state for too long.  My mind does it's best to play tricks on me and psych me out.  I try to not to listen.  But it is, after all, my own mind.  Hard to ignore your very own thoughts.  

Nano is kicking my but this year.  I am definitely more productive than ever but I think I might need to keep working on multiple things at once so as to not ever get too attached to any one thing and then be soooo afraid of messing it up and making the wrong choices.  It's not the most productive way to work.  But there is a 'slowly but surely' rhythm to it.  I guess that will have to work for me.  For now.  Hopefully, this will all be a little easier in a few years when I'm not such a baby writer.  Then again, maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.  

Here's to hoping.  

Happy reading and writing, all!


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