Tag Archives: inspiration

Pep Talk Week 2: When You Want to Quit by Hugh Howey

I am a quitter. There, I said it. I tried to teach myself how to play the guitar, and I quit. I did the same with the piano, and I quit. For twenty years, I set out to write a book, my lifelong dream, and I quit every single time. It was so much easier to go find a distraction than to push through the callous-building phase and get good at something. Abandoning my dreams was far simpler than realizing them.

The reason I was so good at quitting was because I never knew what the reward for success felt like. I had never finished a novel, so how could I convince myself that the goal was worth the work required? I couldn’t. No one can know. So let me attempt for a moment to convince you. Because I don’t want you to quit writing until you’ve reached the end of your story.

Forget about what comes after: the revisions and the edits and the challenge of finding readers. Right now, at this very moment, a unique story exists in your head – a book lives and breathes only in your imagination – and whether or not it survives is completely up to you. If you push through that next scene, meet your word count goals, and make sacrifices, a new work will exist for all of time. And it won’t matter if anyone reads it. All that matters is that you accomplished your goal.

When I finished my first novel, I experienced a high like no other. It was like reaching the top of a mountain and finding oneself exhausted, exhilarated, and with the satisfaction of knowing that there wasn’t another step to take. I had done it. As an avid reader, I had always wanted to write a novel, and now I had. I went to dinner that night with my wife, my mother, and my sister. We celebrated. My novel sat on the dinner table in a thumb drive, and nothing else mattered. I had written a book.

Every story I complete fills me with the same sense of satisfaction. As a lifelong quitter, I am now addicted to the feeling of completing my goals. And my goals remain simple: Write every day. Write because I love it. Make my works available to whoever might care to read them.

Many of you have completed previous NaNos and know what I’m talking about. Maybe you feel the same urge I do to tell complete strangers that I just finished a novel. I want to shout it to the heavens when I wrap up a story. It’s that euphoria that we chase as we start our next work. But for any of you who have given up or haven’t had this buzz – take it from someone who regrets the years I wasted. It is completely worth the sacrifice and the heartache that writing a novel requires. It’s one of the most satisfying feelings you’ll ever enjoy. To believe me, you’ll need to feel it for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Stop what you’re doing and go write. And keep writing until you get to the end.

~

Hugh Howey (2) 1200Hugh Howey is the New York Times bestselling author of WOOL and SHIFT. He worked for a decade as a yacht captain before falling in love with a girl and following her into the mountains of North Carolina. There, he pursued a lifelong dream of writing a novel. He’s been writing ever since.

Find him at www.hughhowey.com.

 

 

 

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Pinterest for Writers

 

Art by Norvz Austria

Pinterest.

It’s the latest craze on the internet. It can be extremely addictive. Being a visually-oriented person (maybe more than most), I was immediately drawn to join the masses and start creating my own pin boards. Fortunately, unlike many people, I’ve been able to [mostly] keep a rein on myself and pretty strictly regulate my time spent on the site. But it wasn’t until lately that I realized just how valuable a tool Pinterest could be for a writer.
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Can Distraction Work For You?

As writers we’re always told to make time for writing and to avoid distractions, important advice especially when writing under a deadline–and for JuNoWriMo 50,000 words in 30 days is one huge looming deadline. But, taking the time to find inspiration is equally important.

Everyone finds inspiration differently.

I think we can agree that most original ideas aren’t developed by locking ourselves in an office, sitting at our computers looking at a blinking cursor. We develop ideas by getting out of our own heads, getting away from the computer and living our lives. Some of us feel we get enough of the outside world with jobs, family obligations, shopping, and the activities of our day to day routines–they certainly do enough to cut into writing time.

live to writeBut does the thought of watching that movie you’ve been dying to see, or just sprawling out on the couch with your favorite drink for mindless TV antics make you cringe in guilt? Your conscience screams, “No distractions when there’s a book to write!” But. . .

Is watching an old Hitchcock movie a distraction from what you’re supposed to be writing, or does it have inspirational merit? For me Hitchcock movies and his TV series have a great way of making me think about things differently. What if I throw in a little taste of the feeling that Hitchcock inspires into my next story? What if, after getting lost in that half hour of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, I suddenly have a new insight into my own character’s motivation? Then, the distraction was well worth the time.

There’s a connection between distraction and inspiration.

