3 Kick In the Pants Tips for Tired Workaday Writers

writing, indie writer, writing after working hard

This has been a rough week.

Of course, as a high school English teacher who teaches two Advanced Placement courses and also manages the after school alternative education program...and also the supplemental online schooling program...most weeks are tough.

They are ten times that when I want to write something and get home and there are a myriad of other things to do: listen to my 8 year old read because her scores are low, help my son with his mountain of math homework, etc. etc.  Then there are the essays I have to grade (pictured above).

Cassidy Frazee wrote that her biggest hurdle as a writer is "finding the motivation at the end of the day to continue my current work in progress."  Well, Cassidy, I think that most writers who are indies like us have this problem.

What to do?

Should we just give up and quit writing?  I say no.  Someone would have to cut off my hands to keep me from writing and then I would probably figure out how to manage anyway.  The trick to this is boiled down to three basic questions:

  1. How Bad Do You Want It? - Harlan Ellison said "it's easy to become a writer.  It's even harder to stay a writer."  This is absolute truth.  What is it that drives you anyway?  If you haven't written anything in over six months because you just can't bring yourself to write or motivate yourself to write, then you probably aren't a writer.  Writers write.  It's just that simple.  Even if it's paragraphs at a time or sentences at a time, you should be writing something.
  2. What Do You Dream About? - Do you have a dream of being a best seller?  I don't, but maybe you do.  Do you have a dream of finishing that one novel just to say that you did it?  Maybe you just want to see if you can write a final chapter to a book and then write the rest of the novel around it.  When I think about my dreams, that is what motivates me to get busy on the WIP.  Think about your biggest dream as a writer.  That dream is not going be a reality without a massive amount of hard work from you and only you.
  3. What Mark Do You Want To Leave On the World? - When you are dead and gone, do you want people to remember that you were the hardest worker in cubicle C on the third floor, or do you want them to remember that awesome poem you wrote or that short story that gave them chills?  Edmund Spencer wrote a poem on the subject, and in it he states that he wrote his love's name on the beach and the water washed it away, but he wrote about it in this poem and we are still reading it.  Words leave marks upon the world more than any other thing that man can do.  What will be your mark upon the world?

I think that if we can ask ourselves these hard questions we can motivate ourselves to write no matter the day we have had.  I often write to vent about the day if it was a bad one.  I also reward myself if I stick to my guns and churn out some words.

What keeps you going?  Comment below.