I am not a highly motivated person. Left alone, I’d probably drift to a stop on nearly everything. I have to structure the world around me to keep myself moving on things.
And so, I read with interest this letter, written by the fantastic novelist Neil Gaiman to NaNoWriMo participants, which reads in part
Dear NaNoWriMo Author,
By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.
Welcome to the club.
That’s how novels get written.
You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Ok, that rings my chimes pretty loudly.
This is how my photography is working of late. When I stop and look at how things look, it’s disappointing. About all I’ve got is the idea that if after I take a photo I proceed to take the next photo, and I repeat, repeat, repeat, eventually I will come out in a different and hopefully better place.
It’s not about finding the perfect photo, or even the great photo or the last photo. It’s about finding the next photo. Make that next photo. Let the shutter go, then let go of that photo and move on to the next one.
I’m not arguing for everyone doing it this way. I’m not even arguing that most, or many, or even a few people should do it this way. But I’m doing it this way, for now, and it’s nothing more than an experiment to see what happens when I do.