Two of the biggest struggles I have with working on a project are inspiration and motivation. This is especially true with editing. Although I have plenty of ideas for new projects, getting ideas on how to fix a draggy scene or how to support a saggy middle is harder. And sometimes the inspiration to do so sounds a lot more like it’d be easier to completely start over.
Motivation on the other hand is definitely the killer. With all those shiny new ideas, the energy to sit and work on something I’ve already finished can feel like a lot more than it took to finish in the first place. The question is then how do I keep focus all the way through editing a project?
Write side-scenes. Sometimes fixing a scene is as easy as changing it’s point-of-view. Other times, the problem with the scene is that the important stuff is happening elsewhere. In the early drafts I can always write scenes that either aren’t seen by the main characters, or that are from a minor character’s view. That gives me a chance to re-explore the scene and pick up new ideas for how to fix it.
A 2:1 trade-off. In the case of simply not wanting to work on that project, sometimes it helps to give myself permission to work on something else after I’ve hit a certain number of pages, minutes or words. Usually I try to keep it so that the second project gets about half as much attention, so if I’m writing for thirty minutes on my main project, I’ll only write for fifteen on the other.
Get away from the writing. In some cases, the best option is to do something that doesn’t involve actually writing or editing. I might put on a playlist while I’m doing dishes or folding laundry. I try to pick repetitive tasks that don’t need a lot of forward-focus so that I can work out and daydream on plot problems or new ideas. Often times this gives me an idea of how to fix things as well as helping me find the flow I need to sit down and get it done.
What are some of the ways you tackle inspiration and motivation?