Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Will Write for ___________?

If your family is anything like mine, springtime brings a torrent of busy activity into our lives. Spring gardening, school concerts and new sports, trips, shopping, cleaning, pets with muddy paws, work and more cleaning. Excuses to not write multiply faster than Easter bunnies. A novel has been “nearly finished” on my writing desk for months but never gets “done.” New ideas simmer but never quite get hot.

The well is dry. An abandoned muse scrapes the bottom of your imagination and comes up empty-handed, draped in cobwebs. Unrecognizable. If you come across this forlorn muse among the back alleys of your brain you may simply walk on by, unseeing what is right in front of you.

Do you beg that long-lost muse to come back? As I reflect on this persistent problem, I realize I don’t need lightning to strike with brilliant inspiration. What I need is motivation to sit and do what I have to do. The ideas are there, if a little dusty. Invite the muse back in by acting like Nike and JUST DO IT.

What motivates you to write?  
A designer bag? Peeps? Taking a day off with a movie marathon? 
A cookbook writer's guide titled Will Write for FOOD by Dianne Jacob makes me wonder what motivates other writers to do what they do. Most of us obviously don't write for the money. One author of chick lit fiction, Cathy Yardley shares in her humorous book Will Write for Shoes that she shops for a great pair whenever she finishes a manuscript. FINISHES. NOT SELLS. Finishing is a big deal. Do you promise yourself a reward for reaching a writing goal? Share what motivates you to write in comments!

Writers are not the most materialistic people out there (other than never owning enough books, maybe). Do you envision the look on your grandchildren’s faces when they hold a book written by their Grammy?

Tape a picture of your "prize" to your writing desk, and go for it!

What keeps you AWAY from writing? Analyze your schedule to see what chunks of time you might be wasting without realizing it.

           Set aside the cell phone. Put it on silent mode. Better yet, put it where you can’t hear it vibrate with every email that whispers it must be an editor or agent dying to get in touch with you.  

If you have particularly gabby friends and relatives that keep you from writing, make an appointment with yourself at the library or coffee shop. Go by yourself.

Take a notepad and paper to write without that pesky internet tempting you away from writing. The fresh air and fresh perspective might do the trick. You might even hire a teen to type up notes for you into the computer. Teens get tired of babysitting and might love a new way to make some cash.

Go ahead, buy yourself a bouquet of spring flowers--AFTER you write that new chapter. And please share what motivates you. My muse and I could use some fresh ideas.


  1. Great post, Suzy. My family has the same Spring flurry of activity. Sometimes, when I need to write and the chores, dogs, phone, laundry and everything else calls, I wait for a small lull, then grab an hour or two at the library.

    I also love your idea about picturing a prize and taping it to my writing desk. Mine will involve palm trees. Great ideas on being nice to your creative self and keeping the pen moving.

  2. I struggle with this, too. When I have many things that all need attention, I'll break tasks up into one hour increments. Writing gets a slot, too. Somehow this helps me work it all in.

    I love the idea of picturing a prize, too. I'm afraid my prize might be more books, though! :)

  3. Love your idea, Suzy of taping the prize above your work space. I use sheer discipline, but actually a day without some writing doesn't feel right. Right now, I'm working on edits. Not as much fun as 1st draft writing to me, but much needed. We just came back from a camping trip with our RV. I wrote 1 short story while gone & did some on my edits.

  4. pretty nice blog, following :)

  5. Love the post, Suzy! You always have such a great mix of humor and practical advice. I've been falling prey to all the temptations you described, and waiting until I had the big block of time available before starting to work on my novel again. Thanks for motivating me to once again get some fresh air and fresh perspective on how I go about writing!