Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Kick in the Ass - Collaborative Writing as Motivator

One of the biggest hurdles in writing and the history of wanting to be a writer, from the greats down to us little guys with the manuscript under the bed (or hiding on the hard drive) is the self-discipline it takes to write, and to write every day.

From when I first scrawled my florid and very lurid scifi fantasy when I was sixteen in little notebooks, and then on an old rickety typewriter with sticky keys to this very day my single biggest challenge it to find either the time or the motivation to write. Back in the days when I could squander time as if it were cheap oil I had no self-discipline, and frankly nothing to say that anyone needed to read, but gradually over the years I have accrued a little more depth but finding time and the discipline to sit down and put words to paper - sorry flat screen monitor - is still a challenge to the soul.

I have noticed a lot of motivational workshops, classes, tips, and even projects out there such as NaNoWriMo that are designed to help people get over one of the most single debilitating of handicaps on the writing life. My solution has been a little different.

Creating a role-playing and collaborative writing community was both a solution to the problem and an additional obstacle to the problem. Participating in my collaborative 'novels' requires me to write. There is no getting around the feeling of tension that builds from making people wait on your side of the story. I wish I could say that I eliminate that tension by getting my fingers tapping rapidly across the keyboard in a flurry of inspired madness, but it is often not so. There are so many other things to do: programming the site; programming a site for clients; going to work; helping my family out with their various projects; spending time with my loved ones; reading a good book (or even a bad one on occasion); blogging; socializing on the internet and getting distracted by the information highway overload.

However all those distraction aside, distractions that without Pan Historia I would allow to take me far away from writing fiction, I still manage to keep writing. Not everyday as I would like, but certainly regularly. There are deadlines and people to respond and react to what I write so that it is no longer a lonely business. Being able to entertain and delight my co-writers is a great motivator. And, of course, for those people that use the site regularly without the responsibility of programming and administering it, there are fewer distractions to holding up their end of the collaborative bargain. Over the years I really don't believe I would have developed as a writer without Pan Historia as my main obsession. I'm truly grateful for all the stories and all the people that have helped to keep me motivated and writing.

Now I better get over there and write a post for my cold-blooded werewolf terrorist…

It's too long overdue and I have people waiting.

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