Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

Why You Need to Hold on to a Bit of Optimism

As I write this, Squiders, it’s snowing outside. Not just a little snow, but big, heavy flakes, drifting down in a rather determined fashion. It snowed yesterday as well.

Here in Colorado there seems to be a point where we just kind of mentally give up on winter. There’s no clear seasonal delineation, so it can be 70 degrees one day in the middle of November or February or March, and then blizzard the next day and drop two feet of snow (as it did last week). So everybody eventually gets to a point of It’s Not Winter Anymore and sticks to it.

This is often why you’ll see pictures of Coloradoans wearing shorts or no coat in the middle of snowstorm. Winter is mentally over for those people, and evidence to the contrary shall not sway them.

The thing to take away from this is not that Coloradoans are insane (though, admittedly, we probably are–lack of oxygen and all), but that sometimes it’s okay to keep a little bit of optimism even when everything tells you to give up.

I feel as writers this can be especially useful. So many of us get into these ruts where we expect rejection. I’m not saying that’s not realistic, but it can be depressing. If we get too far into said rut, we may fall into a “why bother?” mentality, where we figure it’s not worth it to send that story out again, or move on to the next agent on our list.

Holding on to a bit of optimism can help us send that story again, knowing that maybe this time we’ll find that agent/editor/publisher who’s willing to give us a try. It can be what we need to move on to the next project.

Sometimes I think that’s all that really separates people who make it versus those who don’t–persistence.

What do you think, Squiders? Have any stories where holding on to that little bit of hope paid off?

As for me, I’m going to go back out into the snowstorm with my windbreaker and nothing else, because dangit, it’s spring.

What I’m Thankful For (And What You’re Thankful For)

We’re in that holiday spiral now, squiders. Halloween’s gone and done, Thanksgiving is mere days away (oh no, it is! I’m not ready!), and then from there it’s downhill to Christmas and New Year’s and 2016 and that horrible feeling that yet another year is gone and you didn’t quite get done what you wanted to get done.

And during this time of year, when you realize the end is looming and you have unfinished plans, there’s not much you can do about them. The month-ish between Thanksgiving and Christmas is full of other obligations–cards and presents and wrapping and guests and family–so it seems like you might as well give up and wait til next year.

(Maybe this isn’t an issue if you don’t celebrate Christmas. Let me know!)

Deep breaths, squiders.

I think it’s important, when the holidays are upon us, to take a step back and look at what we’ve done for the year. Maybe our to-do list is still twenty items deep, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t take some important steps.

For example, I didn’t get my nonfiction series done. I’m still not done with this novel draft that’s due to my editor at the beginning of December. And I still don’t have a usable query letter for my YA paranormal novel. Those were my big goals for the year. Do I fail?

No, not really. Because looking at it another way, here’s what I did do:

  • I outlined an entire nonfiction series, wrote a nonfiction book, and came up with related workbooks to go with the series.
  • I edited and polished a 89,000 word YA paranormal novel
  • I’ve taken a ton of marketing classes
  • I got my Patreon up and running
  • I finally got an email list!
  • I wrote 9-10 sections of my serial story
  • Have written most of a co-written novel
  • Worked some on other novels so I don’t forget ideas
  • Completed a fair amount of freelance editing and coaching
  • Blogged here consistency throughout the year
  • Wrote and edited three short stories
  • Took a flash fiction course and wrote five flash stories

So, from that standpoint, things are actually looking pretty good. And I’d bet you, if you sat down and looked at how far you’ve come, you’re not doing too shabbily either.

What are your accomplishments for the year, squiders?

I’d like to promise a landsquid drawing/story for Thursday, but I’ve got people staying here the next few days and I’ve got to host Thanksgiving, so it’s not actually looking too likely. You’ll get them Tuesday if Thursday doesn’t happen.

Working Past the Beginning

So I’m finally getting to work on my chainsaw edit, but, like all my stories, I started in the wrong place and have to write a new beginning. (I know, I know, I’m so backwards. Most people start too early, I always start too late. Go figure.)

I was really excited about getting to work, so I sat down, got out my new outline, started to type, and…was unimpressed.

Beginnings suck. For some reason, they always feel bad. Either they don’t work the way you plan, or you feel like you’re writing crap, or, especially in a first draft, your characters just aren’t jelling.

And then you get frustrated. And you either give up, or you keep trying to rewrite it until it doesn’t suck, and either way, it is a huge time suck.

Here’s a secret…your beginning doesn’t have to be perfect.

So, how do you get the motivation to move on?

You tell yourself whatever you need to. Tell yourself that you’ll come back to it, that it’ll read better when you’ve got a little distance. Tell yourself that you can have a cookie. Tell yourself that your family will still love you.

Tell yourself that you can come back and fix it after you’ve written the rest of the story and know what the beginning should be.

Me, I’m not worrying too much right now. Yes, this is a second draft and I know what my beginning needs to be, but I’m still keeping my options open. Aside from the straight opening, I also have flashback and in media res openings if the straight one doesn’t work.

Don’t let your beginning get you down. There’s so much story awaiting you, if you let yourself get there.