Saturday, September 5, 2009

Motivation for Writers

Rachelle Gardner posted about wanting to quit on Friday. Her post got me thinking, what keeps me from quitting? I don't quit now because I did quit once. I know what quitting felt like. I know how empty I was and how little I enjoyed the 'not doing what I love even though it frustrates me sometimes.'

You see a little over three years ago, my hard drive went belly up. It took everything with it. Over a decade's worth of work, three completed novels and boatloads more. We were only able to recover a small portion of the data. Everything else was lost. I was just done. Pooped. Ticked. At the end of my rope.

I quit.

I stopped writing fiction for nearly 18 months. I can honestly say those were the most miserable 18 months of my life. I missed writing. I missed it every day, I just didn't know how to define what was missing until I started doing it again. It wasn't the non-fiction writing I missed, no, I had that. But that was not nearly enough to fill the hole created by not writing fiction.

So one way I motivate myself to keep going is I know what it's like when I'm not writing. I know what I'm missing. I can tell you honestly that no matter how frustrated I get with what I am doing, nothing compares to the frustration of not doing it.


Motivation, Where to Find It

When it comes to finding motivation as a writer, there are three great sources that I rely on.

The first is connecting with other writers. Whenever I spend time with them whether it's going to a signing, a chat or just to a local meeting with other authors, I find a great deal of motivation. It's amazing how recharged or re-energized I am when I get home. Most recently, I went to a signing and chat with Dakota Cassidy, Candace Havens and Michele Bardsley. I came home from that and wrote 12K over a weekend. That's a lot of words.

My second source of motivation comes from getting away from my work. Yes, that may sound strange, but as a writer both freelance and fiction, I spend a ton of time in front of the computer. Sometimes, shutting it all off for a day and getting out of the house and walking away is just what the doctor ordered.

My third source of motivation is how I feel after a particularly productive writing day. Writing is a lot like exercising. It can be hard the first few days, you'll feel sore, you'll want to come up with a dozen excuses as to why you aren't going to do it, but you do feel better after it's done.

Everyday that you write, those writing muscles get a little stronger, you feel a lot better and life is sweet.

So Get To It

Sure, there are days when I wake up and I wonder why I do what I do. There are days when I get rejection letters that are discouraging. My favorite is pinned to my board right now, it says: "I liked the concept and am definitely on the hunt for urban fantasy, but ultimately I had some trouble with the writing." That was the rejection.

Ooookay. I'm guessing my writing style did not appeal to him/her. That's fine; although I don't like being rejected, I loved the way this rejection is phrased. It's very motivating for me.

So tell me writers, what motivates you?

2 comments:

  1. I stopped writing a while back too - before I made the conscience decision to pursue writing as a career. I'd just stuck my toe in the waters and had an editor and an agent tell me they wanted to see more of my work. It scared the [fill in your own word here] out of me. What if they looked at more and sneered, told me I was horrible. So I stopped writing for about 17 months.

    It was my other writer friends, and an ex-editor for Harlequin, who kept bugging me and encouraging me to get back into the game and start writing again. Six months later I had a request, and a few months after that my first rejection. But this time I persevered and a year later, I had my first contract.

    But during those 17 months I was miserable. Writing has always been my joy and not doing it was painful.

    It's rather comforting to hear that other people have tried to walk away too, but found their way back too.

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  2. Hi :)
    I wrote constantly right up until I became a father. Then I just dabbled, as I worked, etc. Now I am writing consistently again and feel much more fulfilled and happy with myself.
    Thanks for sharing Heather,
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    xoxo

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