Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Inspiration versus motivation

Today I was visiting Meg Cabot's blog. I follow her blog regularly - both for a fix of writerly insight and for fun (okay, also for the fact that I can totally relate to her reflections on being a teen in the 80s!). Today (Sept. 2) she wrote:

"I think some people, when they’re asking authors about inspiration, are actually mistaking the word inspiration for motivation, ie, “What motivates authors (motivation = willingness to complete a sometimes onerous task) to sit there and keep their butt in a chair for so long that they’re able to finish a whole book?” If authors were really being honest, they’d admit there are only three things that motivate them to finish their books. They are, in order of motivational effectiveness:
–Chocolate (any kind, cheap, expensive—doesn’t matter)
–Just wanting to get the damn thing finished so they can get on with their lives
–Panic over inability to pay their mortgages if they don’t get paid"

That is one of the best responses I've read to the question! And terrific advice for pre-publication writers. Coming a close second, though not in response to that precise question, is Neil Gaiman's reflection on the best writing advice he'd ever received.

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