383. The Right Motivations This Time

Char came home with Jay and they had had a good trip down south to the family, and the rest of the day was pretty much waiting and prepping for the other big trip this month – to my parents’.

Everything else is on standby, as expected.

I’ve been thinking about under what conditions a creative project equals stress, if I can’t work on it, like on a day like this. I think the mistake I made an obvious mistake for many years was, as concluded in other posts about the subject – especially my problems with finding the right motivation to draw:

I let quantity trump quality.

For example, the reason my latest attempt at writing a novel (a YA fantasy, in the works circa 2012-15) failed was that too many quantitative motivations got mixed up in it.

I wanted to earn money from it – preferably all my income.

I wanted to do something creative with concepts Char and I had developed, even after my idea for a story had developed beyond that.

I wanted to finish in as short as time as possible and be as productive as possible instead of having as much fun as possible. I was very inspired, or so I thought, by prolific writers who blogged about how easy it was to write a lot (and conversely, how pathetic it was if other writers did not do so).

So money, miscast loyalty to others, and devotion to productivity methods that may work for others but not oneself.

Those three agendas sucked out a lot of energy from the YA novel, until I shelved it when other parts of reality killed the last of my motivation, notably my need to focus on my own business, on getting settled in yet another new apartment and dealing with the personal and relationship fall-out after (at first) not having been able to have Jay, after many treatments. Oh, and a couple of close family members died, too. Just sayin’ …

In contrast, I managed in those years also to create four live-talks with about 300 slides all in all, each talk worth about 200 hours of prep work and (fun) reading in that time, each earning about 2K USD per year on average – a fact which I quickly gauged when I got to know the market just a little bit.

I managed to write a handful of novellas for my Shade of the Morning Sun-series – not many, but some.

And I did two role-playing campaigns complete with prep work, live-sessions every other month (more or less) and a blog with short stories and quick illustrations.

So what worked for me to produce stories and art was:

  • quick money earnings
  • a personal stake or channel of expression
  • having fun, with friends whom I knew expected some entertainment from me

  • no deadlines, no quantity demands

A combination of those motivations, or – in the case of novellas and RPG: a single one of them – led to significant creative output.

And that’s what I want to do with Hammer and Magic! Since I can’t earn money from it now anyway, if ever, it is primarily there for

– fun and relaxation (including the little bits of art that accompanies it)
– with a few ‘friends’ (those who read and expect to be entertained)
– and with a view to having more fun if these people and I could make this into an online RPG – and co-create more of the world in which the story takes place. (There have been some of the latter projects in the alternatehistory.com forum I am posting in, so why not?)

Those are to be the primary motivations. For Hammer and Magic. And this post is here to remind me, so I don’t flunk it again.

Then, once I get more time, I will do more novellas, now with that theme about past lives I have written about, and for personal reasons mostly, and personal expression. And perhaps a full-fledged graphic novel project (or comic book project, if you will) about that dimension travel story I have brewed on for a few years now. Also mostly for personal expression-reasons, to put it that way.

But while the context is Jay, family and struggling to carve time to earn money, then whatever spare time I can manage to get has to be fun-filled and used under the same conditions to create art, as I have with other successful art-projects.

Maybe I had too much time previously, so I did not force myself to look at my motivations for that novel at an earlier occasion? I don’t know. But what is important is that I now finally learn and remember what works for me – under particular conditions – to create art and story.

I am getting there.