A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blog Chain - What's My Motivation?


The blogchainers are at it again, and I guess my name came up early in the list. Amanda is posing the question this time around:

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you're not making any progress in your writing career?

This question is incredibly timely for me because - as you can see by my lack of regular posts - I'm not exactly that motivated lately. This is the question that has been driving me mad every waking moment. How do I get back on track and motivate myself?

It doesn't help that everyone around me (at least here in blogland) is picking up an agent or multi-book deal. Don't get me wrong. I am incredibly happy for Elana, Shaun, Cole, Beth, Amanda...I could go on and on, because there are so many of you enjoying success right now (and I apologize if I didn't mention or congratulate anyone else). I really do wish you all great success. But I do get down when I think about how far away I am from being "that good". Of course, one post on here and all you wonderful people come forward to prop me back up, kick me in the behind, and tell me to keep at it.

As far as what I do to keep motivated is concerned though, I guess I just keep imagining how I'm going to feel when I get that email or phone call. You know, the one from an agent, where I'm finally rewarded for all this hard work. I read the words from all of you who are achieving this and I can imagine just how incredible that must feel. It's not the idea of publication nor the glory of having an agent that drives me - it's the feeling of success I'll have when I am writing that well.

It's kind of funny. When I first started this journey, I think I was more interested in being able to walk into Barnes & Nobles and see my book on the shelf than anything else. After writing this long though, my goal has changed. I still do want to take a picture of my book on the retailer shelf of course, but I'm really more interested in being able to say I'm a successful writer. I want to feel confident in my writing and have a reason to jump up and down in my living room after hearing from an agent. The promise of what will come if I keep at this is enough to motivate me, even on the days when I'm not feeling particularly talented. Especially on those days, in fact.

I don't know if I've provided a very concrete answer, but there it is. If you didn't get a chance to read what Sandra had to say, bop on over there. Michelle H. is scheduled to follow me tomorrow, so check that out too.

16 comments:

Cole Gibsen said...

Awesome post! I am so with you. When my book sold, it was the second time it was out on submission - which means, a year ago, it was out on submission and nobody bought it. That's a feeling I never want to experience again. It was like a big 'ol road closed sign in front of my face. And of course, right around that time, everyone around me was getting book deals. It's so easy to fall into "why not me?". I think, what kept me going, was this fantasy of mine: I picture myself in a bookstore, signing my debut, and in walks all the people who said I'd never make it. Okay, so maybe revenge isn't the "best" motivation - but, hey, it works for me. :D Hee.

Christine Fonseca said...

I TOTALLY get where you are coming from Eric! And I struggle more often than I like to admit when ALL of my closest friends are celebrating and I find myself feeling like whatever I am striving for at the moment may never come to pass. But, then I chill, I go back to work and I just keep pluggin along, having faith that it WILL happen (whatever the particular "it" is at the time) ...sooner or later.

Michelle H. said...

Great post, Eric. I feel the same way when seeing those writers around me achieve their publishing dreams while it still feels like I'm spinning my wheels in place. Too often I've wanted to shout, "Why not me?" I'm still trying to figure out what keeps me motivated. Glad I have this day to think before my post tomorrow.

Davin Malasarn said...

I'v stopped fighting the times when I lose motivation. So far, those times have been fleeting, and it allows me to catch up on the rest of my life. :) I don't have an agent nor a published novel. But, I find that I am happy when I improve in my writing, and more and more, that becomes my only goal.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, Eric, I've been there. On the other side. Last. You think you'll never make it. But you will. YOU WILL.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I still want to walk into a B&N and see a book with my name on the front cover. But I also think it's important to define success in your own personal way. Hope you find the success you're looking for soon!

Amanda said...

What an awesome post, Eric! I know exactly how you feel. You're always happy for your friends but you can't help but wonder when your turn will come around.

Just like you, I was searching for those feelings of validation. Like through falling on my ass, crits that made me want to cry, and piles of rejections, I'd learned something, honed my skills and proved myself to someone. You'll get there. I'm sure of it. Luck follows the persistent. And you are VERY persistent!

lbdiamond said...

Um, yeah, been there! I've been at this for two years and am only JUST getting my writing to be even close to "competitive" to catch an agent's eye. Seriously, I've wanted to quit--A LOT and FREQUENTLY...but I just can let myself because I love my stories, I love the process, and I have hope. ;D

Deb said...

Oh man, know exactly what you are saying. And something that totally resonated with me was this:

"The promise of what will come if I keep at this is enough to motivate me, even on the days when I'm not feeling particularly talented. Especially on those days, in fact."

I just (sort of, kind of) came around to this recently. Had to go back to why I started writing books (picture books in particular) so long ago. The promise/hope that someday I'll be that author in front of kids, inspiring them with the books I've written, making them fall in love reading and writing...

Reading what you wrote just brought that into full focus for me. Now...I am off to have "a moment", lol.

Thanks, Eric...keep on reaching for that promise, you _will_ get there!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

All I can say (other than what a great post this is) is to keep working at it. The first reason we write is because we love it. I think the rest is just a bonus. You'll get there. The road is paved with a million bad words (or more if you're me.)

nomadshan said...

Great and honest post, Eric. Every little connection to a reader along the way is a fantastic confidence boost. The more you write, the more clearly your voice will emerge. And then ... *ding* ... connection.

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Totally keep at it! You really hit the nail on the head when you said, "I still do want to take a picture of my book on the retailer shelf of course, but I'm really more interested in being able to say I'm a successful writer." It's all about hard work, and you'll definitely make it with your attitude! Great post!

B.J. Anderson said...

Eric, I totally hear you. I've been writing serious for 7+ years and sometimes I feel like it's never going to happen. Especially when everyone in the world (or so it seems, lol) is getting an agent or a book deal. It can be brutal sometimes, despite how happy you are for your friends! But we have to keep going and keep our chins up. :D Great post.

cassandrajade said...

Great post and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. It is a good question - what keeps us motivated. I may need to look at motivation sometime soon on my blog.
Wishing you luck with your writing.

Sarah Bromley said...

Eric, I'm right there with you. Right now, I'm Last in my group. It's not a particularly fun place to be. But we have to plod on because Last eventually becomes Soon.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I love that your goal has evolved from simply having a book with your name on it, to something deeper and within yourself - of knowing you are a good writer. Really great post and keep at it!