Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Staying Motivated

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. Prepublished 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. Everytime you sit down to write, the next time will be easier. Happy writing!

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