Tag Archives: motivation

Easy and Simple Aren’t the Same for Motivation

Recently someone asked me how she could motivate herself more. That’s not a rare question. Many people ask themselves how they can be more motivated to lose weight, run faster, eat better, get that job promotion, finish a novel… I’ve asked myself countless times how I can be better motivated.8078194256_db53b66f8d_k

Lately, something I’ve struggled with is going through beta reader feedback and editing. I keep finding other things to do. I realize that I’m making excuses, but even though I acknowledge this, I can’t bring myself to focus on editing.

That’s unusual for me, so when someone asked me how to improve motivation, I thought about what I’d want to hear. Better yet, what words would work to motivate me?

I’ve never been the type to seek out motivational quotes. More often than not, I roll my eyes at inspirational sayings. They seem cheesy and hollow. They don’t resonate, and when something doesn’t resonate, how can it inspire?

I started searching for the right way to answer the question of motivation. How could I inspire this person?

There wasn’t a correct answer. Each solution was personal. I couldn’t give that individual what she wanted. Because I could talk and talk and talk to her about inspiration and do anything and everything I could to motivate her, but the bottom was that she had to find what worked for her.

All I could tell her was the words that inspired me:

“When you get into a tight space and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

— Harriet Beecher Stowe

Life isn’t usually easy, but think of the things you’re proudest of. Were they easy accomplishments? Or did you struggle and persevere?

Was the effort worth it?

(Photo courtesy of Luke Kondor.)

7 Blog Posts Sure to Wash Your Rainy Day Away

 

17207988968_9ca58cbdc4_oEveryone has those days where nothing seems to go right. Lady Luck is nursing a hangover. Karma decided to kick you in the butt. All you want to do is crawl under your covers and start anew tomorrow.

Let’s face it. Writers probably have a good number of those days, whether it’s because we wrote ourselves into a corner or got yet another rejection from a literary agent.

But, since hiding out under the covers isn’t feasible, here are seven links to blog posts that inspired me. I hope they inspire you too.

  1. The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness

This article reaffirmed what I knew to be true, but didn’t want to admit. Life isn’t like what you were told when you were little. Just because you work hard or are a good person, doesn’t mean you’ll get everything you want.

However, once you master the real rules of life, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. This article helps you toward figuring out and taking control of life’s rules.

But what’s almost more interesting than the article, are the comments that follow.

  1. Compatibility and Chemistry In Relationships

If you’re like me, you’ve used compatibility and chemistry interchangeably in the dating world. But compatibility and chemistry are two different concepts. This article delves into the differences between compatibility and chemistry, and why both concepts are necessary for a happy, loving relationship.

  1. The Pain & Beauty of Life Changes

This post comes from the blog, “zen habits.” A minimalist-style blog, zen habits tells it like it is, and then offers ways to increase life satisfaction by providing an alternative perception of the world.

One of my favorite aspects of this article is how the inevitability of change is presented in both a painful and beautiful light. Without change, stagnancy occurs. Change is necessary to evolve. Yet, most people resist change, and therefore create suffering for themselves. Through change, life can improve, but only if you embrace the change.

  1. 12 Lessons of Waking Up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 Days

I don’t know if I’d be able to do this, but I give props to Filipe, and to his new world view. This article is about more than waking up before the sun. It’s about eliminating obstacles and committing to a plan. The consequence of which is becoming more productive.

If I woke up at 4:30 a.m., I could get in a morning workout, or write for two hours before work. One of my professors told me that it’s good to write before your brain fully turns on, because when your brain is fully awake, your judge—that critic within you, who nitpicks your work—makes it harder for you to be creative.

  1. Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

All of these articles apply to writers in some way, but this one showcases how necessary it is for writers to write what they’re passionate about. As Gene Fowler said, “Writing is easy; all you have to do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”

  1. Fear is the Root of Your Problems

This article ties into the next. Many times in life we find ourselves up against something we fear. Often times, we don’t consciously recognize that the problem we’re currently having is based in fear. In this post, dealing with fear is addressed.

One part of this post I enjoy is how fear isn’t seen as the enemy. Fear is an integral part of us. Seeing fear as something we must destroy only harms us.

  1. Finding Peace with Uncertainty

I put this last because uncertainty is a huge part of a writer’s life. In this article, learning how to be okay with and even look forward to uncertainty is explored.

In the literary world, where less than one percent of writers become traditionally published authors, we have to learn to coexist with uncertainty. It’s the only way we’ll persevere.

What are some articles that have inspired you?

(Photo courtesy of john mcsporran.)

Why You Write

 

I’ve always been interested in why people write. Words have the power to transport people away from the mundane. But that power takes work – a lot of work. Work that is hard, strenuous, and time-consuming. So, why do writers persist?

Ernest Hemingway said, “From things that had happened and from things as they exist and 8670899788_9760142056_zfrom all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of.”

Author of The House At The End Of The Road, Ralph Eubanks, stated, “There’s something both emotionally satisfying about it [writing], and something that is very physically satisfying when you finally see your work when it comes out in a finished book, or when you see the pages at the end of the day.”

Lord Byron said, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”

14519245613_ff8909e294_zWilliam Faulkner stated, “The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed, so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling ‘Kilroy was here’ on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.”

