Everybody needs it. When you’re a writer, it can be the difference between writing and not writing. I’m talking about momentum, that thing that keeps you going.
“If I only could, I’d be running up that hill.” ~ Kate Bush
Momentum can be achieved any number of ways. For me, a book sale goes a long way. It’s a form of validation that really helps to keep me putting words on the page. But there are a lot of other things that can happen in my writing life that motivate me to keep runnin’ up that hill. A good review, a newsletter from a writing organization of some kind, booking a writing retreat or conference, communicating with other writers in forums or in person. All these things serve to get me pumped and ready to keep writing.
Once you sit down to add words to your manuscript-or poem-or journal-or article-or grocery list, you’re well and truly in a vacuum. It’s just you…and maybe your characters. This can be daunting. I find it helpful to get out into the larger writing community prior to sitting down. It fortifies me. When I talk about my writing, it feels more alive. It makes me want to jump back into it.
Don’t forget to interact, set goals, treat yourself to writing related outings, etc. And one of the great motivators is the simple act of SUBMITTING YOUR WORK. Do this often. You’re not risking anything if you’re not submitting. To submit is to motivate yourself. And remember, a rejection isn’t totally negative. It’s proof that you are doing something about your writing. You should wear rejections as badges of courage. You put yourself out there. That’s reason enough to celebrate.
There are great opportunities in the writing life to BE THE WALLFLOWER. I would even go so far as to say it’s often NECESSARY for a writer to be a wallflower. Especially during the cultivating stage of your work…when you’re collecting grist for your writing mill. BUT…you can’t always stand back against that wall and be the bystander in your life. It doesn’t get you anywhere. Sometimes you need to take life by the throat. Before you sit down into that vacuum of DOING WRITING, collect yourself some reasons to write. Get excited about writing.
Let review. Ways in which to jump-start your writing and gain the momentum needed to carry on carrying on:
- ATTEND CONFERENCES & WORKSHOPS
- REGISTER TO ONLINE WRITING FORUMS & BE AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF SAID FORUM
- ATTEND SOCIAL GATHERINGS FOR WRITERS IN MEAT-SPACE
- SIGN UP FOR WRITING ORGANIZATION/WRITING SITE NEWSLETTERS. READ THEM WHEN THEY ARRIVE IN YOUR INBOX
- CREATE A SAME-TIME-EVERY-DAY SCHEDULED WRITING TIME AND STICK TO IT. WRITE OUTSIDE THIS TIME ALL YOU WANT, BUT CREATE THIS DEDICATED WRITING TIME
- CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES, ATTAINED GOALS, ACHIEVEMENTS, ETC
- ENTER WRITING CONTESTS
- JOIN A LOCAL WRITING CIRCLE/ORGANIZATION
- FIND A BETA READER PARTNER AND SHARE YOUR WORK WITH EACH OTHER (THINK OF THIS AS SIMILAR TO AN AA SPONSOR—CARRY EACH OTHER WHEN NEEDED)
There are all sorts of things you can do once you’re outside that vacuum. Things that will enrich your writing life and cause you believe in yourself more fully. Do them. Anyone can write. The trick is to keep the momentum going. Be excited every day. You don’t have to be sitting and writing to be cultivating your writing life. Think outside the box. Fuel the passion…