Know Thine Own Self

I have found that blogging is like public speaking…you know what you want to say until you actually do it. There are so many good posts on our assigned subject of POV that I am choosing another subject.

Being President of WARA has given me the urge to talk to strangers about writing. I hand out business cards everywhere, telling people, “If you or anyone you know wants to write, check out this group.” I am amazed at how many people have thought of writing a book! Several of the people that I talk to indicate that they would like to write a book. Some have said that they would like to attend a WARA meeting. Most find it difficult to make themselves walk through the door the first time, but everyone that does loves our group. Which brings me to the topic of this blog…

Where’s the motivation? Joining a group like WARA does help provide motivation... initially, just because we’ve taken the step to join a writing group, and later, because so much great information is provided to help us with our writing. A publishing deadline is probably the greatest motivator. I used to write for a newspaper and was on deadline all the time. I wrote because I had to…if I wanted to get paid and keep my job. Those in our group that are under contract know that they will finish a book by a certain date…because they have to. It is one of the greatest motivators.

We try to emulate this in our group by creating self-imposed deadlines and sacrificing a dollar to motivate ourselves. It’s a good ploy, but not nearly as powerful as a deadline imposed by an outside entity like a publisher or employer. It is imperative that we learn to motivate ourselves to write…since we are big girls and no one else is going to do it until we are under contract.

It is easy to get derailed in the beginning of ‘authorhood.’ We can get derailed by the technicalities of writing, GMC, POV, etc. These things are overwhelming to someone who hasn’t encountered them before. We can get derailed by comments that someone makes about our writing, contest results, or reading about how to write. To be self motivated, we have to find a way to keep writing in spite of all the things that would derail us.

Thus, an author needs some level of self-awareness. We have to know enough about ourselves to know what makes us write and what makes us not write. Then we have to have the courage to pursue the former and avoid the latter. What motivates me will not motivate another, and what motivates you may not motivate me. Finding what makes us write is so individualized that no one else can do it for us. People may suggest something that helps, but only we can determine what genuinely works for us.

In addition, we deceive ourselves. We create the perfect writing environment, get all the latest tools, gadgets, and software. We attend writing groups, blog, read about writing and do everything to attain the goal of authorship except write. In general, we buzz around the fringes of writing. More self awareness needed. The bottom line every day should be, “How much did I write today?” Adding words on a regular basis is the only way the story will ever get written.

So, know thine own self, author. We need to take a fresh look at ourselves and be brutally honest about what actually gets us to increase the word count of our story regularly. Then we must have the courage to eliminate the things that derail us, and embrace the things that actually make us write.

May your story grow daily,


Penny Rader said...

Hi Elaine! Great post. I especially like May your story grow daily. Wouldn't it be nice if we could sprinkle a little water on the page and come back later to find it full of words? :D

How intriguing that you wrote for a newspaper. One of my first writing friends used to write for a paper, too. She told me it took some adjustment to move from that kind of writing (spare; just the facts; etc.) to writing romance. Has it been a struggle for you?

Elaine Morrison said...

Thanks Penny. I wrote human interest stories. Since they were more than 'just the facts,' I think the transition is easier. I also wrote some articles for a trade publication. They were full of more technical information and not nearly as fun as fiction!

Starla Kaye said...

It sounds like you're doing an amazing job of promoting WARA. This is such a good group of writers of all levels. I, too, mention WARA whenever talking about writing to someone new.

Yes, a writer has to "know thine own self" in many ways: what kind of writing appeals to you, how dedicated to the work can you really be, is it more of a passing interest or hobby (which is still okay) or is it something you see as your work.

Writing is my full-time job now, but I still have a part-time job that grows during tax season. This is something I have decided is my passion and I love it...all of it from the struggles of coming up with a storyline to frustrations along the way, and finally to pulling it all together and submitting it to one of my editors.

BUT I have other passions, too. My family and travelling. I work hard at weaving in time for my writing job into everything else. Life is a constant juggling thing.