I openly admit that I’ve been lacking motivation lately. I haven’t written or even edited much of anything in the past five months. First it was the holiday season. Then it was work and personal issues that I claimed got in the way. The truth is that it’s tough to remain motivated at times. The lack of a wide audience has left me with questions about my future as an author that writing alone can not answer. Maybe I’m not destined to be a successful. Maybe I should abandon Bobby and friends and start another series. Maybe I should focus my energies in other directions—like earning a decent living, and let my stories fade into forgotten dreams.
And then I read good writing…
Funny how reading well-written prose draws me back to my computer, itching to resume my own literary explorations. I won’t bother mentioning who I read or why. We all have our favorite authors, and when we struggle, it’s often these authors who serve as motivational coaches, encouraging us to continue our craft. I want to write like that guy…
I met a woman at the dogpark recently who has published seven books over the past twelve years. Sometimes she takes over a year’s hiatus between novels. I don’t want to go that long between (re)discovering my motivation, yet I accept that I may, at times, drift away from writing to focus on family, finances, and other important aspects of life.
Besides reading good writing, another huge source of motivation for me is compliments. On this issue, I admit that I’m not above turning even the mildest praise into fuel for the creative fire. My best friend’s eight-year-old son has heard all my novels recited to him by his mother. Together, they’ve read book three and want to know what I have planned for book four. Knowing that there are people out there who truly care about what happens to Bobby and his friends is powerful motivation.
Which brings me to social media..,
Despite having studied business and marketing in college, being active and promoting myself via social media does not come naturally to me. Truth be told, I originally disdained Myspace and Facebook. I found the notion of publishing the details of my personal life on the web utterly distasteful. Nowadays, I have shifted my views, considering social media more of a necessary activity than an outright crime of personal over-sharing.
When it comes to being an indie author, truly blessed are those who actively enjoy the use of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. More than a few authors have been discovered by agents and traditional publishers more because of their social media prowess than their actual stories or turn of phrase.
If I have a point, it’s this: whenever you struggle to keep writing, find whatever motivation you can to keep going. Whether it’s hearing from fans that they enjoy your stories, or reading an author whose style you envy, getting back to your keyboard is all that matters.