An IWSG Post: What Motivates You?

Good day.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. The first Wednesday of every month, bloggers from all around write posts designed to encourage writers of all levels. We share our progress throughout this writing journey. We express our fears and share our joys. If you wish to join in the fun, click on the link here.

The A to Z Challenge wrapped up a couple of days ago. This year, I declined to participate. There are a few reasons. One, in the two years prior, I was disappointed in the lack of responses. I felt like no one cared about what I had to say. Two, coming up with random topics for two years was challenging. Brainstorming a new set of topics was near impossible. Three, my experience was limited, at best, about certain topics. I feared what I wrote would be taken out of context. And four, with all that’s going on now in my daily life, it wouldn’t be easy to set aside a set time to write and post something. Valid reasons, all of them. But the truth is, my heart wasn’t into it this year. I didn’t have the motivation to take the time out of my schedule to write anything. 

This got me thinking about what motivates us to do what we do. We set goals in every facet of our our lives. Career, financial, relationships, whatever.  I believe motivation—the reason(s) behind what we do—determines whether we succeed or fail. And many ideals factor in what motivates us: morals, lifestyle, finances, etc. 

For example, many writers, including myself, have a goal to write a novel. Here’s where motivation kicks in. If I say I want to write a novel because I want to be published, that’s fine. But if I write a novel just because I want to make money as a best-selling novelist, chances are I will be disappointed. Having a novel published are slim because everyone has the same goal in mind. Even with putting in the marketing work, researching trends, and receiving reviews, odds are still unlikely that hordes of readers will run to bookstores just to buy my book. And what if my book is not a bestseller? What if I don’t receive positive reviews? What if I’m too late latching onto the trend? Then what? What will motivate me to write another book? Possible answer: nothing, if my motivation is to make money. 

On the other hand, if I want to write a book because I want to tell a story. If I want to share an experience or address an issue through the written word, then more rewards are possible. It’s more likely I will be satisfied with what I wrote. It’s possible that I will enjoy and appreciate the process, not matter how long it took to write. It’s possible sales and reviews will not be the driving force—not saying that they’re not important. Bottom line, there’s a greater feeling of satisfaction, even if it’s the only book I write.

Now these situations are hypothetical. Everyone’s writing journey is different. Some writers might not want to write a novel; they feel more comfortable writing short stories or memoirs. Some might not go into writing looking for a big payday; they want to write as a hobby or an opportunity to challenge themselves creatively. Regardless, the motivation behind writing will determine whether or not your journey is worth the hard work. Now this is not meant to sway your thoughts on why you write. What I will suggest is to take some time to learn about your motivation, especially if you’re feel disconnected with your writing.

What say you? What motivates you to do what you do, writing or otherwise? Feel free to comment. 

Until next time…


My Writing Funk

I wrote a post on Facebook’s “Ten-Minute Novelists” page about something that seems to be an issue from what I’ve read: motivation and creative stumbling blocks. In my “rant,” I talked about how I feel stuck in my writing. My “Cell Games” series is losing its luster. I had all these great ideas for my stories. Now, they’re not there. I’ve lost my passion for them. Maybe this is because I spent so much time plotting and planning and holding myself back from writing these stories that I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write about. I could go back to Evernote and read characters and situations I wanted to write about, sure. But it doesn’t feel the same. 

This has been an issue with me the last few weeks. And apparently, I’m not the only one whose struggling with this feeling. I get that having these “moments” are normal for the everyday writer. The problem with me is because I’m not writing every day, having these “moments” led me to quit writing for periods at a time. I don’t want to go through that again. But I just don’t have the gumption to write every day. For months, I journaled using my One Day app, even if it was just a single sentence saying how I felt or what I wrote. But before yesterday, I missed writing in it for about two weeks. (To be fair, I disabled the alerts to save battery life and to not feel as guilty for not writing at a given time.)

After I took to Facebook (and Twitter), discussing my plight, I got some positive feedback and stirring words of encouragement. The fact that I posted my rant showed, to one 10-Minute member, that I was writing. I hadn’t thought about it until he brought it up. And it’s not that I’ve shut my brain off from writing. I’ve let my duties as a husband, father, and provider take priority over writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I didn’t make time to write. And maybe that’s because I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike. I know that’s a cop-out, but that’s how I truly feel. I feel like my muse is napping away, waiting for me to get started, and even then, she’s not always present.

So, what’s a writer to do? Write, of course. Even when it’s not convenient. Someone suggested I take ten minutes to write about my story; not write my story. Someone suggested I take a pen and a notebook and write about what I observe: plants, people, cars, outfits, etc. Someone suggested that I participate in NaNoWriMo. Not a bad idea in that it would get me writing, but I don’t have a novel idea in mind. And I struggle with writing consistently. So NaNo is out of the question this year, though it is a goal of mine to participate one year. 

So, there are a lot of suggestions to overcome my writing funk, lack of motivation, writer’s block, call it what you want. I will have to take them up on their suggestions. 

What do you do to combat your writing funk? Feel free to let me know in the comments. Also, if you have suggestions, share those in the comments as well.