Over at the Guild forums, Ben Reid has listed the various motivation styles of he and his fellow Wellington writing group members. I was surprised to realise that I’ve tried all of them.

Was each style a kind of stage in my development as a writer? Or a flailing about in search of One True Way to Write? Answer is currently in the Too Hard basket.

Meantime, some arbitrary categories:

Inspiration as Motivation

Watching films and television are equal parts inspiration and motivation… and de-motivation. Being motivated by a film or television programme is dead easy. The line between inspiration and de-motivation is fiendishly fine: Wow, that was soo freaking cool, I wanna do that! can oh-so-easily become I have nothing to offer, I am a hack, I am nothing.

When it comes to making up character backstories or synopsising, my first response is almost always that if I – that is, The Audience – can’t see it or hear it, why the hell do I have to write that shit? What I forget though is that once I’ve done the above bios or treatments, I find myself newly enthused – inspired, even – as I rediscover why I want to write the story in the first place.

Sharing as Motivation

I used to talk over various stages of my script with friends and family. If I wasn’t careful – and I certainly wasn’t in those early heady days – I discovered that their indulgent or polite smiles of heyyy, he’s a writer would eventually morph into looks of if he tells me about his script, I will stab him in the eye-socket with my teaspoon.

Co-writing is something I’d like to do although very probably for the wrong reason: I think all I really want is for someone else to do the heavy lifting. (There might be a future post in this.)

I don’t tell anyone about being competitive with my writing and career. It’s a secret.


No matter how enthused – or sick to the back teeth – I am with a script, those ninety-plus pages and I need a time-out. It’s true: absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Thinking ahead to the next project is more of an occupational hazard than a motivator.

And ooh, I just live for deadlines. Especially if I’ve been wreaking havoc with my mouse-hand and sleeping patterns on Call of Duty for most of the time I should’ve been writing.

The past while, I’ve been just writing – anything sometimes, any-goddamned thing just to bloody get something on-screen – hating every single keystroke, counting the pages until I can stop, and I know it’s rubbish, and that I’ll have to rewrite it.

But I also know that every element that I throw out has broadened what I know about The Story. That every little darling whose throat I’ve crushed, gave me something, even fleetingly, towards The Story.

And in those screeds of reluctantly tapped out script-moments, I know that I’ve taken just that little step closer to finishing.