One of the hardest things to overcome as a writer is a lack of motivation. I don’t really believe in writer’s block (more on that another day). But I do believe in extreme laziness. So how do you push past these feelings?
Ask yourself, is this really what I want to do? Do you really want to write? When I think about the answer to this question sometimes I want to say no. One of my true passions is singing. I love to sing– and if I’m not writing to process a hard time or whatever, I’m singing it out. I’m not awful– I probably could be really good at it. I just never really pursued anything outside of high school. I remember filling out my college application for UM, wondering if instead of checking an undecided major, I should have checked voice. But then I’d have to go to an audition and certainly be rejected. There was too much risk in pursuing that dream.
So back to my original question: Is this what I want to do? To answer: in many ways, yes. As much as I love to sing, I’d be content just doing it at church on Sundays. I really don’t want to be a famous singer. (Famous writer? Now that I’m okay with) So, I went with my number 2 passion, which is writing. I’ve gone so far as to get my master’s degree in it. But the last thing I want to do is work on anything related to it. The sad part is, I watch online TV all day instead of just writing what I want to write. I don’t know why I can’t waste time doing something worthwhile. If I’m going to do something constructive, I feel like it absolutely has to be school.
You always hear people saying: “follow your dreams.” And in this world, you can’t always skip the boring crap and just follow your dreams. I don’t have a trust fund that I can live off of while I start my businesses, write my novels, and move to some fancy apartment in LA while I audition for record labels. Real life for the majority of us doesn’t work that way.
I don’t feel like writing a thesis. I want total creative freedom over my story. I want to write with un-yielded inspiration and passion. Sometimes I feel like my story has been hijacked. (no offense professor.) I want ideas to come to me as I write. That’s part of the fun. Yet, writing a creative thesis is not like that. I have a freaking outline for my story. I don’t even write outlines for academic papers. I find outlines constricting and awful. Who knows what you’ll discover while writing?
Ironically enough, I found a quote from one of my school readings that fits this situation perfectly by Donald Murray (as quoted in Composition Pedagogies by Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper and Kurt Schick):
The writer is constantly learning from the writing what it intends to say. The writer listens for evolving meaning…The writing itself helps the writer see the subject.
I feel like my artistic creativity is being constrained and squashed into a tiny little box.
I want to be a writer but I have BILLS that must be paid. I have to get a job to pay those bills. And in order to get a job I have to get my degree and take professional exams. And to get the master’s and pass the tests I have to do all the boring crap I don’t feel like doing. And it goes on and on and on. But if this is what I want to do, I have to do all the boring crap.
I have to look past all of the stuff in front of me and look at the big picture. I have to see those words: “#1 New York Times Best Selling Author Talia Clay.” I have to see my master’s degree framed and mounted on the wall. I have to see my accomplishments in action so I can continue moving forward.
I never understood why self-help authors tell people to make vision boards. I get it now. Vision boards let you see your accomplishments before they happen. They inspire you. They remind you why you’re busting your ass doing bullshit you don’t care about. They give you hope.
Hope, in and of itself, is the best motivator.