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Posts Tagged ‘Marcie Atkins’

This post was originally part of Marcie Flinchum Atkins’s blog seried WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

Marcie had asked the contributors to this series the following question: How do you keep yourself motivated? We all like to have written, but find it hard to stay motivated to write.

Following is my response to the question.

Some words my thesaurus gives for “motivated” are inspired, stimulated and encouraged. Some antonyms for those words are demotivated, uninspired, depressed and discouraged.

When it comes to writing, do you ever feel demotivated? Discouraged? Uninspired? Depressed or frustrated? What might be behind those feelings? Following are ten obstacles to consider when you lack the motivation to write. I have listed a few ways to combat each obstacle. Can you find some other ways of your own?

1. Fear
List the beliefs, thoughts, events, situations etc. that are behind the fear and find a way around those obstacles.

2. Lack of Knowledge
Take classes; read; ask questions; participate in writing community discussions; attend conferences; join a critique group; read blogs; join a group like Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12, or kidlit411, or Sub Six, or WOW nonficpic, and many more.

3. Lack of Ideas
Join Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo; start an idea file; live life thinking like a writer – eventually you’ll hardly go through a day without hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting or feeling something that sparks an idea; ask other writers how they get ideas. This is a common question in author interviews, so read interviews.

4. Rejections
Read “We’re All in This Together” posts on rejection (post #1 and post #2) and my post on TWELVE METHODS FOR COPING WITH REJECTIONS.

5. Other People’s Successes
Instead of letting the green-eyed monster frustrate, discourage or depress you, do something nice. Congratulate the other writers. Buy their books. Share their success on your blog or elsewhere. Let their success inspire you. Believe the same is possible for you.

6. Feeling Overwhelmed or Overloaded
Take a break by doing enjoyable things that you have not allowed yourself to do for a long time. Cut yourself some slack and prioritize. Are all those “shoulds” spinning around your head really that important? See time management link in #10 this post. Journal, meditate, vent to someone that you know truly understands.

7. Distractions
Set limits on social media and other computer distractions. Find a place and time to write that is void of distractions. Are you a distracted mom? See Marcie’s “Mom’s Write” series.

8. Writing for the Wrong Reasons
Ask yourself why you are writing. If it is to become famous or make lots of money, those reasons might not be enough to motivate you after you’ve received a few rejections. They might not be enough to motivate you away from distractions. There has to be something in it that makes you want to write no matter what. Even if no one ever reads it, you are compelled to write. What makes you love writing? According to my Webster’s Dictionary, the definition for motivate is “To provide with a motive.” The definition of motive is “Something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.” What is your motive for writing?

9. Beating a Dead Horse
After sending the same story to your critique group twenty times, you might feel like you are beating a dead horse. After getting twenty rejections for the same manuscript, you might feel like you are beating dead horse. When going around in circles editing the same old five stories, you might feel like you are beating five dead horses. Try putting the dead horses away for a while and start writing five fresh stories.

10. No Time
Look at your time realistically. Are you trying to fit a 72-hour day into 12 hours? If so, you have too much on your plate and something must go. What will it be? When considering this, the first place to look is time wasters. Check out these time management tools.

Your turn: What keeps you motivated when things in your writing life get tough?

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My friend Marcie Flinchum Atkins has started a blog series for writers titled WE ARE  ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Each week, Marcie’s blog will feature a different topic, and her writer friends will share their thoughts on the subject. This week’s topic is REJECTION. Marcie has shared some of my thoughts on her blog. I decided I would have a little more fun by offering additional thoughts on my blog. Following are twelve ideas on how one might cope with receiving a rejection letter. I want to warn you in advance that some are tongue-in-cheek fun and others are a little more serious.

1. Scream, cry, and swear. Wad the rejection letter into a ball, throw it at things and stomp on it. When you are done, if you still don’t feel better, consider using it for toilet paper 🙂

2. Print out a photo of the agent or editor who sent the rejection. Draw a mustache, beard, bushy eyebrows, and scars on his/her face. If she/he is smiling, black out some of her/his teeth. If you still don’t feel better, try drawing a target on the photo and throwing darts at it.

Now that I have had a little fun at the expense of agents and editors, I have to say that their jobs are also difficult. They must weed through tons of submissions and make tough decisions. Yet, many of them are kind enough to let us down easy and sometimes even offer helpful suggestions. They are instrumental in forcing us to grow as writers, so I can’t beat them up too much in the name of fun.

3. Grow more bitter with each rejection until you hate anyone who gets an agent or a contract. Really, really hate the writers who are so successful that it seems they have a new contract every time you turn around. Really, really, really hate the ones who have books going into their third printing and are being published in twenty different languages. Hate until you are so green with envy that you are mistaken for an alien. Hate until you can’t stand yourself.

4. Tell yourself that you have no business writing. Tell yourself that you are worthless when it comes to writing. Tell yourself, “What’s the use in trying. I’ll never get anywhere. I give up.” Then stop writing.

5. Once you give up on writing, spend the time you used to spend on writing and submitting by sleeping, staring at the television (on or off) drinking wine and/or eating the most unhealthy foods you can think of. Of course, there is always the old standby . . . eating ice cream straight from the carton.

6. Journal about your feelings or vent to a friend, then get back on that writing horse and write.

7. Meditate or pray until you are at peace, then get back on that writing horse and write.

8. Write a poem or prayer of release, then read it aloud as you burn the rejection letter (or something that represents the rejection). Let it go, and get back on that writing horse and write.

9. Collect rejections as badges of honor. They honor your hard work and dedication, your resilience and your courage. If a writer plays it safe and never submits, a writer cannot possibly get published. Each rejection is proof that you are one step closer to publication. Remember, there are no publishing ninjas sneaking into writers’ homes in search for the perfect story.

10. Keep all your rejection letters in a nice box with a ribbon or some other place that makes them feel like treasured memories. When you get published, you can encourage other writers by sharing how many rejections you received before your first book was published.

11. No matter how many rejections you get, love every person you know who gets an agent or contract. Really, really love the ones that are so successful that it seems they have a new contract every time you turn around. Really, really, really love the ones who have books going into their third printing and are being published in twenty different languages. Love until your heart is so full of joy that you are viewed as a happy and successful writer. Love until you are so encouraged and inspired by these published writers that you believe it can happen for you.

12. Change your perspective. As weights are important to the body builder’s growth, rejections are important to the writer’s growth. With the right perspective, rejections can build your writing muscles and thicken your skin. You can become stronger. And as you become stronger, you will find that each rejection can energize you and push you to work even harder. You have a choice. You can prove those who have rejected your work to be right, or you can prove them wrong. The only way to prove them wrong is to get back on that writing horse and keep writing until you have reached your destination.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES

1. What funny things do you do in response to rejections?

2. What self-defeating things do you do in response to rejections?

3. What positive, strength building methods do you have for coping with rejections?

I plan to offer more posts about rejection and perspective. Today I will leave you with the thought that there are many reasons manuscripts get rejected. A lot of them might have to do with personal tastes, requirements, and sometimes even the mood the editor is in. However, sometimes rejections are based on things that the writer can change or improve. Here are a few links that discuss reasons for rejections and one blog post about looking at rejections from a positive perspective.

Marcie’s WE ARE  ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Jessica P. Morrell’s 25 Reasons Why Manuscripts Get Rejected

Susie Yakowicz, Writing for Kids: 10 Reasons Manuscripts Get Rejected

Romelle Broas, Rejection Letters – From a Positive Perspective

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