In your own space, talk about your creative process(es) — anything from the initial inspiration to how you feel after something’s done. Do you struggle with motivation or is it a smooth process? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to pull out when a fanwork isn’t cooperating? What is your level of planning to pantsing/winging it? Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
I use small rituals to set my writing time apart from the rest of my waking life. They're never elaborate: usually it's just closing the curtains, lighting a candle, turning off the overhead light, and turning on my desk lamp. Sometimes I don't even bother with the candle, and in summer, I'll leave the curtains open for hours. The main goal is to put myself into "writing mode" and approach that time with the understanding that inspiration is secondary to productive output. It might be what got me started, but it's not going to necessarily carry me all the way to the end.
I don't write every night. Sometimes I'm sick, sometimes I've got an outstanding religious or professional commitment, sometimes I'm traveling. These things happen. On the nights that I do write, I aim for a minimum of 1,000 new words. On the nights when I'm editing, it's also a minimum of 1,000 words to get through - or at least six pages, if I've printed the story out for red pen notations.
I try to maintain steady momentum and ongoing forward movement. Doubt isn't a luxury I can afford in the main composition phase. Write first, worry about pacing later.
The main thing I use to motivate myself to get my fingers to the keyboard and keep going with the work is the knowledge of how much I want to read the story that I'm writing. If someone else had written it, then I'd go off and read that one. Sometimes they have, and I go read it and be happy. Usually they haven't, and almost invariably, I have to come to terms with the fact that if I want to read a particular story, I have to write it myself.
Another motivating force is spite. As in: I can't believe everyone else is doing this wrong. As in: I can't believe someone with so much less skill and talent than me got this much adulation or that book deal. As in: I know I can do better than what's out there, and I need to show everyone that.
And yet another is having been touched so deeply, and with so much care, by all sorts of works - authors, musicians, actors, painters - that I want to make something that will resonate into someone the way these other works have resonated into me. I can't rewrite East of Eden
or the album "Haughty Melodic." But maybe I can make something that can set something off in someone else the way those set something off in me.
So I roll up my sleeves, light the candles, and get to it.
I do it linear, I do a basic outline and overview with plot points and scenes I want to hit, I don't post until it's done. I do this because I've found it's the best method for me to get to the end of the story. I don't recommend it to anyone else because creative endeavors are so
idiosyncratic that I'm not going to recommend anything
other than "whatever gets you to finish it." If what works for you is doing it out of order and posting as you go, then do that. If you pants, great. If you plot it out down to the very last commas, splendid. Just so long as you get it done.
I also like to use accountability readers - not betas, not cheerleaders, not even alpha readers, though all of those have saved me many times over, and sometimes it's the same person for every one of these roles. Accountability readers exist so I have someone I can send the story to at regular intervals, whether it's every 5000 words or each chapter, who then put their hand on my shoulder, tell me it's fine, and to keep going. I can motivate myself to keep going well enough. It's still a big help to hear someone tell me to keep going. Even knowing they're saying it because I asked them to - well, I'm still hearing them say it.
Every so often, I wonder why I'm pursuing this particular idea. Then I tell myself: if this existed, I'd want to read it. Even if nobody else wants to read it, I already do. So I'd better finish it so I can read it. And maybe they will, too. But I'm the audience right now. Okay, sometimes the audience is also someone else I think would appreciate my take on something or other. But more often than that, vastly more often: I'm writing the thing I wish already existed so I could read it.
Sometimes I take a walk in a park or go to the movies to unstick myself. Sometimes I'll talk through a plot thread in my empty apartment to get a better idea of what I want to communicate in the story. Sometimes I'll sit down in a coffee shop with a notebook and pen and align some ideas that way.
And it's always to the service of getting the work done.