Friday, August 13, 2010

Staying Motivated

Situation: You submit a novel and two stories for consideration. Weeks pass without a word.  How do you stay motivated?

For me, this is a motivation killer.  I find it hard to stay motivated when I have no sense if I'm making progress and in that situation I often feel adrift. How do I stay motivated when this happens to me?

Answer: Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I use the time as a break. A time to rest, recover, and recharge. And other times I push myself because my stories don't write themselves.

Sometimes I need someone else to do the prodding. This can come from anywhere, a book, an email, a blog post or any other source.

Basically it is a mind game with myself. We meet on the battlefield of my emotions. On the procrastination side are all the reasons why it is pointless to pursue a career in writing, all the obstacles in my way. I'm not a big fan working toward something if there's no reward or no hope of reward. It is easy to give up; it is much harder to keep going.

On the other side, the side of reason, are all the reasons why I started writing in the first place. The desire to entertain and share my ideas, my stories, my characters. This side is looking pretty ragged these days because they are getting blasted on the beachhead from an industry that has no interest in accepting or welcoming me as one of its own.

Not that I need anyone's approval. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm looking for an editor or publisher's approval to accept my work. One just one person to say, yes, your work is good enough. Otherwise, I get the gnawing sense that I'm deluding myself. Not a big fan of that either.

Of course, I may never find this person. God knows it took me years to find a woman to love and care about me. Likewise, it may be that the publisher who will take my work to heart does not yet exist and may not exist in my lifetime. Or if they do exist, they operate in such arena, some place I'd never think of looking, that I'll never find them.

This is an old struggle for me and one which has no resolution except to publish or perish. However, more recently I've been thinking I should use the webspace I have to post my work. Setting up a way for people to buy my stories and say "To Hell" to the publishing industry.

The only reason I don't do that is who will ever find my work that way sitting on a lone web site that no one has ever heard of or will think to look for? My goal is to share my work so unless I win the Amazing Race or Survivor or America You've Got Talent, putting my work on a personal web site is as good as flushing them down the toilet.

No, I'd need a different place, like lulu, or createspace, or smashwords to help me distribute my work. But I've not done that because I don't think self-publishing is the answer. Self-publishing says you could go the distance and get a real company to publish you.  You aren't good enough.

So I holdout for someone to come along. But until they do, doubt lingers, grows, festers.

Yes, doubt is the enemy here. If anyone reading this has a way to keep doubt away or a trick to stay motivated, let me know. I'd love to hear it. Thanks.

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