There are two sources of motivation: external and internal. I love me some external rewards — sales, nice words, the comments I still get occasionally about people recommending my story “Matchmaker” to family as an excellent example of SF with a Jewish basis.
But let’s face it — sometimes, those things are few and far between. Even the friends I chat with regularly go on vacation, leaving me alone with my characters and my keyboard. So when it comes down to it, I have to keep myself motivated to write.
It’s not always easy. Seasonal depression, mental exhaustion from extreme indexing sessions, and even family life can interfere. How do I keep myself going when times are tough and external rewards are scarce on the ground?
- I remind myself of past successes. I keep a notebook of nice words people have said in the past about my writing — even personal rejections. I reread it when I feel like all I ever get are form rejections and nothing good will come of my writing ever again.
- I keep going. Even my thesis committee members gave me credit for persistence. So I keep writing, a bit at a time. And if that doesn’t work?
- I take a break. Giving myself time off refreshes my brain. This is why I try to spend weekends with my family — and if I don’t take a week off deliberately, I usually wind up spending that time puttering rather than concentrating.
When it comes down to it, I write because I want to see the completed stories. Yes, I absolutely want others to see them, too, and that’s why I keep submitting. My motivation is I like creating things.
Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Staying Motivated”– August’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonnano.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!