On Monday, for the first part of this Being A Writer post series, I wrote about Finding Time to write. For some of us, that’s easier said than done. And for others, it’s a breeze. But getting our butts into gear to write is something we could all use help with from time to time, so here’s my take on it!
Being A Writer Part II: Finding Motivation
Finding motivation to write is, for me, the hardest part. Even when I have fabulous ideas that I’m completely in love with and oodles of time, I find myself just looking at my laptop with distaste. There’s absolutely nothing in me to write a single word.
Clearly, it’s time to find a reason to write.
Why are you writing your story? Is it a story that needs to be told? Have you always wanted to write? Are you trying to do NaNoWriMo? Are you writing for fun? If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it’s not going to be very important to you.
I write because I couldn’t not. To stop writing – not to sound dramatic or anything – would create a giant, cavernous hole in my life. The sheer build-up of stories in my head would make me go crazy. So I write. Because I want to. Because I have to. Because I know that, unpolished though they may be, my words are important to me, and maybe to other people, too.
So, why do you write?
Seriously consider this question, right now, before you read any further. Nobody can help you find your reason but yourself, so you’re very lucky if you know it already!
Do you know your reason? Good. If not, keep thinking about it and keep reading.
Step two is to know what you want to do with your words, what your end goal is. Do you want to keep your words for yourself? Publish? Share with friends and family? Whatever it is, that’s perfect. Nobody should tell you what to do with your writing but you, but don’t hold yourself back.
I know that my end goal is to be published – sort of because I just think it would be so awesome and partly because I want to share my stories with everyone who cares to read.
Why do you write? Because I love it. What do you want to do with your words? Get published! Now that you know these two things, you’ll know better how to get yourself excited to work. Give yourself incentives that give you a taste of your end goal. For me, that meant posting my novel Summer Rush on Inkpop to get feedback from the novel’s target audience. That ended up with people messaging me almost daily, asking me when the next chapter would be written, so I hit the double jackpot with that.
Another thing I did was create a mock cover for Summer Rush. Every time I look at it, and I really mean EVERY time, I think: “One day that will be for real, but only if you get off your lazy book and keep writing.”
One of the best things I did for myself and my writing writing was tell people about it. It creates accountability. Plus, I’m a show-off, so I like to wow people with my progress. People I told about it told other people. Now, people I don’t even know but who know my parents ask me how my writing’s coming. I can’t hide from them all, so I know I better keep writing!
You can also have writing buddies, and you guys can keep after each other to keep writing. Try posting inspirational quotes or advice on your walls by your desk, or wherever you’ll see it often. Reward yourself with chocolate or TV or just a break from your desk when you reach a word count goal or finish a tough scene.
Whether or not you discipline yourself for not reaching goals is up to you, and your own personal working style. I go back and forth. Sometimes I figure my laziness has it coming. Other times, I don’t want anything negative associated with my writing, and the disappointment in myself is enough. Whatever works best for you.
However you end up getting yourself to work, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Your writing is for you. Don’t turn it into something it’s not. Whether it’s a hobby or a job or whatever – don’t let it be a burden.
2. Stay positive. I could share the ant eating an elephant analogy, but we all know that already. As long as you’re trying, you WILL reach your goals.
3. It’s okay to quit. GASP. Heck yeah, I said it. It’s okay to quit. But only if you don’t want to be a writer.
4. All writers need breaks sometimes. Know when you need one or if you’re just being lazy.
5. Forgive yourself. You can’t meet all deadlines, write 10,000 words, and be excited to work every single day. Accept that fact, and forgive yourself when you mess up.
I hope that this can help you out even a little. Friday will see the third and final installment of Being A Writer. Happy writing, peeps!
I love that word. Peeps. It just makes me smile.