Monday, January 19, 2009

Staying Motivated--originally posted 09/20/06

I don't have much interesting news to report--just chugging away writing pages of my new manuscript--so I thought I'd talk about a subject suggested by a reader. If you'd like me to discuss something in my blog, please go to my website and click on "Contact Me," like this reader did, and I'll address it. So, the subject is how to get and keep that motivation to put your butt in the chair and write. Pre-published writers don't have editors and deadlines to hound them, only their own desires. All of us have gone through those phases of feeling depressed and unrewarded and wanting to give up on the whole publication dream. But, as was the case with me, when you're feeling the absolute lowest and wondering if you'll EVER get published, that's usually right before you get THE CALL. Or the email, or the letter that says something you submitted was finally accepted. You're feeling that way because deep down you know you're stuff is publishable, but it hasn't crossed the right person's desk yet who wants it.

Here's what I did, and still do, to stay motivated while waiting for the good news. You need a support system. Join a critique group, a goal-setting group, a group of local writers. Misery loves company, they say, but don't just kvetch with your fellow writers. Encourage each other and set goals. I'm in a weekly online goal-setting group where we post goals and report on them. Often, for me, that means rushing to my writing chair on Friday and Saturday, after dilly-dallying Monday - Thursday, to write those pages I said I would before I post my goal report on Sunday. So, yes I procastinated but not through the whole week. Also, having a deadline to submit something to critique group twice a month keeps me on task. Breaking my goals up into small bites really helps, like "I'll just write two pages today and three pages tomorrow" instead of "I've got to finish my novel by the end of the month." Schedule a block of time to write at least five days a week and announce it to your family, so they know, and you know, this is your time. Every time you sit down to write, the next time will be easier. Happy writing!

7 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There are so many ways to stay motivated and everyone needs to find what works for them.

I guess I never really hit that wall. I was just so passionate about my work, I never lost momentumn. Perhaps that was my motivation secret - I was writing a series, so I just went from the first book to the second to the third...

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Age is a great motivator.

conarnold said...

Thanks for sharing the good advice!

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

The Write or Die tool (http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html) is a funny way to get those typing fingers moving.

Marvin D. Wilson said...

"to stay motivated while waiting for the good news. You need a support system. Join a critique group, a goal-setting group, a group of local writers."

Good advice.

Katie Hines said...

Some things never change, do they? It's a good thing we all believe in ourselves and our writing during the search for that elusive publisher. Sometimes, that's all that keeps us sane.

kriswaldherr said...

I agree with you that baby steps are the way to go! It makes it easy to tame resistance along the way. For example, when I work on a project, I set up a big chart with all of the pieces marked out clearly. As silly as it may sound, it's immensely satisfying to check them off the list. And it makes me feel like I'm actually making some progress.

Related: I also think it's important to give yourself credit for reaching those small goals along the way. I think most writers tend to be very hard on themselves, and not give credit where it's due.