Once upon a time, a dream was birthed within her. From the love of stories came the love of creating them, and thus the aspiration to become as eloquent as those well-admired grew to a burning flame. Nothing could stand in the way of passion and determination. Who could stop the flow of creativity, the desire to express the deepest of pains and the highest of joys? Nay, nothing could deter such motivation.
That is, until the pain of submitting short stories for almost a year comes with no luck. Or when you need a couple thousand dollars for an editing job, but you find it hard to raise that money (and realize your best shot is just saving a little at a time… ever so slowly and painfully). When you break the screen of your phone one week, and the next you almost lose your iPad as it slides off the roof of your car into the road.
These are just a few of the physical situations that one (ahem… myself) faces in life. Underneath them are struggles that delve all the more deeper. Hopelessness, desperation, impatience. Can’t something big happen that will tell me I’m on the right track!
I, like you and many—if not all—writers, face the desire to give up. I loath writing sometimes. It’s true. The thing is, I only loath it when I’m tired, I’ve had a long day, and I just don’t feel like anything is coming of it.
No one is paying me for my stories, I’ve been rejected by magazines numerous times thus far, my book still hasn’t made it to the stage where I’m happy to send it to agents, and it’s gotten harder to use my free time to think of other things to create in the meantime. Heck, I don’t even know if anyone reads my blog!
“We can’t all start off making money right away,” they tell me. “Every author has been rejected! You’ll get there. It takes patience and time.”
Time. Lord knows I loath that word sometimes. If it were a matter of seconds on the clock, it’d be easier. Time for a writer, however… that’s precious days of life spent wondering if it will all flourish, or if it will wither as a flower unseen.
Yet, here I am, still writing. I have a backlog of short stories I’m still sending to magazines, more I’m working on for the blog, and countless other ideas I still dream of. Why? What keeps me going?
The dream. It’s my passion, my career, my baby, if you will. Parenting isn’t all sunshine and roses, and neither is this. I’ve lost sleep, shed tears, toiled and trudged through difficulty. Yet, something still draws me to write.
I write because I have to, as they say.
It’s not about having it easy in this life, and I’m sure you’ve come to realize that by now if you’re here reading this. Successful careers aren’t ever easy. This is far from a get-rich-quick scam. Far, far away from it.
How can one stay motivated, then? What reasons are there to not give up and to keep the spark alive? If you’re looking for some inspiration, then have I the list for you! It’s my own personal list of inspiration, and I hope you find it helpful.
Inspiration and Motivation
Writing prompts. As you know, prompts are sentences, dialogue, or short descriptions meant to spark an idea for a story. Some will sound utterly ridiculous, while others will strike your fancy. Sometimes, I’ll even use images as a prompt. A mysterious scene or whimsical landscape can send the mind into a spiral of ideas, much more so than a text prompt can at times. You can find prompts all over these days. Here’s a list of a few places to try.
1. Books. There are multiple books out there, such as 642 Things to Write About. Some of the prompts are silly, but others are deep and cause you to think about life, emotion, and nature.
2. Pinterest. Oh, the wonders of Pinterest. I love some of the crazy, out of this world prompts on there. There’s some creative people out there! If you look up writing prompts, you’ll be given multiple Pinterest categories on the top bar underneath the search with genres, style, and many other great suggestions! You’ll never run out of writing material here.
3. The internet itself. A simple google search will turn up quite the collection of prompts. It’s endless! The ideas, the creativity and imagination… They are the suppliers, and we are the builders.
Nature. It is inspiring; any season, any weather. When the sun shines and you feel its glow against your eyes, the dimness of the rolling clouds as they cast a shadow in your mind. There is plenty to find in nature, whether it’s the weather or wildlife. Here’s a few things I do with nature.
1. Go for a walk. Not a run, but a walk. Sure running can invigorate you (or make you utterly drained) but walking makes you take time to look around and think. You reflect on your surroundings, life, emotion. Take a bit of time to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
2. Write what it makes you feel. What does the forest you drive through do to you? Or the tint of the sky as the sun disappears. Don’t just tell it, feel it. Describe every sensation, every bit of the kiss of warmth or the bite of the cold.
3. Go on an adventure. Hike, ride a bike, camp, explore. Going out and having fun can be inspiring. Remember to pay attention. Listen to the laughter of your friends, the spirit of companionship, and cherish each moment.
Among the things above, there’s a few more you can do to keep you inspired. I’d list everything that’s inspiring to me, but then I’d have a book… hmm.
Write everything. Don’t just think you have to write books and stories. Write it all! Your thoughts, your feelings, describe the interesting person you saw or the unusual conversation you overheard.
Take a notebook with you. Chances are, if you keep a notebook with you, it’ll be a hint to your imagination. It’s also nice to have in case you do have a moment of deep emotion or thought strike you and you need to make note before it slips away. It always works best to write in the moment.
Read blogs. I mentioned Pinterest above for prompts, but it’s also goof for inspirational quotes and to find resources. I have an entire board full of stories I love and want to try, beautiful book pictures, and blog posts that have helped me out way more than I thought I could find. Don’t be afraid to read blog posts! It’s truly inspirational to read these, and it definitely gets your thoughts spinning. What better way to expand than to learn?
Read other stories. It’s been said to be a good writer you must be a great reader. It certainly doesn’t come from nothing. Reading a good story is one of the most inspirational things. When I read, I delve into someone else’s world, in in exploring it, I find I’ve learned more to building my own. I’ll add on to this as well this one bit: movies can be the same way! Though you’re not taking in another author’s style and ways of crafting, the visuals of a movie can stir so much imagination. Same goes for music… Ah, now that is a topic entirely of it’s own.
Enjoy the little things. Yeah, everything above is what I go through. The beginning of the post is some of my real thoughts, real struggles, and real experiences. I’ve literally sat there praying for something big to happen so I can at least know I’m on the right track. It’s hard, and after so much time (as if I’m running out of it!) it gets easy to lose hope.
Good thing I’m tenacious.
In the midst of chasing after the BIG things, don’t forget the little. Each moment carries something dear. Take a picture that makes you feel warm and happy (such as the one I included at the beginning). Admire your creativity, and even share it with someone you trust. One person’s enjoyment can carry you a long way. Trust me.
Above all else, remind yourself why you chose this. Why do you dream of being a writer? What drives you to do it? Don’t just think about it, but write it. Write why you need to write, and don’t ever forget it.
How about you? What are some things that inspire you to keep going? Leave them in the comments and help inspire the rest of us as well!