Monday, December 2, 2013

What's my motivation?

So, believe me when I say this: I know about writer's slumps.

Want to know the sort of thing that can cause you to forget all about writing? Depression will do it. a few rejection letters will lead to self-doubt and that can be a bruiser. So, oddly enough, will having too much to write. I have dealt with all three in my time and with a dozen other reasons for a slump as well.

Let me clarify something for you. Some people think a writer's slump and writer's block are the same thing and I do not agree. A slump is inconvenient and annoying. Writer's block is painful. May you never deal with writer's block.

That said, a slump is almost as crippling, The difference is you can push through it. Maybe.

A long while back now, when CANDYMAN 2 was coming out in theaters, I did an interview with actor Tony Todd, who played the Candyman and who was also a really nice guy. He told me an anecdote about working in the TV industry at one point. he'd finished with acting school and got a gig on a soap opera. When the time came for one of his first scenes he looked to the director and said, "What's my motivation for this scene?"

The director looked at him, rolled his eyes and said, "Your paycheck."

Know what? That's often a mighty fine motivator.

The catch is, you have to find the things that work for you. One of the things that works best for me is exactly that. I remember that I'm being PAID TO DO A JOB and I make myself work. Part of that is upbringing. I was raised in a household where you got a job, you worked hard and you were paid. End of discussion. That particular work ethic has saved me a few times. It might not work for everyone, but it has made me sit my butt down and stare at the computer screen until I could make myself put words on the blank screen staring at me.

Here's another one that works for me. I remember that I LIKE writing. Sometimes it's not easy, but that's not the point. I actually enjoy the process of telling stories. The part I don't like so much is the business aspect of my particular profession. Now and then if I can manage to separate the two, it's a bit easier.

Do I have any sure fire secrets? No. What works for me might not work for you.

What's my motivation? It depends on the day. Sometimes I promise myself a treat. Do X number of words/pages and I will allow myself to watch a new movie or to spend a little extra time goofing off whenI know good and well I should be working.

Sometimes I get angry. That often does the job for me. Had a bad day? Want to take it out on someone? Fine. I'll focus that anger and do unto a character in my book why I would never want done to me. Now and then it's fun to play angry god.

Most times I find a little mood music, sit myself down and get away from the distractions. Because when procrastination does;t do the job, discipline sometimes does. No Facebook, no internet, no books, no TV until I meet my goals.

Whatever it takes and I can be a very hard man to work for.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, and yes...though having too much to write hasn't been a problem yet. Ha! I guess I can raise my hand and say I am in a slump, no to dig myself out...