The best writing tool you have is your brain, and it has its own stubborn and cockamamie way of doing things. How often do you have brilliant ideas while doing mindless tasks–taking a shower or doing the dishes? Or during family time–playing with the kids or watching a movie? Even in the moments that seem like a distraction, our minds continue working in the background, putting the pieces of our fictional worlds together. We may not realize that the process is going on or have any control over it, but that’s when the brilliant ideas develop.

Maybe we shouldn’t think so critically about distractions–we all need a moment to unwind. The important thing is balance. Successful writers need the determination and discipline to know when it’s best to have your butt in the chair writing, and the instinct to know when it’s time to take a break. As you’re trying to rack up those word counts next month, remember to give yourself a moment every now and then to indulge in a distraction without feeling guilty, your mind, body (and story!) will thank you for it.

~

Fel WetzigFel Wetzig is a paranormal writer, book blogger, and lover of folklore. After completing an MA in History, she’d had enough of the real world and armed with a fountain pen, she started writing fiction and building a blog, with the Peasants who live in her head. When not wrapped up in fantasy worlds, she’s usually at the day job designing publications, or relaxing with her husband and two erratic ferrets. You can find her at The Peasants Revolt.

 

 

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@WriMo is a Must Read for #NaNoWriMo – Win a Copy Here!

Hey WriMos! I’m excited to share a great new book with you. If you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, you won’t want to miss this one. In fact, I’m going to give away a copy at the end of this post, so keep reading!

My Review

Are you new to writing, as in never finished (or maybe started!) a novel? @WriMo is for you.

Are you a National Novel Writing Month (or JuNoWriMo) virgin? @WriMo is for you.

Did you attempt NaNoWriMo and not quite make it to the end? @WriMo is for you.

Are you a several-time NaNoWriMo champion who’s on the [long, grueling] road to publishing? @WriMo is for you.

@WriMo: A 30-day Survival Guide for Writers isn’t a writing handbook—it’s a motivational tool. It’s like a concentrated dose of writing-pep-me-up in a shot glass: the antivirus for that pesky Resistance strain. The book is crafted into 30 bite-sized chunks (one for each day of the month) that are easy to swallow in a short time frame. It’s perfect for a five or ten minute get-into-the-groove before you start your daily writing.

Kaiser covers such topics as: “Inspiration is Overrated,” “When the Muses Head to Vegas,” “5 Things to Stop Doing Right Now (if you want to finish your novel),” and “What Bestsellers Do Differently Than Everyone Else.”

Sometimes when I’m stuck I need to be gently encouraged about my talent and potential. Other times I need someone to pull the La-Z-Boy out from under me, knocking me off of my all-too-comfortable butt and drag me back to the writing desk. Kaiser hits both ends of the spectrum with this one. From quoting Yoda (“Do or do not. There is no try.”) to the drill-sergeant-esque “You want to write, don’t you? Then write!” (exclamation point added for emphasis), @WriMo packs the punch.

This book is geared toward NaNoWriMo participants, but is also great for anyone who fights writer’s block, has a difficult time getting motivated, or needs some extra encouragement in his or her daily writing routine—regardless of what month it is. When I picked up this book, I’d been procrastinating on a few projects. After reading just a few sections, I was ready to get back in the ring and have a throw down with my story. Reading @WriMo made me feel strengthened, revitalized, and determined not to give in to Resistance.

If you’re going to do NaNoWriMo, I suggest you get this book now, read it once before you begin, and then read the content for each day as you move through November. It contains a lot of great nuggets you might want to consider before starting, but it will also be a welcome refresher during the experience. Either way, there’s never a wrong time to read @WriMo.

Interview with the Author

Check out this interview with Kevin Kaiser to find out more about the book and his life as a writer. Then make sure and enter the giveaway below!

BC: @WriMo: A 30-day Survival Guide for Writers is geared toward those who participate in National Novel Writing Month. Have you participated in the challenge, and do you have one (or more) NaNoWriMo winner’s badges to your name?

KK: My only NaNoWriMo was in 2005 after a friend had told me about it. At the time, I was puttering around with writing a novel. Like a lot of people, I had an idea, but that’s about all I had.  I didn’t sign up officially through their website, but I loved the idea of all these people working on books at the same time. Even if I didn’t know any of them, I at least wasn’t alone. So I started getting up at 5:00 a.m. and wrote before work, then wrote at night after I had spent some time with my wife. I hit 60,000 words that year, every single one of them terrible, but that sent me on a new path. I was hooked.

BC: You’ve giving all the proceeds of this book to the folks at NaNoWriMo. What drove that decision?

