I have been thinking a lot about what motivates us as writers, and how we maintain our constant dedication to a primarily solitary profession. Yes, I am saying it’s a profession, although I know many people who would disagree. Some people consider writing as a ‘hobby’, since you don’t make any money for it for a rather long period of time. (Well… you don’t unless you are JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, anyway….)
- I surround myself with like-minded creative people. Creativity is catching. There is a small number of writers that I stay in constant contact with based in NZ, and we are all at the same stage of our writing careers. We are all aiming for publishing, and hopefully rather soon. I am also connected to hundreds of writers and creative people on Facebook and Twitter, and many other social networking sites for writers, and I chat to them. I want to know what they are up to, and where they are at with their latest work in progress. I browse through their updates and blogs, and by seeing and celebrating their success – whether it’s big or small, it empowers me to focus on my own.
- I write stories that I love to live in. I write protagonists that I love, and antagonists that I love to hate. I’m on a 90,000 word journey with these characters, and that’s an awfully long way to travel with people. Just imagine how long the journey would feel if you didn’t like them! As a writer, I first and foremost write stories and novels for myself. If I don’t like the story or the characters in the world that I have created… it’s not going to hold my attention or focus, and I will definitely find the entire writing process torturous.
- Wordwars, goals, and deadlines help. Some of you may have heard of something called NaNoWriMo? If you haven’t, it’s a writer’s annual challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days and nights of November. You would not believe how motivating this process is! Suddenly, you have banded together with 300,000 other writers around the world, all with the same incredible goal: To get that novel idea out. Even if you are not participating in Nano, just having word war challenges with your critique partners is totally invaluable. They usually happen on those night where its cold and wintry, and you are on Skype to them chattering about your book, and then the next thing you know – you’re in a word war, pounding out the next 1500 words of your novel within an hour.
- Dedicate time for distractions. I’m talking about the world of Social Media that we all seem to immerse ourselves in. If you allocate half an hour first thing in the morning to checking through your updates and emails, then make sure you do at least an hours worth of solid writing work straight away afterwards. Do NOT get roped into the Social Media trap. The only person it will impact is you and your writing. Allocate time slots dependant on your goals and writing schedule. (I know how distracting this social media stuff is from experience. Trust me on this one… I was trying to build my authors platform, and then I suddenly realised that I had stopped writing because I was too busy with other ‘more important’ social media things.)
- I scrapbook ideas. And this is how you do it: Find amazing images and pictures online for your scrapbook of ideas for your book. Collate them, and save them into something that you can look at… like in OneNote, or on Scrivener. Find ideal images of characters, character profile, research amazing locations, dream up new scenarios and jot them down. This is what we call ‘world building’. And by having visual aids and notes, this only fortifies your world building even more. And it’s an awesome feeling to open those pages of research and characters and suddenly you feel yourself pulled within the pages of your book again.
- From the images that I have found and scrapbooked, I create cover art for my draft manuscript. It doesn’t have to be good, but it has to be enough for to visualise a completed book in my hands. Work towards that goal, as there is nothing quite like that immense feeling of holding something you have created.
- And finally… Music. I just adore music, and how creative that in itself is. I create soundtracks for characters, books, settings, and just the general feel of my book in terms of emotion. Some of the music is dark and gory, other times it is full of light and happiness. It all depends on how I want my writing to feel at the time.
There are other writers and bloggers out there that have a multitude of motivational tips as well… here are a couple of good little posts for you to peruse your way through:
- Nathan Bransford’s – Five ways to stay motivated while writing a novel
- Procrastinating Writers – 3 Easy Ways to Stay Motivated
- Grow Yourself’s – 12 and ½ Writing Rules