Cynthia MacGregor, author of Everybody Loves Bacon, said “It’s who I am. It’s what I love. I even write for fun on top of writing for a living. I couldn’t NOT write. I need to write like I need to breathe, to eat, it’s vital to me.”

Georges Simenon stated, “I think that if a man has the urge to be an artist, it is because he needs to find himself. Every writer has to find himself through his characters, through all his writing.”15413112213_f50271ca5d_z

Author of Band Fags!, Frank Anthony Polito, said, “I write because there is nothing else I can do – well. For many years I was an actor.”

Joan Didion stated, “In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It’s an aggressive, even hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want…but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is a tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.”

Didion also said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

Anne Rice stated, “Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I’m writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is.”453831774_06c67eb3aa_z

She also said, “I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.”

Gloria Steinem stated, “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

Neil Gaiman said, “The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it’s about and why you’re doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising…and it’s magic and wonder and strange.”

I write for so many reasons; it’s a mishmash of the quotes listed above. But in my own words, I write the stories in my head that won’t leave me alone. They’re ever-present, and will only quiet once they’re down on paper and satisfied with the way they’re written.

Why do you write?

(Photos courtesy of Thomas Hawk, Visit Mississippi, MaxGag, and Stephen.)

When There’s Nothing Left to Say

2209664070_045c1d57dd_zSometimes it’s just hard to get started. Whether it’s reading, writing, or doing housework, some days your mind seems to want to remain off. Going back to bed feels like the perfect option, because, on occasion, you just seem to be unable to get yourself motivated.

Why am I talking about this?

To be honest, today was one of those days . I rolled out of bed and started my Monday, getting ready for work, feeding the dog, etc. However, the entire time I was in a trance. Not really present. Which isn’t the best state of mind. But for some reason, everything felt heavy today, even the air.

So, by the time I sat down at my computer to work on my thesis…well, you probably already guessed what happened.

Nothing.

After staring at my computer screen, re-reading words that felt like they were sand slipping through my fingers, I shut my computer and decided that I had to somehow get out of this funk.

What did I do?

I made an edamame chickpea salad with an avocado-lime dressing, which to some may sound disgusting, but it was delicious. And, best of all, easy to make.

Still, after such a tasty dinner, my mind was blank. Even reading a book I’d found enjoyable yesterday held no satisfaction for me today. Playing with my dog, going for a walk (it’s about twenty degrees with snow where I live), doing some yoga, researching for my upcoming trip…nothing pulled me free from the haze I was in.

Which, I realized, was okay. Some days are cloudy. No matter what you do you’re stuck. The important thing to remember is that the daze you’re in is temporary. So, if you have moments, like me, where you find no inspiration coming to you, whether it’s that the main character of your story is refusing to come to life or that you can’t remember what you were doing five minutes ago, this feeling of being unfocused will pass. When it does, you’ll discover a backlog of creativity.

What do you do when you’re in a funk?

(Photo courtesy of tetsu-k.)

Are You Accountable?

With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to talk about holding oneself accountable as a writer. What I mean by this is writing when you don’t want to write.accountability-inspirational-motivational-poster-art-christina-rollo

Whatever the reason, there are days when sitting down and writing seems like an impossible feat, so we procrastinate. During the holidays, it can get even harder to focus on writing. Maybe it’s due to having the entire family coming over to your house for dinner. Maybe it’s all the cookies you’ve been eating. Maybe it’s reasoning that your New Year’s resolution will be to write more, so you can put writing off until then. Or maybe it’s because you’re frazzled or fried and nothing is coming to you.

So, how do we keep ourselves accountable? How can we motivate ourselves to keep writing?

One way my friend did it was pay herself a dollar for every thousand words she wrote. By the time she finished her novel, she was able to buy herself a nice pair of boots for the winter. For her, having a reward at the end of the road was enough to have her keep going. For others, this may not work.

Another one of my friends told herself she had a choice. She could either write five hundred words a day or do five hundred crunches. She wrote more often than she did the crunches. For her, having a penalty for not writing pushed her to write.

Yet another one of my friends took a different approach. She made herself accountable to her critique group. She set up weekly deadlines for herself and gave her critique group permission to bug her whenever she missed a deadline. It worked. By effectively giving herself bosses to report to, she added pressure to herself to write. She hadn’t been good at answering to herself – she was able to make up too many excuses why she couldn’t write – that she had to find others to answer to.

Since writing is such a solitary pursuit, it can be hard to stick to it, especially if you’re not the best self-motivator or all that great a structuring your time. Some solitude is necessary for writing. I have a tendency to shut my door every time I get start writing, and my favorite time to write is when I’m the only one home.

But too much alone time can hinder your writing ability. Writing is not easy. Externally, it’s very difficult to get published. The publishing world is not a friend of unpublished writers or debut authors. Internally, writers tend have voices in their head telling them that their writing sucks and that they’ve got no talent. Both of these things can make it very difficult to continue forging ahead on your own.

By making yourself accountable to someone else, you also get a support system. When I first started actively pursuing writing, I went at it alone, and that was fine for a little while, but I find myself much happier having the network of writers I do now. We help keep each other motivated and accountable, and we all know how challenging writing can be. Plus, by having a support network, we go to writing conferences and readings together, we critique each other’s works, and we share in both the ecstatic nature of writing and its pitfalls.

How do you keep yourself accountable?