I don’t know. I’m terribly unfocused when it comes to writing, and the main thing that motivates me is fear—a deadline, in other words. Folks at work used to joke that, if we made a BioWare trading card game, the David Gaider card would be next to worthless for the first couple of turns and then would shift into overdrive and be worth 5x the power of everyone else. My response? “Fair.”
I’ve gotten better as time’s passed, trying to impose a bit more discipline over my schedule. There’s still the matter of keeping myself interested in the same subject for a long period of time… the temptation, after all, is for your imagination to wander over to some other intriguing thing before your work on the current one is even done. All I can really say about that is that you have to love the result as much as the idea—you have to fall in love with having produced something.
As Dorothy Parker said: “I hate writing. I love having written.”
Writing is a difficult process, much like game design. It gets even more dreadful once you’ve finished the first draft and you have to commit to the drudgery of editing. The feeling that you get, once it’s all said and done and out there and real? You have to keep that in mind and aim for it, or the “sweetheart stage” of the Brand New Idea will always be far, far more attractive. Because new ideas are always the best, and perfect, and completely untarnished by implementation.
But if you’re not worried about producing (and why do you need to be? Consider your answer about this carefully, as it involves examining the real reason you write at all—and it may, in fact, not be to produce a finished work and receive praise. That may be other peoples’ reason, not yours), then don’t sweat over it. Fanfiction is, presumably, about having fun. Follow your fun, and see where it leads you.
This is fascinating for me. I’ve thought of that Dorothy Parker a million times because it is so true of me— and I’ve always thought of it as a weakness, not a strength.