A to-do list a length of a football field, not enough sleep, and bills that need to be paid, and you are asking me to do what? Write a novel in my spare time? Are you insane?
This is the way of life for many aspiring and also already published writers – juggling an already large amount of responsibilities, yet having the desire to complete something, most people only talk about – writing and publishing a book. The question is, at the moments when it all feels like it becomes too much, and the temptation to throw your manuscript in the corner, is getting larger, what should you do to stay motivated through it all?
1. Now your reasons
If you want to write a novel because you want to be rich, I am going to be honest with you: There are easier ways to make more money than you can generally expect to make as a writer. Sure, there are the success stories, those who (like J. K. Rowling) have more wealth than they could spend in their lifetime, because of their writing, but those are the exceptions. Money is never a good reason to pursue an artistic and creative goal because even when you reach your financial independence from anything but your creative income, there is not such a thing as an overnight success. It took dedication and hard work to get there. If you need money now, get a job.
Good reasons to have are: A burning desire to create stories, and to place them upon a page. To entertain others, with your fiction, and even to proof to yourself that you can do it. None of these reasons are financial. Whatever your personal reasons are, define them clearly and revisit them often.
2. Schedule your writing time.
Become a fanatic, almost to the point of obsession about your daily writing time. Sure your family needs you to do this and that, but if you want to be a writer, you have to make the commitment. Get up an hour earlier, or stay up an hour longer, depending on when you write better, but stick with it. After a while, you will begin to grave this solitary time, and the act of sitting down itself will become a great motivator.
3. Join an accountability group or challenge.
This month (June) has JuNoWriMo, April and July have CampNaNoWriMo, November has NaNoWriMo, and those are just the big ones. Some of the smaller challenges are year-round, for example, WritingChallenge.org runs every month and has a smaller commitment of a daily word count of 500 words or one hour of editing. A possible adventure, isn’t it? All of these challenges have peer support, and a recording system, where you can chart your progress, which in itself is another motivator. Every day spent writing, even if it is only 500 words adds up, to not only a completed piece of work, but also in experience. The most effective way to get better at writing is to write regularly.
What are your favorite ways to stay motivated? Do you have an accountability partner, or are you a part of an accountability group? Please share your experiences!
It’s perfectly acceptable to want to become a full-time author who can pay her bills with her books. It’s also perfectly acceptable to have that desire as a goal. This is where I take issue with the “don’t write to get rich” mantra. Wanting to pay one’s bills with one’s writing does not necessarily mean that a person wants to get rich from it. Striving for a goal of $5,000 a month, for example, is enough for some people, such as me, to become a full-time author. That’s hardly rich. I’m not writing books JUST to write them, and I KNOW there are others out there who feel the same way.
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I think you and I have a different definition of rich, 5000 Dollars a month would not pay my bills, not even by a long shot. When I wrote rich I meant 7 figures. Of course I want to get paid for writing, and I deserve that, so do you, but there is a difference of making your motivation to become a full-time writer, and becoming rich – those are two different animals, entirely. Rich is “a house in Beverly Hills, and I am Stephen King” rich – being a full-time writer means making enough to live comfortably on your income. That is a great goal instead.