If you’re a bookworm like me, chances are you’ve dreamt of becoming a famous author at one point in time. Your name on the bestseller list, the chaos of book signings, the thrill of getting that next acceptance letter for your new book… I’m sure all of us book-fiends have been there, turning that last page of a book you’ve been absorbed in for the last few days and thinking, “Man, I bet I could write a story like this.”
And you know what? You can! It may take some time and a lot of writing and re-writing (and re-writing and re-writing), but if you really want to become an author, I truly think that’s the best thing you can have to make it work: the desire. Although… it does also help to have some good friends handy to proofread and give honest feedback to help you improve 😉
But let’s say you have the desire, and you have the feedback-giving friends, but you still can’t seem to get started with your new hobby/career. You’re disappointed, you’re frustrated, and you’re thinking of giving up already. Well, stop that. Sometimes you just need that extra push towards motivation to get you started. And lucky for you, I’m here to help you out with that! I’ve compiled a list of things that help motivate me — and hopefully you as well — to pick up that pen or ready your typing fingers and start writing.
So… why should you write? Let’s begin with…
Expanding your knowledge
Writing, even the creative kind, often requires a lot of research. Maybe a character in your story is suffering from dehydration, or your story takes place inside a storm on Jupiter, or your main character is a certain type of crab that lives on the beaches of Florida. How would someone experiencing dehydration act or feel? Do Jupiter’s storms behave the same as Earth’s storms? Does that type of crab move slowly or does it zip around the shoreline?
You could easily make up the answers to these sorts of questions, but sometimes you’ve just got to look something up to really make your story come to life. It may get tedious and frustrating at times — after all, writing is about writing, not researching, right? But trust me, it will be worth it, and it will make your story that much more believable.
Just make sure you don’t start thinking of your research as a burden. You’re doing it to improve your story, not to ruin it. So have fun with it! I’m currently writing a story set in space (but it’s not science fiction!), so I’ve been doing a lot of research on star activity and black holes, and it’s honestly super interesting! Maybe a little too interesting, as sometimes I get distracted from my actual writing. But that’s the way to do it: enjoy your research so it doesn’t become a chore. Just think of how much better it will make your story once you learn more about the topics/characters you’re writing about. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Google and get to researching, and be sure to come back to let me know what you’ve learned!
Getting those juices flowing!
We all have those days: you feel lazy… sluggish… like your brain has taken a day or two (or six or ten) off. You just want to lie around in your PJ’s and binge-watch Netflix shows until you take an accidental nap, wake up, and do it all again. Trust me, I have those days all the time. And sometimes (especially if you’re not in school or if you have a very mind-numbing job), we can get stuck in those types of days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to give your mind a vacation every once in a while, but don’t let your brain turn to mush!
Writing is a great way to get those neurons firing, and not just because of that research you’ll probably be doing. It takes work to come up with stories and mold them into something worth reading. You may have a great idea for a story, but you probably don’t have all the pieces at the start. You might have to focus on developing interesting character names or how to make a certain plot point work with the rest of the story. Just coming up with a good title often requires quite a bit of brain power!
Being creative is an amazing feeling, but turning your brain on to get that creativity going feels just as great! Especially if you’ve been stuck in that PJ’s–Netflix–napping slump we talked about. I don’t know about you guys, but I get such a rush when I’m being creative. It makes for a nice break from the monotony of everyday life, and you get to make something incredible while you’re at it. So let’s set that action potential in action! (Any physiology nerds in here? …No? Well, if you’re not, an action potential is essentially what causes the neurons to communicate with each other. The more you know 🌠).
De-stressing your life
Did you know that writing is actually a great way to help relieve stress? You can use it to collect your thoughts or to get unwanted thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Sometimes it helps to open up a notebook or a Word doc and just write everything out — stream of consciousness writing is good for this — and who knows, you might just find inspiration for your next story! Have you just had a major argument with your partner? Ended a friendship? Lost a pet? All of these experiences create intense emotions that can be very difficult to deal with, but writing it all out can help you learn to cope, and it can also help create a more realistic side to your stories if you choose to use them creatively.
Poetry is another route you could take to both de-stress and spark some creativity for a new/in-the-works story. Take a character, a plot point, or even an emotion a character might be feeling and write a poem using that topic or emotion. Sometimes taking a break from the usual format helps to churn out some new ideas, and working with a more linguistically creative form of story-telling may also help improve your writing.
Putting any of these options into practice can help in both your writing and in your day-to-day life. Writing everything out can help you deal with stressful situations by allowing you to see things from another perspective, or you might see something in the situation that you did not see while it was actually happening. Stress can be a pain, and writer’s block can be even worse, so why not knock out two birds with one stone? So let’s all take a few deep breaths and relaaaaaaax. Push all that stress out, and get some use out of it by putting it on the page!
And lastly, the thing all writers strive for: the chance to get published. Though achieving this goal is obviously an amazing feat for any writer, and it is certainly something to encourage you to write, I will say to not let this be your only motivation. Write for you first. And if you manage to get published, great! But if you don’t love what you create, chances are no one else will, either.
When you do get to the publishing stage, don’t get discouraged by rejection letters! Anyone in the publishing/editing/writing field will tell you: you’ll get rejected a hundred times before you finally get accepted. But you can’t let it wear you down! I started sending my stories off for publication back in November, and I was collecting a pretty long list of rejection emails and never-heard-back feelings of emptiness before someone decided my work was good enough.
But, after long months of waiting and submitting to different magazines/publication websites, I finally got accepted for publication! Twice! You’ve got to play the waiting game, but that feeling of achievement you get when you receive those acceptance emails is beyond worth it. So don’t give up! Have patience, and just keep trying!
Well, future authors, those are just a few of my suggestions to help any aspiring (or practiced) writers out there who may be having trouble finding the motivation to write. I know how hard it is to sit down and write sometimes, especially with all the distractions we have to ignore to get anything done, but I know you can do it! Just keep thinking about all the good that can come of it, and focus on how great you’ll feel when you create something wonderful! So good luck, and happy writing!