Writing and Motivation: An Author’s Blog Tour
It’s National Novel Writing Month and even though I am not officially trying to write a novel in one month, my readers know I am always working on something, even multiple projects at the same time (as evidenced from the ‘Projects and Writing’ section of my website). In celebration of NaNoWriMo, Webucator is asking authors to answer a few questions about their writing careers.
Here are my responses:
What were your goals when you started writing?
That one’s easy! When I was a child, I knew I wanted to be an author/writer/novelist (I used the terms interchangeably). My main goal was to see my name in print on a book, and preferably in a bookstore. Of course, I did achieve that, though times have changed and now ebooks are a thing. It really wasn’t about fame at all. My goal was to make a difference through my writing, and I hope I have done that.
What are your goals now?
My goals can range from finishing a certain book or series to finding the time to write. A more complicated goal of mine is to help people; I hope I have made an impact somehow. As I write mainly romance, I hope I have caused people to believe in true love or at least believe that lasting love is attainable.
What pays the bills now?
I will be as frank as I have in other interviews. I do have side jobs. I have since I was about 19 years old, ten years after I began on this writing adventure. Presently, I book appointments for an entertainment company, and recently I started supervising on the weekends. Additionally, I am working with my fiancé on a medical device start-up. Yes, I do all of this outside of writing.
Assuming writing doesn’t pay the bills, what motivates you to keep writing?
I have stopped thinking along the lines of finances when it comes to writing. So many things are constantly changing in this industry. For myself, I am happiest when I am deep into the writing of a scene, when the story is flowing and the characters are coming alive on the page. So, I pour my heart and soul into the whole thing. When the manuscript is finished, then I think about the technical aspects – like editing, finding critique partners or beta readers, and then publishing. Publishing is always last. When it is ready for a publisher, then you can work to get the attention of one. But, there are all kinds of hoops to jump through during the publishing process as well.
I think the three most satisfying things that motivate me are: 1) Writing the story. 2) Seeing the final work published – either in e-book or print format (That’s your baby out there, and it’s a proud moment!). 3) Hearing from a reader about how well they liked the book and why. That’s validation that you have done your job to the best of your ability. All of these things keep me writing, keep me focused on my next project. Sure, as humans we need a break now and then from everything. But, I always come back, ready to get to work on a new book. First, I write for myself because I can’t imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life. And second, I keep myself accountable to readers by putting out the best quality of work I can.
What advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?
I think that when we all start out, we have stars in our eyes. Believe me, I am a big fan of dreaming; I am also a dreamer. But, new writers tend to think that once they make it big, they basically have it all. I hate to be the utterly realistic parent here…but, look at the competition. Count how many bestselling authors you’ve heard of against the ones you haven’t, the ones that are working their butts off every day to try to get to that level. It can be disheartening sometimes. Hundreds of thousands of new books come out every year. That’s what you’re up against.
The point is to stop thinking about monetary goals. Adjust them a bit. Is your main goal to be published traditionally? That’s great! That is actually a manageable goal. So, get out there and work on achieving it. Pick up side jobs if you have to. Hell, I know many authors who also have full-time professional jobs (unrelated to writing or publishing) alongside being writers. All of us want to write full-time, but we may not be able to. Don’t let that get you down. Keep writing!
Put everything into small, manageable goals such as…“Today, I will work on my novel” or “Today, I will research my character’s job.” Once you’re finished writing your manuscript, maybe your next goal is to find a good editor. Always give yourself these smaller goals to work on, steps that will lead to your larger goals. If you look too long at the bigger picture, you may become jaded and you will forget why you started this journey in the first place. Reward yourself in small ways if you achieve your milestones. If you finished your manuscript, go out and celebrate it with your friends and family. Linger over it for a brief time, then get back to work. You want to enjoy those successes as well.
Constantly remind yourself of why you are writing at all. If you are in love with writing, so to speak, you will realize it as you are immersed in your manuscript. But, never, ever forget what you brought you to each level in your journey. Where you started is just as important as where you end up.
Well, I definitely found these questions thought-provoking. I’d like to invite my fellow authors to participate, even if they do it after NaNoWriMo. I think a lot of aspiring writers could use this kind of information to pursue their dreams. So, let’s make this an awesome blog tour! :)