People write for a number of reasons: Some to earn, some to write because they are passionate about writing, and some to accomplish a writing milestone in their lives. You and I write because we want to achieve some goal, or we’re driven to it to make ends meet. We want our names to be out there among the top writers in our field and be credited for our writing.
However, in the long run, writing is a skill that has to be worked upon, exercised, tried and tested and requires daily practice. It is not something that develops overnight and has you screaming out suddenly “Voila! I’m a writer now!” This rarely works unless you have been working on your writing in secret and are lying to yourself, to begin with.
During the month of November 2012, I challenged myself to write my first 50,000-word novel. It is a Children’s Book and on the first day I began outlining my characters, naming them according to my ‘cast chart’ so that I don’t get confused. I had to give each of them a role or character profile. Day two brought with it an interesting start, the first chapter and then the dawn of a new writing adventure of ideas, detail and landscape description. By the third day I was working on my first set of dialogues and how my characters related to one another. The fourth day had me working on their first adventure as a team.
And thus it continued for about ten days … different days met different needs. However, that is as much steam as one can generate when trying to make it work within a short span of time. There is a point where a writer faces his worst fear: the writer’s block. There are days, when for some reason, you sit and stare at a blank screen and wonder what happened to your writing. This is normal. This is natural. Ultimately, this is what happens to a writer.
On the contrary, does it scare you off? Do you feel intimidated when you face a block? Do you get desperate that your writing is not going anywhere? At times you can hear the clock ticking by telling you that time is running out and you are NOT going to finish what you started.
It is very difficult to get back into momentum once this happens and you give into these writer-fears. It is for this very reason that you have to motivate yourself right from the start.
Here are three top motivating factors that I adopted when I set my mind upon the task of writing my first fiction-novel.
This may seem unnecessary when you are at the peak of your writing. You may think you have your writing under control and that you do not need to remind yourself to think positive. You are, after all, taking it upon yourself to write, aren’t you? However, this does not suffice for me. It is when I am in my best form that I turn on the motivational reminders. “Why do you need it?” you may ask.
I find that when I start motivating myself from day one, I develop a consistent habit of being motivated. It is difficult for me to ‘all of a sudden’ turn to someone and say, “Yes, you are an inspiration. I’m going to follow your ideas for now”. Right from November 1, I started collecting motivational quotes and placed them on my desk; one per day. These are simple reminders that what I am writing is worth writing and that I must follow my dream. I look at them and am motivated to place all my cards on the table and bring my characters to life.
By the time I was at day 10, I was running out of steam. However, my motivational posts were consistently there on my desk reminding me of my project. It did not give me a chance to let doubt set in, nor has it let me sink into despair at not being able to meet my daily targets. I could not write for a few days, and time was running out. Since this was a 30-day project, my target was roughly 2000 words per day. I lagged behind with 4000 words by day 12. It would take a great deal of effort to make up for that lost count. However, these motivational posts have helped me, and I was back on track, back in the game and plodding along with my story. Not all was lost. A couple of blank days gave me a chance to rethink my story and the scenarios that could work best for it. I was back at 24,000 words in 15 days.
My friends and I were in this challenge together; one to motivate the other. Some names that come to mind are Raymond from Incoming Bytes and Terry Mahoney. We had a friendly challenge to see who could reach the finish first. Each of us faced our own blocks while writing, but I have found that, in the bargain, we actually motivated each other to move on and overcome these blocks. Don’t be afraid to ask others to take on similar projects with you. You are not the only one to benefit from it. In addition, you will be a role model to others; an inspiration to them.
When I began to write my novel, I let all my Facebook friends know about it. Was I a published ‘fiction’ author? Nope. Did I fear the thought of failure when I started? Now that is the surprising part. I did not and I still try not to think of failure. Why would I want to think of failure when I have set my mind to create something? I am a writer. If I did not take the plunge, how would I know if I could do this?
The most amazing thing about informing my Facebook friends about this was the amount of support I received from them. Everyday there was someone to cheer me on, to motivate me, to ask me how much I had done and to remind me that what I was doing is amazing. It is an incredible feeling to keep hearing that I am a talented writer and that if I put my mind to it I can achieve my goal. A writer should always have a strong support system and you should not be afraid to let your friends know about your writing.
I have not published my book yet. It is moving on to the next stages of editing and polishing before it is ready for publishing. But knowing that I did the main part of the work already, that is, writing my story, gives me immense satisfaction and encouragement to move on to the next.
So there you have it. I don’t keep these secrets to myself but admire writers when they are able to motivate themselves to write. Writing is not an easy task and each one has to build up a motivational system for themselves. What do you do to motivate yourself to write? Do you let fear get the better of you? What are your current writing goals for the writing month of November 2013?
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