By: L. Renee' Chubb
As a writer, one of the most nauseating stereotypes is that anyone can do it, or it's an extremely easy and rewarding career.
3 of the most common stereotypes us authors hear:
Are you making these assumptions about us?
1. It's invisible: Meaning it is not something people can see the actual results of, they, therefore, believe that writing is not a real career. It also could be because we spend hours, days, years even pounding away at the keyboard and often times still end up with a blank screen that we scream loudly at.
There are physical things we can give people to put in their hands and make it "real". Our printed book, or a magazine article, are good examples, but the truth of the matter is, that book or article, doesn't tell the story, no pun intended, as to what went into creating it. The time, energy, tears, even rejections.
2. We write for free: This article is a prime example of that. We often give away our craft as a strategic move to advance our writing career. Because of this, many people view it as a hobby and don't take us seriously. Writing is not a hobby unless you're 10 with a lock and key diary. Please respect the hustle.
3. It's Conceptual: Most Americans look at manual labor or high mortality rate careers like firemen or police officers, as the epitome of hard work. Don't get me wrong, they DO work hard, but what many people fail to realize is the sheer will power that being a successful writer requires. It's easy to get distracted, become unmotivated, get frightened about the what-ifs, or let family members and friends kill our dreams. We have to mentally fight fires and lock up bad thoughts daily.
All of this can have a huge negative impact on a writer's motivation to write, in worst-case scenarios, or ever even pick up a pen. Writing is our dream, yet sadly, for many, it never even starts. So how do we stay motivated through all the noise and opposition, both in our heads and in the world?
Here are 7 ways to renew your writing passion, with effective results:
1. First, find your motivation
You are in charge of your own destiny. This is not a team sport. There is no fall-guy. Well, there is, but it's you. You have to recognize that if you do not hold your own feet to the fire, and actually put pen to paper, your book won't get finished. YOU have to do it. The sooner you make this a part of your daily mantra, the sooner you will find your motivation.
2. Scare Tactics
I use scare tactics to keep me motivated and on tight deadlines. I asked myself, what would I do if I found out I was terminally ill, and only had 6 months to live. Morbid, but it works. I wrote my first book in 3 months by convincing myself I only had so much time left on this planet, and if I didn't get it done now, my story would never be told. If this doesn't work for you, try acting as if you work for a major news publication and you have a 2-hour deadline to get your article turned in to the editor. It's a great motivational incentive to get it done by imagining you get your byline on the front page.
3. Create a consistent schedule
Before you start writing, set realistic deadlines based on how much you can devote to it, and on what days. Block off the time in your calendar, set reminders on your phone, and make it as much a part of your daily routine as you do brushing your teeth. You don't even think about that, do you? That's how your writing schedule should be. Something that you do naturally, without even thinking about it. Once you create your schedule, be sure to stick to it. Stay the course. If you are writing an article, you may only need a few hours, if it's a novel, you might need months to a year, depending on the depth of your plot and characters. Make sure you take what you are writing into account before you set your deadlines. Realistic deadlines become accomplished goals.
4. Turn it all off
Now that you have your schedule, you're motivated, you've scared yourself half to death, literally. Now, turn it all off. Yes. ALL Of it. Turn off your phone, your WI-FI, your notifications or alerts and find a place of solitude away from distractions such as laundry or cat videos on YouTube.
One thing I've found to be extremely helpful keeping me in my seat is the use of my Kitchen timer from Target. (No, I do not get paid to advertise for Target). I set it for the amount of time I said I wanted to devote in part 3, and when it goes off I go do something else for a bit, like the laundry or the dishes, and then come back and do it all over again until I'm done with the article, or I've finished with my committed word count for the day.
5. Motivational resources
Ahhhh, Twitter. Despite what you may think, Twitter is not just a social networking platform. I've learned that it is useful in keeping me motivated, and helps me to motivate the authors I coach. Here's what my experience has been. It all began when I started monitoring the hashtag #WordCount and reveling in all the authors on Twitter who were putting me to shame with their reported word counts for the day. It was genius. Not only did they provide their word count, but what they are working on along with progress updates.
I tried it myself, and also encouraged other writers in the process by saying something like,
"Day 7| Word Count 1,000 | Fiction mystery novel | Chapter 3 finished. I hope you are inspired to write at least 500 words today. How was yesterday's word count for you?"
Sounds too good to be true? It's not. It's absolutely the most ridiculously easy way to motivate yourself, pat yourself on the back, and congratulate others. You'd be surprised what seeing someone else's motivation does to your own. If you are a competitor it will make you step your game up even more. In the writing industry, this is called "Bookmarking".
Just a side note. I like to switch it up, by asking a new motivating question that encourages people to show off their own hard work or answer a question. I can't tell you how many people have DM'd me and told me that they were inspired to pick up a pen again after reading my posts and progress.
6. Set it off with others
While you are on Twitter, start a challenge. You can review the hashtag #WritingChallenge to see an amazing range of options. For now, focus on one to get started. The easiest one to get people engaged is the "Word Race" challenge. Here's how it works.
Challenge another writer to a speed writing contest. The person who writes the most words in the allotted time wins! Simple. Try it once a week and give it a nice hashtag so others can find it and join your weekly challenges.
7. Join a writing community or blog site
You may not want to jump headfirst into the deep end of the writing pool and start your own blog site at first. Joining another blog site to practice and grow a following is one of the best career moves you can make.
W.O.K.E. Author Zone (Women of Knowledge & Empowerment) is open to women from all walks of life. The site is specifically designed to be a community support group to help motivate, encourage and launch or revitalize your writing career. Join us at www.wokeauthorzone.com and let's get you publishing your next or FIRST, piece.
As we close out, the bottom line is this. Who really cares, at the end of the day, if we aren't paid, if people can't see what we do, or that nobody understands our process. A writer's progress is measured in words, not applause.
Noone on this planet can write like you. Noone on this planet can write like me. We do what we do because of that. Remember to surround yourself with like-minded people who will go out of their way to inspire you. #StayWOKE
I'd love to hear your ways of staying motivated. Leave your comments below and follow me on my new Twitter account @WokeAuthorZone