Blogger: Mary Keeley
The view out my office window yesterday morning was spectacular. Just the right amount of pure white snow had fallen. But what took my breath away were the trees. They had been clothed in crystal white ice overnight. The scene was a visual concert for my senses that made me feel alive with energy and vitality. Thinking of authors, it prompted me that you need to surround yourself with motivation.
Of course working environment is only one factor, and perhaps a minor one compared to other examples I’ll offer, but don’t overlook the sometimes-subtle effect it may have on your writing productivity. Some authors work best with bright overhead lighting. Others are most motivated when sunshine is pouring into their work area. Some writers need total quiet to be motivated to write. Others need white noise like classical music playing softly in the background in order to activate their creative thought.
Sometimes an honest critique is the great motivator. A client recently shared comments from two of her beta readers. She valued their feedback because they are avid, intelligent readers. Both were enthusiastic in their praise but also offered constructive criticism. My client was motivated by both kinds of comments. The positive remarks told her she is on the right track; the negative remarks were welcome and appreciated because they pointed to where she needs to grow and improve. Authors, like all creative people, can bruise easily from negative feedback and rejections. But if you discipline yourself to use them as motivation to grow, you’ll gain victory there. This is the reason I always ask editors to explain why they reject a proposal. Most editors are willing to take the time to respond because they, too, know it can benefit authors who are motivated to continue improving. Highly functioning critique groups, that is, those whose members affirm wherever and whenever possible and also are caringly honest in sharing constructive criticism, can be the best environment in which to surround yourself with motivation.
Motivation isn’t only needed for the writing part of your career. How well are your social media networks growing? Not so much? Maybe this client’s idea will encourage you. She decided to do an experiment with readership on Facebook. She posted a picture of a horse on her author page and asked readers to help her name it. The entry with the winning name would win coffee. An author friend shared my client’s post on her author page, and my client also shared it on her own personal page to test the results she might achieve. In less than 24 hours my client’s author page reach for the week jumped by 330%, and she gained five new followers on her author page. By the way, the experiment benefited her author friend too. My client’s post has become one of the author friend’s most popular posts. How’s that for motivation to try sharing posts with your author friends? Just make sure the posts are interactive with readers and that there is something in it for them (the contest).
As you might have guessed, environment is one motivational factor for me. My desk has to be neat and uncluttered in order to function at my agent work productively. My office faces north, but fortunately I have a bay window so the morning and late afternoon sunshine pours in. Those are especially productive work hours.
Your turn to add your thoughts. What internal and external factors motivate you? What do you do to enhance what works for you? Which successful social media efforts have motivated you to keep at it? Share your own experience of turning a negative factor into a positive motivator, or discovering a motivation you weren’t previously aware of.
Is your writing stalled? Surround yourself with motivation. Here are several ideas. Click to Tweet.
Authors, surround yourselves with motivation to maintain forward career momentum. Click to Tweet.