KK: If I hadn’t written that novel in 2005, my life would look very different today. Back then I was in the investment world. NaNoWriMo was a truly defining event in my life that made me realize what I wanted to do with my life. Now I make my living in entertainment, mostly in publishing, and I have NaNoWriMo partly to thank for that. Doing @WriMo was the simplest way I knew to pay it forward and say thanks.

BC: @WriMo is jam-packed with wise advice about how to beat Resistance. How did you find these truths? Were they mostly taught, borrowed, or personally discovered?

KK: All of the above. They all started out as bits of advice and wisdom that I’d heard or read somewhere. Truth is, knowing about something isn’t nearly the same thing as knowing it firsthand. At some point you have to begin discovering and experiencing these things for yourself, otherwise it’s all just hearsay. There’s nothing transformative about hearsay. But experience, well that’s altogether different. Everything I write about now comes from my personal discovery process. I want to know for myself how to beat Resistance and that can only come one way: by doing.

BC: You have a great quote in the book. “Distractions slay more novels than anything else.” As a writer, what distractions do you face and how do you deal with them?

KK: The same ones everyone else does, though I think my greatest distraction is fear. Many writers may not consider fear a distraction, but it’s what derails us more often than not–fear about whether we’re good enough, fear about discovering that we’re really a fraud and can’t write after all. For me, moving past fear when it creeps in is essential. There’s nothing more paralyzing to the creative process. Not even Facebook or Twitter. : )

BC: Your writing blog StorySellerPRO provides the same type of encouragement and motivation that @WriMo does. One of the things I like best is your brutal honesty about what it takes to be a writer. You don’t kowtow to the excuse of writer’s block. In that way, your posts are often like my own personal writing drill sergeant. Who or what pushes you to write?

KK: I’m in a stage at the moment where I’m writing at least partially for a paycheck. Writer’s block is a luxury, if you want to call it that, I can’t afford because I have deadlines. But even that isn’t enough, which is why having people in your life that you can trust is important. I have a few friends, other writers mostly, who have no qualms with calling me out if I’m making excuses. My wife is my own personal drill sergeant and keeps me on track. Being the spouse or significant other of a writer is tough. They’re the unsung heroes, really, and the real reason why so many successful writers never gave up.

BC: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

KK: I’m not really sure, honestly. I remember drawing my own comic books when I was kid and writing short stories. It didn’t cross my mind that I might actually be a writer until a few years ago when my wife corrected me during a conversation. She’d said, “Stop saying that writing is your hobby. It’s not. You are a writer. Accept it because it’s true.” It seems like a little thing, but that was the spark that made all the difference. Still does.

BC: Have you written any fiction? If so, what genre and what was the story about?

KK: I have. Quite a bit, actually. I have many many short stories, which I’ll eventually share with the world. I’ve also done several novel to graphic novel adaptations, a handful of screenplays, and three full length novels, one of which is published under a pen name. I gravitate toward thrillers, but thrillers that bend toward the supernatural. I think I have my taste in comics to movies to thank for that.

BC: You’ve worked with a variety of talented authors, including New York Times Bestseller Ted Dekker. What’s it like hanging around so many creative minds?

KK: When we actually get the chance to hang out it’s fun and truly encouraging. I’ve learned that everyone is essentially the same no matter what level of success they’ve achieved. We’re all just people trying to do something meaningful in life that we can enjoy. There’s a unique thing that happens, too, when like-minded people come together. New ideas happen that wouldn’t otherwise come to life, and sometimes sets one or all of us on a new path.

BC: What other projects are in the works? Do you have plans to publish again anytime soon?

KK: I just finished the first novel in a series that I was asked to co-write with a successful author. I can’t say who just yet, only that it’s the biggest project I’ve worked on to date. It will release sometime in early January 2013. I also will be finishing the second pen name novel in the next few months, and it will be published probably at the first of the year.

BC: If you could sum it all up in one thing, what would be the single, most important piece of advice for those hoping to win NaNoWriMo this year?

KK: Write because books don’t write themselves. Everyone does it the same way: one word at a time.

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So Many Choices, So Little Time (Week 3 Pep Talk by Erin Healy)

Erin Healy

Today we have a special guest on the blog! I hope you enjoy this pep talk from best-selling author Erin Healy as much as I did. Be inspired and be encouraged!

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When I’m writing a book, the most common obstacle I face isn’t writer’s block. It’s the fear that of all the creative choices set before me, I might select the one that’s least effective. Continue reading