Beware, the Murderers of Motivation!
What is motivation? Call it a muse, being in the zone, or a creative surge, we all know what motivation means. On our good days, we have more than enough of it to keep writing.
The main enemy of motivation is a tendency to see ourselves as hapless victims of circumstances over which we have no control. We can’t write because we have writer’s block. Life gets in the way. Family comes first. Too busy with other things. Sounding familiar?
Staying motivated and preventing writer’s block sounds impossible. Maybe it’s time we look at what causes them in the first place. We need to examine what lies at the base of the problem and prevent it’s inception rather than crying for a cure.
1. Unrealistic expectations.
Your book didn’t go viral in its first months? Buck up. In the real world, success as an independent author is like a new business. It takes work and it takes time. Focus on what you have to do, not what isn’t happening fast enough.
There are two kinds of writers. The ones like me who dash off the story, then fine-tune it later and the ones who only commit a sentence to paper if it’s perfect. While there’s nothing wrong with the second method, it isn’t always conducive to flow. Make your work good—and move on. (This applies to the editing process, too.)
One of my favorite sayings is “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” I’ve changed it somewhat, but you get the point. Right up there with expecting too much too soon, expecting something to work when it hasn’t for months, will pull you into the dregs of depression. Analyze what you’ve been doing, then try something different.
4. Taking on too much at a time.
a. The biggest culprit is trying to maintain a presence on all the social media sites. Find the sites you are the most comfortable with and use them well. Don’t try to keep up with them all; it’ll make you crazy.
b. Starting too many projects. I find I’m most successful when I actively work on one project, my novel, and only tackle a second one mentally, taking an occasional note or rough outline. Going in too many directions will detract from your final product. Don’t start another writing project until you’re nearly done with the first.
5. Comparing yourself to others.
There are many success stories out there. Don’t glance at them and agonize over why you aren’t getting the same results. Spend time reading why these authors became successful and take a tip or two from them that you can apply to your own journey. Envy is costly—it threatens your creativity.
Frequently, I find myself in a dark place during my efforts to become a successful novelist. Sharing with you what I’ve come up with when I’ve tried to tackle my problem was the inspiration for this blog. Prevention isn’t always easy, but hopefully, easier than clean up!