Motivation. I often hear the comment, "I could NEVER be self-employed! You must be so disciplined!" I don't think that I'm any more disciplined than the next person, and my answer is usually something along the lines of, "There's nothing more motivating than bills to pay." I think that there is a misconception that artists have to wait until there is a 'muse' who will inspire them towards creativity and industry. Nah. You work until 'it' comes, and THEN you ride the wave.
People comment on my discipline all the time. *All* the time. (It's all anybody ever says to me! Really!) I really, truly, honestly don't think I'm particularly disciplined.
I also know I really, truly honestly haven't wanted to work today, and so after dragging 500 grim words out this morning, I said okay, fuck this, I'm going to take the dog on a *good* walk (as opposed to our usual one) and then I'm going to come back and write to my bare-minimum quota, because I have to get at least that number of words done every god damned day for the next couple weeks.
And I did.
This is my *job*. It's not, when you get right down to it, a necessarily more exciting job than web design or working in a comic shop or being a chef. Frankly, it's probably less exciting, because if you do those things at least you go out and interact with other people, whereas most of my interaction takes place with people who live in my head. The major difference in *discipline* is that I don't have a boss wanting to know when the project is going to be turned in, or breathing down my neck because it's late. My job pretty much involves agreeing with a client--the publisher--on when the project will be turned in, and then getting it turned in. I guess to me it's not any more about discipline than it is in *any* job: you're getting paid, so you do the work. Motivation? Same thing.
The part where I'll agree that discipline *does* come in is where you're practicing. URBAN SHAMAN was (including TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER, which I wrote with shadowhwk) my fifth novel, and I'd written seven before URBAN SHAMAN got bought. It takes a certain amount of discipline or motivation to keep writing books until you're good/lucky enough to get published, and that, okay, I'll grant you. It's a second job and you're doing it for free and there's not actually any guarantee there's going to be a financial payoff at any point, but y'know, if you want it, you gotta do it. T'ain't magic. T'ain't exciting. It's just work.
And now, whether I want to or not--and I don't--I'm going to go write another thousand words. It's not because the Muse is moving me, 'cause she isn't. It's just because this is my job.