Writing, even collaborative works, is a solitary profession by its very nature. That cannot be avoided or changed, but we can fight against the procrastination and lack of motivation that can accompany it. Becoming part of a community and setting deadlines are important to motivation, but they aren’t the whole story and writers are storytellers.
- For a lot of us, a good story can be the best motivation, and these Ted Talks are a good stories.
- Writer Emmy Yoshida shares how she overcame her fear of publishing, and the ensuing judgments.
- Take steps to improve your writing, like going to a conference or taking a class.
- Take a little time to understand yourself and create a writing environment and schedule that work for you.
- Sometimes, you have to just suck it up and self-motivate. (And not right after cleaning the refrigerator. Now.)
As indie authors, we rarely have the kind of deadlines that a trad publisher gives writers. Instead, we tend to have dim “I’ll finish by winter” type goals. Without a deadline, a buddy cheering us on, or something else to hold us accountable, it’s really hard to ever reach those goals.
But we can choose to set specific, dated and / or word-counted goals for ourselves. We can decide we only have a glass of wine if we reach 500, 1000, 3000, or whatever our daily or weekly word count goal was, or that we can have a day off to visit a museum or lay around the house in jammies watching old movies when we finish the first draft or finally get our manuscript polished and sent to an editor.
These sites and tips can help set those kind of specific goals.
- Day Zero Project is in no way writing-specific, but it is all about setting and achieving goals. “We believe that by making goal setting fun and competitive you can make real progress on achieving your ambitions. Open-ended goal setting (like bucket lists) don’t work. It’s only when you assign a time constraint that your focus and determination kicks in.”
- NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a large event where authors push to write an entire novel or book in one month. Sure, it needs a lot of work to polish and edit, but at least it’s done, or close to it. Writer’s flock to it because it gives set goals and a deadline, and a community to help keep everyone motivated and on target.
- Set deadlines.
- Be realistic in the timeframe you set for yourself.
- Finally, read these tips for avoiding mistakes when you set deadlines.
If you are part of a community of writers, others are there to encourage you, provide feedback, and help you at least feel more accountable about getting anything done. (It can be embarrassing when someone else finishes a whole book and you haven’t finished a whole chapter. Not that that has ever happened to me….)
In addition to online forums, join your local writers group, and be active. Don’t just sign up and read a few of the online posts without ever interacting! Simply do a quick online search of your state name + “writer’s group” to find it.
- Absolute Write: “The AW forums are pretty big, and there are a lot of people posting here about pretty much every writing-related subject under the sun.”
- Blueboard: Created and run by Verla Kay, this premiere online forum for children’s (including the young adult and new adult genres) writers has merged with the SCBWI boards.
- Writers Associations: “Here’s a great list of writers associations and organizations for writers! Many local writers organizations have affiliations with national groups, but some writing groups stand alone within their communities.”
- Writing.com: “We provide an extremely creative environment for authors, offering writers forums, hundreds of unique writing tools and opportunities for creation and inspiration.”
Every time I go to a writers conference, even a small one, I come home energized and excited to write! There are tons of them out there, all shapes, sizes, and genres. Here are a few to get you started.
- Book Expo of America (BEA): “The leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, network, and learn the latest trends during the BEA Content & Digital Conference.”
- Digital Book World: Strategies for the digital transition of publishing.
- SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators): If you write books from board books through the new genre of “new adult”, this is the professional organization for you. There are tons of local groups throughout the world, and many (most?) have local events for members. (This links is a bit slow to load because it goes to a very full calendar, not static content.)
That is just a small sampling to get you started. There are many more out there. Go forth and be social – even if it is from the comfort of your own sofa!