3 Kick In the Pants Tips for Tired Workaday Writers

writing, indie writer, writing after working hard

This has been a rough week.

Of course, as a high school English teacher who teaches two Advanced Placement courses and also manages the after school alternative education program…and also the supplemental online schooling program…most weeks are tough.

They are ten times that when I want to write something and get home and there are a myriad of other things to do: listen to my 8 year old read because her scores are low, help my son with his mountain of math homework, etc. etc.  Then there are the essays I have to grade (pictured above).

Cassidy Frazee wrote that her biggest hurdle as a writer is “finding the motivation at the end of the day to continue my current work in progress.”  Well, Cassidy, I think that most writers who are indies like us have this problem.

What to do?

Should we just give up and quit writing?  I say no.  Someone would have to cut off my hands to keep me from writing and then I would probably figure out how to manage anyway.  The trick to this is boiled down to three basic questions:

  1. How Bad Do You Want It? – Harlan Ellison said “it’s easy to become a writer.  It’s even harder to stay a writer.”  This is absolute truth.  What is it that drives you anyway?  If you haven’t written anything in over six months because you just can’t bring yourself to write or motivate yourself to write, then you probably aren’t a writer.  Writers write.  It’s just that simple.  Even if it’s paragraphs at a time or sentences at a time, you should be writing something.
  2. What Do You Dream About? – Do you have a dream of being a best seller?  I don’t, but maybe you do.  Do you have a dream of finishing that one novel just to say that you did it?  Maybe you just want to see if you can write a final chapter to a book and then write the rest of the novel around it.  When I think about my dreams, that is what motivates me to get busy on the WIP.  Think about your biggest dream as a writer.  That dream is not going be a reality without a massive amount of hard work from you and only you.
  3. What Mark Do You Want To Leave On the World? – When you are dead and gone, do you want people to remember that you were the hardest worker in cubicle C on the third floor, or do you want them to remember that awesome poem you wrote or that short story that gave them chills?  Edmund Spencer wrote a poem on the subject, and in it he states that he wrote his love’s name on the beach and the water washed it away, but he wrote about it in this poem and we are still reading it.  Words leave marks upon the world more than any other thing that man can do.  What will be your mark upon the world?

I think that if we can ask ourselves these hard questions we can motivate ourselves to write no matter the day we have had.  I often write to vent about the day if it was a bad one.  I also reward myself if I stick to my guns and churn out some words.

What keeps you going?  Comment below.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

4 thoughts on “3 Kick In the Pants Tips for Tired Workaday Writers

  1. I work long hours too like most people. But I was finding the frustration of that job was spilling into my non-work life. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking you have to do something you don’t enjoy (most of the time) just to get by. You can aspire for better things – and through hard work, the right sacrifices and commitment, you can achieve them. My wife has proved that to them time and time again, and I suppose I was a bit jealous 🙂 I wanted to be a different kind of role model. Going to take a few years, but that thought is what pick me back up when I inevitably flag.

    One quick point – I too struggled with motivation at the end of the day. My solution was to flip it. I get up at 5am and write for 90 minutes before going to work. I’ve had to balance that out by working in the evenings occasionally once the kids are in bed and my wife is asleep, but I have felt so much more fulfilled because I’ve scratched that writing itch, even if its not as much as I would like. I am a morning person though…

  2. Writing from the viewpoint of a 17 year old who has never been married, never gone to war, never grown old and wise… part of me always feels like I need to live a little before I can really knuckle down and write seriously. Of course, the other part keeps reminding me that life experience does not equate to great writing skill any more than writing skill can fully make up for a lack of life experience.

    So yeah, still working my way through this issue. Keep up the good work on the blog/etc! The subscription button on this blog continues to provide me with a much needed periodic, metaphorical kicks in the pants. 😉

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