Staying Motivated To Write – 3 Tips

3 Tips To Stay Motivated To Write

“Trash” available here:
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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!

 

 

5 Lessons From A Writing Challenge

Thank YouFor A Wonderful Month

Plunging into a new experience, such as participating and leading a challenge of any kind, comes with new tasks and lessons. As I reflect upon the fun moments I was honored to share with the accountability group from WritingChallenge.org, I wanted to share my closing reflections with you all. I have come across lessons that others and I have learned throughout these writing challenges, and wanted to share them with you.

Here we go:

1. Hard work pays off
Well, like most people, I already knew that and applied it (mostly), but watching people who have worked hard on their projects finish them, publish them, and some of them make it on the bestseller list reiterated that sentiment, and made it visible. Hard work does create results, even if at times it seems like there is no progress, eventually you will push through, and come out stronger at the other end.

2. Consistency is essential
Not only is it important to work hard, but to work hard every day, without allowing yourself to slack because of a bad day, as builds discipline and a continuous flow. Writing daily makes it easier to get back into the grove of your story and stay there, this is even more important if you are writing genre novels. Your connection with your story deepens, and you build a more stable and realistic relationship with your characters which translate upon the page and to your reader.

3. Do not compare yourself with others.
When logging word counts or tweeting about your results, it is important to not compare your progress with that of the other in the group. Everyone has different circumstances and different work environments, therefore the results will not be the same, no matter how much you wish you could log as many words as that other girl on the challenge. The only thing this type of comparison will get you is a feeling of guilt, which might even keep you from writing and participating.

4. Ask for help.
Groups like the writing challenge are there to assist you. Because we all come from different backgrounds, experience levels and years of writing, we all have different knowledge to contribute, which you might not expect. If you have questions about a particular subject related to writing, ask. Most likely someone is either in the same shoes that you are in or has the answer to your question. Either way, it is a win.

5. Celebrate progress
You worked hard, you deserve to pad yourself on the back. Really, this is an important step in the process because by celebrating yourself, you can see what you have already accomplished, and reflect on the lessons you have learned, which in turn motivates you to keep on going. You are writing a book, a process that has been compared to running a marathon. Keep in mind, many people are simply saying that they want to be writing a book. You are actually doing it. That alone is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

If you have never been a part of a writing challenge, I highly suggest that you start with the upcoming April Writing Challenge #AprWritingChallenge on Twitter. For more information, visit writingchallenge.org, where you can sign up, find out how to log your progress, and where you find the rest of us. We are here to cheer you on!

Writers, Mind Your Words – How Our Statements About Ourselves Determine Our Future

How Our Words Determine Our Future

As writers we are aware how important it is to choose our words carefully. Expressing the deeper meaning our characters actions, takes a deliberate focus upon each aspect of the story, from what words we put in, to what words we leave deliberately out.

But do we take as much care of our words when it comes to ourselves? Are we as careful about the statements that express what we are, how we feel and what we expect?

I advise you to take a moment and evaluate how you finish most of these sentence.

I am…

I feel…

I will…

I do…

These seemingly simple beginnings of a sentence have a far more powerful force upon your existence than you might realize. What you choose to put behind those words determines your day, the way people feel about your presence, and most importantly the way you feel about yourself.

If those sentence fragments often finish with a positive sequence of words, then you are doing a fantastic job working toward whatever goal you have in life. Your actions spring from these platforms with a burst of energy and move you closer to your end goals.

If however, your sentence conclude in negativity, expressing distress more often than not, those statements have a profound effect on keeping you in that negative state. You continue to feel bad, you continue to look at a situation with negativity, and through those dark colored glasses, miss opportunities and potential expansions that are right in front of your eyes.

You can talk yourself into success, and you can talk yourself out of it.

Your choice.

Thank you for reading this post. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe by following this blog, or push the subscribe link below. You can also find me on Twitter @claudiahblanton. I am always looking forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful day!

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Finding Time To Write During Stressful Times – 5 Tips

Writing Tips: 5 Ways To Find Time To Write During Stressful Times

Writers write. It is as simple as that. But there are times, when the world away from our words becomes increasingly  demanding and emergencies arise. Despite it all, you are longing to steal at least a few minutes away to reunite with your stories.
Here are some tips on how to do that, and keep your sanity.

1. Lower your expectations.
For the time being, adjust your work schedule, your goal word count and/or editing time. Make sure you limit this time to a reasonable stretch, maybe a week or two so that this reduced workload will not become a habit.

2. Announce to everyone when you will get back to a regular schedule.
Just like everyone else, who has a “regular” job, there is only so much time, you can take off from your work. Treat it just like that, and announce that timeframe to those who matter.

