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 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?