Posts Tagged Motivation
What motivates you to pick up a pen or put fingers to keyboard and write? Is it the hope of riches and fame? Is it the need to communicate your thoughts and opinions to others? Or is it because those ideas buzzing around in your head won’t go away until they’ve been captured on paper? Or may be just because you enjoy it?
I expect most of us write for a combination of these reasons. Riches and fame might be at the back of our minds but we know that penning a bestseller is as likely as winning the lottery, so money alone is rarely the primary reason for becoming a writer – but the odd cheque for a story, article or reader’s letter certainly helps the enthusiasm levels!
As well as the ‘grand motivation’ for writing, we all make smaller motivational decisions over each piece that we decide to write. For instance when you decide to enter a particular competition – is it because the prize is good? Or is it because it’s smaller competition and prize, so therefore there’s a greater chance of winning? Similarly, do you only write when you have known publication or market to target? Or if an idea pops into your head do you get working on it and worry where to send it later?
Long ago I learned that it’s virtually impossible to make any sort of living from the written word so I suppose I must write because I enjoy it – although most of the time it just feels like hard work! I like the satisfaction of completing and submitting a piece, along with that surge of hope that this could be ‘the one’ that successfully hits its target.
As far as the smaller motivations, I only write if I can see where I can submit the piece. But my chosen market doesn’t have to pay a fortune (I might choose differently if I didn’t have a ‘proper’ job and therefore relied on writing for an income) – I prefer to have a greater chance of small prize/payment than a smaller chance of a bigger pot of money.
Sometimes it’s not the ‘carrot’ that’s important – it’s the need to show those that have made fun of our writing ambitions that they are wrong and that we can write well enough to be published. John Malone discusses this ‘negative’ motivation on his blog here.
So, why are you writing?
’Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration,’ said the inventor, Thomas Edison.
This is also a perfect description of writing. Lots of people claim to have a great idea for a novel but how many of them actually sit down and put in the effort to bring that idea to fruition? Talking about the big idea is the easy, fun part but getting it down on paper requires discipline.
So I’m starting this blog to improve my writing self-discipline and increase my ‘literary’ output – give me a nudge if I’m not posting often enough!
Meanwhile, here are a few pointers for getting your bum on the chair and that blank page filled –
- Set yourself a goal and then break this ultimate aim down into manageable chunks – the smaller the chunks, the easier it will be to achieve them.
- Give each chunk a realistic deadline – taking into account any work and family commitments.
- Have a dedicated writing space – this might only be a corner of the dining-room but sitting down there should immediately put you in the right frame of mind for work.
- Delegate some of the household chores to free up extra time for writing.
- Avoid interruptions – tell the rest of the family that you will deal with their requests when your hour’s writing time is up.
- Disconnect your internet access or keep it as a treat for the end of your writing time.
- Always complete one task before starting another – there is nothing more disheartening than a string of half-finished short stories.
- Accept that you will have good and bad days – don’t beat yourself up about the latter just accept it and move on.
Remember, if you treat your writing seriously then your family and friends will respect it too and it will be easier to keep to your writing routine.