During a recent writer’s workshop, the presenter asked everyone to make a mental note of the writers who packed the room. Then he dropped an opening statement, one that I certainly wouldn’t forget, “In two years, only a third of you will still be writing.”
Given the amount of writers seated around me, I couldn’t imagine the truth to that statement. He had my full attention at that point, and I had to know why.
So the main reason for the drop off – writing is hard. After two years, most people give up.
At first I wondered why he would start the session off with that line. Did he hope to motivate us or squash our writing dreams? In my case, it motivated me to prove him wrong. That same message has remained with me long after the workshop.
Before I started this journey, I thought the hardest part would be writing the story. But now that I’m stuck in the revision process of two novels, I can see why writers pack away their work, never to see the final outcome.
It is hard for me to stay motivated these days. Especially when my writing time is spent reviewing every line of every chapter and polishing one scene at a time. I can spend hours obsessing over one paragraph or one word. Then after I revise a chapter, I post it to an online critique group and/or a local writing group and await their feedback. Once the problem areas are addressed from these critiques, I move forward to another round of revisions. It is a lengthy process, and some days it feels like being in a revolving door that never stops.
After I attended that workshop – I made a vow not to become a person who gave up on their dream to write and eventually publish. I’m stubborn. Once I set my mind to do something, I follow through.
So how do I keep my forward momentum without getting discouraged these days?
Set a goal. This July, I plan to pitch my novel to an agent at a national writer’s conference. In the weeks to come, I will work hard to polish my story and develop a great query letter.
Utilize online resources. I recently found a great article on Now Novel that focuses on keeping motivated after the first draft. The best suggestions were breaking down the revision process into small manageable bites and rewarding yourself for making progress.
Reach out to other writers. Social media has been a great way for me to gain support from other writers. I’ve learned that even the best writers struggle and knowing this keeps me motivated to write.
If you have a strategy that works to keep you motivated during the writing process, I’d love to hear from you.