We were approached with a pitch by this agent from Standoutbooks.com to do a “value-added” blog here at Two Drops of Ink. The site was recognized by TheWriteLife.com to be one of the top 100 writers blogs of 2016. I liked this post, and I’m all about providing information to writers regarding publishing opportunities. The site does various types of editing for hire, and they sell publishing packages for those who choose that route of publication.
Photo credit: www.colbyrrice.com
By Fred Johnson
Writing is a trying and time-consuming business. With jobs/families/everyday hassles, it’s often difficult finding time to write, and even more difficult motivating yourself when you do get a spare moment.
Like any other art, writing well requires passion. This is partly because writing requires a great deal of patience—drafting, rereading, and re-writing are all important parts of the job.
This is especially true if you’re writing creatively. You’re putting yourself on the line to create something that people will want to read and, hopefully, pay for. You can’t approach it with anything less than fervent enthusiasm.
There will always be days when you drag your feet through a section of your book. Passion can wane–it’s human nature–but it must be reignited. Here’s how.
Stick to what you know
It’s tough to write about woodworking if your specialty is medical sales. Think back to the most miserable essay you’ve ever been forced to write—would it have been so miserable if you’d been an authority on the subject?
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy—you know it’s going to be a struggle and, because of this knowledge, it becomes even more difficult to motivate yourself.
Writing about what you know helps you stay interested. Thinking and writing about one of your favorite topics will activate the pleasure centers in your brain—you’ll want to write.
Define your own qualities
Before you get started on any project, whether that be writing a book or building a house, you need to know what you’re good at and what you need help with.
Are you great at explaining complex topics in simple language? Maybe you should be writing instructive nonfiction. Are you good at researching? Maybe history books are your thing. Do you understand the issues of teenagers? Try YA fiction. You don’t have to stick to the same media either—there are plenty of forms you could try, from poetry to commercial copy to blogging. The list is very long indeed.
That said, don’t expect to instantly excel. Writing, like anything else, takes practice.
Remove all roadblocks
A roadblock is anything standing between you and writing. Some roadblocks are physical: no space to write, no tools, or no time. These are easily solved—you need to prioritize writing over the other things in your life.
Other roadblocks are less concrete and are harder to overcome. Some people have emotional obstacles in the way. They’re too insecure to start; maybe they don’t have the confidence or still feel burned out from a past experience.
Draw inspiration from your roadblocks. Write about whatever is in your way and turn the obstacle into kindling to light your passion. You don’t have to show anyone or share it—at this stage, you’re writing for yourself. It’s all part of the process.
Banish anything negative
Banish the negative thoughts that stop you. Ignore that voice that says, “You aren’t good enough,” “No one cares what you have to say,” or “You’ll never sell this.” That voice isn’t coming from a place of wisdom or reason. It’s just fear.
After all, if you never try, you’ll never fail—therefore, you’ll never be a failure—and that makes you a success. Wow, that was easy!
Sadly, that’s not how achievement works. Get writing!
Don’t expect burning enthusiasm every day
If you’re running a marathon, you don’t sprint the whole thing. You’d collapse after a few minutes. Instead, you run at a steady pace and, in the end, cover a greater distance.
It’s the same with writing. Not every visit to your writing desk will be a life-changing, near-religious experience. Some days will be boring, and you’ll have to force yourself to push through. Even the most successful writers have days where they struggle with motivation, and in our modern world, there are hundreds of easy distractions within reach.
For such days, you’ll need a bit of discipline. You’ll have to frequently look to your goals. Read through your notes. Remind yourself why you’re writing and what you want to achieve.
If it’s tech you’re struggling with, put your cell phone in a different room, download distraction-prevention computer programs like Cold Turkey and Self-control (vouched for by writers such as Zadie Smith and Dave Eggers), physically distance yourself from the things you know are going to distract you.
Step away from your project
It’s not unusual for writers to be working on several projects simultaneously. A writer might bang out a blog post in an afternoon, add a chapter to a commissioned eBook, and then end the day with a few novel pages. Others will focus all their energies on a single piece and get tied up in its complexities.
This feeling of being overwhelmed can stop a writer in his/her tracks, and in such situations, it’s often best to leave it for a few days, get some air, and come back to the project with fresh eyes.
A break might give you the chance to remember why you were passionate about the project in the first place. Soon you’ll be itching to get back to work.
And remember, losing your passion is normal
Every so often a writer will tell me they feel guilty about losing their passion. They work frantically on an idea for a while but eventually slow down and give up. Was the idea bad or did they let their boredom get the best of them?
Honestly, it’s a common phenomenon and is nothing to be ashamed about. All you can do is keep your chin up and push on.
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