Writers’ Advice Blog 1 June 22 by Lorenzo Samuel, author of speculative fiction writings. In the 1 May 22 issue Writers’ Advice Blog, we took up justifications writers use to excuse their indecisive intentions, i.e., not writing regularly. In this issue of our advice blog, we'll discuss suggestions on ways to motivate your author-self.
As usual, let's define our key word: motivate. To motivate is to provide with a motive. My dictionary proved itself not too bright on that one. The definition is nearly circular in defining motivate in terms of a word like itself. Let's see if we can do better. Motive refers to any impulse, emotion or desire that moves one to action. There, we now have a grasp: To motivate is to use impulse, emotion or desire to move one to action.
What lies behind a person's impulse, emotion or desire to write? Isn't that the question we must ask? The impulse could be the need to tell stories, express ideas, earn money, immerse oneself in some genre, etc. Emotionally, writing could make you happy, feel accomplished, earn respect, etc. You might have a strong desire to write or to accomplish something others will recognize as valuable.
Can one motivate oneself? Possible even if difficult. Why difficult? Because self-generated motivation starts and ends with oneself. You can change your motivation on a whim. One tires of the whip, especially if wielded by oneself. Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, only to break it and shove it into the bin of forgotten hopes?
The difficulty with self-motivation is this: too many competing motivations. You must leave for your day job at 7:00 AM or you will be late and spoil your chances of advancement or of making more money. You like to fish or play golf. To relax, you hang out with friends, have a few drinks, watch a movie, spend time with the family, play with the dog. Have fun! A thousand desires pummel you and keep you from writing. The task of self-motivation is near impossible faced with that competition.
Yet, self-motivation absent portends failure. After all, you are the one who writes. No one will stand over your shoulder with a pistol pointed at your right temple, finger closing the trigger. So, what can you do to conquer the opposition? Give up because it seems hopeless?
Fortunately, aids exist to jack you up, keep you on track. If you fall in the 99.9% group who need a motivation boost, don’t despair.
Get help. Get advice via blogs like this one. I fall into that category of writers who help other writers stay motivated. That’s why I write this blog each month. It’s a pay-it-forward thing. It helps me if I share. My motivation for the blog is I want to help make more authors.
Search the Internet for blogs for writers. You can find all kinds of depth of discussion. I provide a quick read for those who are looking for fast info. Other blogs go into the subject deeper. Try several; find one you like.
Study books on writing, story construction and what it takes to get published. Invest in a library of such books. Read them, Practice what they advise. The more skilled you get, the easier to motivate you with less push.
Read a lot from well-thought-of authors. If you want to write mysteries, read Edgar winners. For sci-fi, peruse Nebula and Hugo winners. For every genre there is a contest in which the best writers shine. Jazz yourself up. Find out how authors write that wins them kudos.
Your task of self-motivation is to make writing easier for you by following the advice above. The better writer of stories you are, the easier motivation will be.
Next month’s blog will post around 1 July. In it I will list out the books on writing that I use to motivate myself.
Note: The book of short speculative fiction "Eve of Valor: 25 Tales" is available on Amazon. Click here.