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10 October 2006 @ 03:32 pm
from neil's website...  
From Neil, 17 important things if you want to be a freelancer. #8 particularly struck home:

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.
Current Mood: aggravatedup in arms
Kate Kirbykirbyk on October 10th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know how you feel. There are days when I'm really bleh, and I know I'm not going to feel it. You just sort of put your head down, do something, and get through the day. (This was a lot harder for me 10 years ago, the bad days.) But then, there's the days where ideas are flowing, and things like lunch and going home are horrible burdens, and I get a week's worth of 'normal' work done in a day. This is just probably the way that creative jobs go. (Programming jobs have a wide range of creative vs. same old, same old, but mine is thankfully weighted heavily on the creative side.)

The trick is to not give up on the bad days, and make room for the good ones. I think the latter is harder in a corporate job, because you can't always blow off meetings and your boss just because you're in the zone (though, sometimes!) A breakdown of these three types of days is not a terrible metric for job satisfaction. (I find myself running out the clock a lot less often at this job than my last one.)
lady_findellady_findel on October 10th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
Well, ok, so I'm not going to say I admire your discipline, but I do admire your persistence. I get thrown off the whole creative process when a small poem doesn't come together like it should. I get frustrated and just give up. Yet this could be explained otherwise: at the moment I'm an extremely busy student at university, I just don't have the time to practise poetry or novel-writing. Though I would like to... Yet I think it's good I watch journals like yours or Ursula, and see that art is work... And as the saying goes: 'Art is 1% inspiration and 99% transpiration'.

By the way, do you know if your novels wer published in Belgium?
dqg_neal: Dark Questdqg_neal on October 10th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
Aye, we can see it is the discipline to keep dragging on, and the motivation of the paycheck.

Me, I can't keep on one thing long enough. Me, from my day job, to my publishing rpg books, to trying to drag on and finish an attempt at a novel. You write more in you blog in each day than I even remember to sit down and write in my novel.

I don't have quite the same discipline or incentive to finish a project. Although I understand when I do freelance writing that if I miss the deadline, there is a good chance they won't use my work, or even use me again, so I have a motivation not to miss the deadline... But on the day to day the motivation is lax. It is likely a mad dash on the last couple of days to finish the project.

I think your motivation is that little yappy dog. You know deep down if you don't finish your work, the next time it will bite you in the butt :) (Because you know your fans want to read what you write!!!)