Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Motivation or Lack Thereof

After six years at this without a payoff, I admit it's hard to stay motivated.  I mean, when I first started this full-time writing thing, it really was closer to full time.  Throughout the day, I worked and paused, worked and paused.  Now?  Not so much.

This morning as I was scanning through the blogosphere, a writer who's sold many books over the years said something that implied if you're only working at this for an hour a day, it's a hobby for you.  This implication was like a slap across the face.  It hurt to think a 'real' novelist would believe I'm just doing this to amuse myself.

Because let's face it, folks, writing isn't always the most fun thing ever.  Especially editing, or wrestling with a difficult scene, or rejection letters... Some days it's like shooting yourself in the forehead with a BB gun - repeatedly.

And then again, I had to admit to myself that I would be working harder at this if I could somehow see a payoff in the near future.  (Or even the not-so distant future, if I had an agent.)  As it says over there in my bio, this is the most effort I've put into anything without some kind of tangible payoff.  Sure, my finished books are a payoff of sorts.  After all, I have learned a lot through writing those books, but I'm thinking more along the lines of cold, hard cash. 

Lately, I seem to lack a strong enough motivation to keep my butt in this chair for the time required to make this a real full-time endeavor.  "Oh look, I've finished another book" just ain't cuttin' it anymore.  I don't even celebrate the accomplishment any more.  I mean, when I finished my first book, I was ready to break out the champagne.  (Didn't - but that was because I was saving it for the soon-to-be agent call that never came.)

So, coming across Mr. Bestseller's comment this morning made me ask myself the questions: Did this become some kind of hobby for me somewhere along the way?  When?  Why? 

I'm still wrestling with the answers.  I do know this is a sort of kick in the pants.  I need to put more effort into my job - even if no one else looks at what I do as a job worthy of a paycheck.  I mean, I've put more effort into minimum wage shit-jobs I hated than I put into this occupation I love (but for which I'm not getting moolah). 

So, the big question today is:  What keeps you motivated? 


  1. Im sorry you're confused and in a bad place right now. Maybe taking a break and reorganizing your thoughts will help? I dont know.

    There are a lot of things that keep me going. For one, writing is the only job I want. It has always been my dream to be published. And like it or not, my "family" pushes me to try harder too. Though they probably don't know it, their negative comments push me to succeed and prove them all wrong, LOL!

  2. I can't answer because you echo my thoughts most days exactly.

  3. No worries, Nat. I'm not really in a bad place. It's not like I'm going to quit writing or anything. It's just a wake up call. If I keep doing what I'm doing, I'm not going to get anywhere. I just have to find another way to motivate myself. You go, girl. I need an influx of that attitude. =o)

    Thanks, Travis. We'll make it sooner or later. (I'm just hoping for sooner - for both of us.)

  4. In the end,the great moments of writing outshine the bad ones for me. And hope is a powerful drug. We're all addicted.
    So what keeps me writing? I guess I love the idea of writing the best story I possibly can, and hoping that someday I'll see it on a shelf somewhere.

  5. I'm with Lydia. I do it because I have these stories in my head that I feel compelled to share in hopes that one day someone else will enjoy them. And I work a full-time job teaching elementary school, not to mention being a wife and mother, so for ten months of the year I'm lucky to squeeze out an hour's worth of writing time. Chin up! :)

  6. I'm pretty sure I've brought this up before but why haven't you tried epubs yet? They really can be a stepping stone to NY.