The ‘M’ Word – Motivation

by Janis Patterson

Last month on the Make Mine Mystery blog I wrote about the plethora of book ideas that always seem to overcome and sometimes swamp me. ( https://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/2018/08/an-embarrassment-of-riches.html )

This resonated with a lot of my writer friends who seem to have the same dilemma, but a comment from my good friend, mystery writer Nancy J. Cohen, author of the fabulous Bad Hair Day mysteries, especially touched me. In part, she said “I agree that ideas are out there… My problem currently is lack of motivation to pursue these ideas.”

I could not have said it better. I sold my first novel in 1979 and have been writing ever since. Not constantly, as life has interfered much too often, but I always seemed to be writing something, if nothing but jotting down ideas. That’s a loooong time to be tangled up with words, with creating worlds and populations out of nothing but imagination and caffeine.

Lately I too have been suffering that same lack of motivation. As I have talked about here and there recently, I have been ‘slothing’ since a couple of surgeries at the end of last year – and enjoying it thoroughly. (I even changed my Spirit Animal to the sloth.) Eight months, however, is long enough to recuperate from surgery! But I haven’t. Oh, I’ve healed just fine. And I’ve fulfilled all my contracts, but it lacked the joyousness that writing always held for me.

My friends and readers have wished me well, assured me that this was temporary, and that the joy of writing would return. And it has – sort of. Instead of being a business, writing has become a self-indulgence, a pixilated form of daydreaming, and nothing connected with professionalism. It’s also very handy for avoiding housework! (Did I mention that I totally lack the housekeeping gene?)

All of which results in a cache of six manuscripts, all originally intended for self-publishing, most of which have been edited, and all sitting on my hard drive gathering metaphoric dust. I cannot seem to get the slightest bit interested in getting them out. Of course, if my sales were better I might be more enthusiastic, but unless things pick up soon I’ll have to start paying people not to read my books, and that is not an incentive to putting more out there!

Maybe this is just another step in my ‘healing’ process… I hope so, but I must tell you, right now I really don’t care. And that’s terrible. I’m working on it, I really am… and I’ll get right on getting those dormant manuscripts out… soon. Yeah, I promise. Soon.

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4 Responses to The ‘M’ Word – Motivation

  1. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    You hit a similar note with me. These are tough times for writers for many reasons.

    Like

  2. patyjag says:

    Janis, I know several people who have felt the slump of motivation and sales. I hope both change for you soon. I have so many ideas and things I want to write, I can’t write fast enough and feel cheated when I have to do something other than write. I hope the motivation comes back soon. I love your books.

    Like

  3. Amber Foxx says:

    Sales slumps are tough. Marketing is elusive. I’m with you there. I’ve found the best way to get motivated is not to wait until I feel motivated. I used to need this “tool” a lot in the winter when I lived in Virginia and didn’t feel like running outdoors. I’d just get into my running gear, layers and gloves and all, and the joy would show up once I was into the first mile. Motivation shows up in the middle of writing once I get started.

    What’s your new spirit animal? Post-sloth? Maybe that will help?

    Like

  4. vonniehughes says:

    I hear you.

    Like

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