If you want to write right now but just don’t feel motivated, here are some immediate ways to get fired up. Any one of them might do the trick: pick whichever seems most likely or appealing and give it a try. If it doesn’t get you right on track, try another one. No self-motivation trick is sure-fire, and we often tend to feel that if we’re not motivated now, there’s no way to get motivated, but there’s strong evidence in psychological and neurological research that we can change our moods, focus, and motivation–in fact, our emotional and motivational states can change very quickly, given the right setup. [image by gruntzooki] Continue reading Emergency writing motivation techniques
Lately I’ve been looking, for the sake of my sanity, for some principles of writerly success that I can really depend on. These are a tad elusive when the publishing world is being shaken up by the complete redefinition of self-publishing and the whole eBook thing. I don’t know about you, but I look at all this and say “Hey, how am I going to make a living as a writer in this mess–or even just find a readership–when we don’t even know what the publishing world will consist of in five years?”
Uncertainty is a terrible motivator. Continue reading Three Pillars of Writing Success for Any Publishing Environment
I don’t know, personally, whether it’s merely difficult or actually impossible for writers to judge our own writing well. You write a story that you’re convinced is the finest thing you’ve ever written and send it out to the world, and it’s only 18 months and ten rejection slips later that you decide it really wasn’t so good after all. Or you scribble something up in a rush that you think is unremarkable, and everyone who reads it tells you it’s great.
This stuff is frustrating. If we don’t know how well we’re doing, how can we do better? And how can we ever have any confidence in our own work? If we can’t really judge the quality of our own writing, even something that sells can feel like a fluke, a bad call on the part of an editor. A few thousand adoring fans can be an effective cure for this, but they are hard to come by in those numbers. Continue reading Your Opinion and Twenty-Five Cents: Judging Your Own Writing
I don’t remember when I first began wanting to become a professional writer, only that by third grade I had that idea firmly in my head. But it wasn’t until a few years later that I got a particularly awful SF book from a bookstore–I think it had a robot on the cover, one of those jobs with the dryer-vent-hose arms and the antennae on the head–and really got fired up for the job. I thought (and this may sound familiar) “God, if a lousy book like this can get published, I’m going to be rich!” [image courtesy Ricardo Genius]
Let’s skip over the many misconceptions and sad bits of naïvete lurking in that sentence, if you don’t mind. Continue reading Brilliance and Dreck: Using Good and Bad Writers to Self-Motivate
Ah, Sweet Panic!
Cartoonist Bill Watterson cranked out one brilliant Calvin and Hobbes comic strip after another for about ten years. Even if (bizarrely) you aren’t a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, it’s clear Watterson knew how to create art that spoke to a lot of people in a clever, funny, and meaningful way. Here’s a conversation his two main characters had about inspiration.
HOBBES: Do you have an idea for your project yet?
CALVIN: No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
HOBBES: What mood is that?
CALVIN: Last-minute panic.