3. Make your shorter writing time absolutely sacred.
Get up an half an hour earlier, but do not allow anyone else to take these thirty minutes from you, by demanding additional attention. Working in a home environment takes a clear set of boundaries, that need to be announced, stuck with and defended.

4. Switch to tasks that you can handle in spurts
For some, like me, it is easier to edit and be interrupted than to handle the same when I am in emerged in the middle of the creation of a story line. Use this time to do those tasks that are easier for you to handle in such fashion, rather than trying to force those acts that need your full and longer attention. There is no reason to set yourself up for failure, by setting goals that you know you are not going to be able to keep following through upon.

5. Take care of yourself.
During stressful times, it is even more essential to take properly care of yourself, in order for you to handle the additional workload, and stay positive. Make time for healthy meals and enough sleep to regenerate your energy.

Simply knowing that there is an end to most interruptions makes those demands easier to handle.

“Writing Challenges”: 5 Reasons Why You Should Join One

Writing Challenges

Okay, I am biased about this subject, but out of good reasons. I currently run the March part of a continuously running Writing Challenge (writingchallenge.org), and I love it. But besides that it is the most fun I have had on Twitter for a while, there are real, tangible reasons, why I think, writing challenges, on social media platforms work well.

Here are 5 of them:

1. Accountability
Accountability in a work environment, in which we are left to our own devices and flexible time management, can work wonders in productivity. People work better with deadlines, and clear set goals and these challenges provide such. Some challenges work with charts, others with chains, but however they decide to utilize the accountability of their participants, the results speak for themselves. More people write consistently when they made a commitment outside of themselves, to someone else, then when you are working without a clear deadline. Accountability challenges provide that for you.

2. Encouragement
Working together with peers gives participants an opportunity to give and receive encouragement. Sometimes all we need is a kind word from someone who has already written a book or is going through the same steps you are, to get unstuck and stick with the planned project.

3. Sound Board
There have been times, where being able to share an idea with the group, or asking a question about a plot or character, has brought new insights, because of the viewpoint and shared (mostly kind) opinions of fellow writers. This is a great, often overlooked aspect when participating in these challenges.

4. Lasting connections
Challenge participants are really nice people who love to connect with others who have similar interest. We all automatically have a common ground, on which to build lasting relationships on. What a nice way to find friends in an otherwise solitary profession.

5. Professional connection
Many participants work in related fields, such as publishing and editing, or web design. I have come across a few people who’s services I will be using, once my projects are to that stage of development where their services are of value. This is a wonderful way to find people you can work with, that you can trust. After all, you already know them.

If you are looking to join one of these continuous challenges, I recommend checking the three examples below. Again, I am biased about the first one, but the other challenges are great as well.

WritingChallenge.org
750 Words
My 500 Words

Of course, there is the ever popular NaNoWriMo in November and the CampNaNoWriMo in April.

Happy Writing!

Better Late Than Never – Celebrate The Small Things

Celebrate blog hop

I am so behind on blog hops this week! But I think I have a reasonable excuse, considering that I have been writing up a storm. Besides working on reviews (thank you for everyone who has sent me copies of their work, I love you all, and will post the reviews soon), and writing on my own Fantasy series (not sure yet, it if would fit more into Urban Fantasy, or Dark Fantasy, well the books will help me discover how dark I am going to go with this), I have been slammed busy.Oh and we are planning for my daughter’s prom (her boyfriend’s prom, actually – we home school, so no actual prom here), a move, running our business, and yes, I got to edit a freaky little horror script I just finished writing.

I am utterly and happily grateful for all of the above! This might be crazy, but I actually like being busy. I did forget to mention, that I was chosen to lead the #MarWritingChallenge on Twitter! Yay! Basically the concept behind that is, that we encourage others that sign up to write at least 500 words per day, or edit their projects for one hour a day, and log their process for accountability. I am basically the lead-cheerleader on Twitter, but we do also have a Facebook group. I am so grateful to be a part of this! (for more info check out our main site http://writingchallenge.org)

It has warmed up! Finally the weather resembles some kind of Florida spring – which supposed to mean, I am supposed to be sweating, and hiding by the air-conditioner. That has not happened until yesterday. I loved turning on the AC! Felt like winning. We can not complain here, because our weather was not marginally as bad as for the rest of the East Coast, but I am reveling in the warmth right now.

So, I hope you had a great week too. What did you guys do, and what are you grateful for?

P.S. I am also grateful that people I rooted for, won at the Oscars! Yay to winning!