Amanda started this round of the blog chain with a FANTASTIC question:
What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you’re not making any progress in your writing career?
Um, yeah, so I’ve asked myself this very question like a MILLION BAZILLION TRIPTILLION times. (Yes, triptillion IS a real number in my world.) Cuz I’m like at the OMG, I’ll never get this manuscript in shape stage.
Like so many others, I queried wwaaaayyyyyy too early. I suppose sometimes it’s the only way to learn–through gettin’ your hands dirty and learnin’ from your mistakes, I mean. Anyway, I’ve finally figured out how to not trip the trigger switch (by that I mean hit “send” on any e-query letter) too early and have allowed myself the pleasure of slowing down, taking my time, and REALLY learning how to write. It by no means guarantees that I’ll ever get pubbed, but it certainly gives me better odds.
So how does slowing down keep motivation high? Lemme s’plain.
When I first started, I was so, um, ridiculously gung ho about slamming out a manuscript and tossing it in the query pool that I charged ahead, full steam (forgive the pun, but really, every spare waking moment was devoted to writing). The sheer momentum of it kept me going. It was quite literally out of my control.
Then I got the R’s. (Big surprise, right? I knew they were coming, but, really? OUCH!) They totally sapped my confidence. I saw others get request after request, multiple offers of representation, contracts, book deals. Whoa! What about me? Did I really suck that bad?
Uh, yeah, I did.
Who the hell would keep going after that? *raises hand*
You know what helped?
I got totally pissed off. I’m serious. I was furious. With myself. I was frustrated that I hadn’t figured “it” out. I was missing something, but I had no idea what it was. The fury revved me up again. But I made it work for me. I enlisted the help of beta readers, QT forum members, “mentors” (people in the biz further along than me), and I KEPT WRITING. I forced myself to listen to the feedback with an open, non-defensive mind (the not getting defensive part is KEY, let me tell you, but I suppose that’s another post altogether, LOL!). No matter how many times I had to “start over,” I saw my technique get more and more refined. I watched my “voice” develop. I learned about “tension” and balancing description with pace.
You wanna talk about motivation? Well, there it is.
Look, I know I’ve got a LONG way to go, but I CAN’T give up now. Cuz I can literally feel myself getting closer. I’m not nearly ready to query again yet, but that doesn’t matter. I’m confident I’ll keep going. I’ll make it. Damn it!