Motivation That Works

Monday, March 26, 2012


Monday—being the start of the ‘work week’ in several ways—is a good day to talk about motivation.  

Like every other writer, there are times when I get a story idea that excites me, and I sit down to write around it. Eventually, I emerge with a novel that I think makes a good read. My follow-up novel to my debut offering, Contraband, is one such story. I’ve been sitting on it for ages, having written and edited it. That was a stroke of luck, but hold on, I’m coming back to this.


Dunno if you’ve ever experienced writing a story and while you’re at it, you wonder if it’s going to sell and if you’re wasting your time. Those negative thoughts come to me now and then, but I brush them aside and keep going, especially if the story idea is hot. 

Fast-forward to last week. I glanced through the Writer’s Digest newsletter and saw where Adams Media was looking for submissions in the romance genre.  This may interest those of you who write romance that doesn’t exactly fit the usual formula—the link is here.

I did something I thought I’d outgrown, and something I don’t recommend for anybody else. I got excited and sent the editor the brief description of the novel they requested. I got home, puttered around for a while and then checked email at some point after 9:00 p.m.

You know what happens next, right?

Yup, a request, not for a partial as I expected, but a full. If I had the luxury of falling over in a dead faint, I would have. Instead I got busy reading through the manuscript and submitted it the next day, as there wasn’t much for me to do by way of editing.
Source

Which brings me to motivation. As writers we gradually find what works best for us on our journey. I’ve always been irresponsible in my approach to submitting my novels. I’ll write them, edit them and then not touch them again. Some don’t even get edited beyond critique partners’ suggestions. However, I know that if I come across a call for submissions that interests me, it’s the only way I’ll get work through some of the stuff I’ve written. Luckily for me, Taming Celeste had gone through several edits, including the print-out stage, and was just waiting for an opportunity.

I know this is a strange way to work, but then writers are strange people. Do you have any strange habits that motivate you to write and edit, but that you wouldn’t recommend to anyone else?
 
I’m hosting a giveaway over at the Readers’ Suite. It’s for an e-copy of A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case. Hop over and leave a comment for a chance to win.

44 comments:

  1. 1) CONGRATULATIONS on the submission
    2) I like the NEW look of your blog
    3) We all have methods to our madness
    4) CONGRATULATIONS I hope you get a BIG YES.

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  2. Hey, Bish, I do feel pretty good that I was able to get it done. Glad you like the look and yeah, we do have our own unique brand of madness. Hope it's a yes too.

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  3. Firstly, congratulations on the request for the full manuscript!! That is amazing news and I am keeping my fingers crossed for you. I look forward to hearing good news :)

    I work better to deadlines. If I think I have all the time in the world, I just potter and don't put much effort in, if there is a deadline though, my bum gets in the chair and you would have difficulty pulling me out. For me, that's not stressful either, I've come to accept that's the way I work better, though I wouldn't recommend it to everyone :)

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. I think I might be kinda like you. There has to be a deadline looming for me to get in gear. Good that you've accepted that this is how your produce your best work.

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  4. Congratulations on receiving the request and I hope you'll sign a contract soon.

    I was "blown away' when you page popped before me. At first I thought I had clicked on the wrong link. Beautiful and alluring....

    You are tagged for the Lucky 7 Meme Award - I don't know if you had received before.

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    1. Thanks, Peaches. Coming over, but I'm slothful when it comes on to awards and meme's. Glad you like the changes. Means I did something right.

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  5. Congrats! I don't blame you for being bowled over. I am every single time. It keeps me humble. :)

    Great new look to your blog. It's so clean and fresh.

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    1. Emile, you're right. No matter how many times this happens, I'm in awe and getting that yes makes for a wonderful feeling. It does keep me humble, having to wait and stew and wonder if the writing is good enough. Yeah, this look is much less work on the eyes than the last one.

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  6. Congratulations! I hope it results in a contract.

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  7. Now that's what I call motivation. Congrats and thanks, J. L.!

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  8. I'm a bit of work horse. Just keep plugging along lol!!

    But I sure hope things work out wonderfully with your submission. Crossing fingers and toes :-)

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  9. Congratulations!!!! I'm crossing all my fingers and toes for you :)

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    1. All crossed fingers and toes appreciated, Jules. :D

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  10. All my habits are strange, and I would recommend them to no one :)

    I love how we're all different. Fingers crossed for your full!

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    1. Carol, I do know what you mean. Writers are a strange lot. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  11. Congratulations! So proud of you,EDNA is too I am sure.****

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    1. Hey, Martin,
      Thanks for dropping in. :)

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  12. Writers' quirks are some of the best ever! I have too many to mention... :) Good luck with the full!

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    1. Thanks, Jemi. We are indeed a colourful lot.

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  13. I don't have anything really that helps get me motivated to write and edit. Congratulations on the full request. I haven't submitted anything in a while. I'm just toiling on getting through the edits for my sequel. I "should" have it finished by fall. I've got so much to do on it that I only work a little on it each day before I get frustrated. Sigh.

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    1. Your comment reminds me how little time I'm spending on my novel that's supposed to be a follow up the one next in line for release.

      Keep working at that novel though. It'll take a while, but you'll get it to where you want it. If all else fails, give it a few days' break and then get back in that particular saddle.

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  14. Congratulations!! This was the perfect post for me to read as I am completely out of motivation right now. I'll take any idea, strange or otherwise to help me get my creative juices percolating again.

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  15. A call for submission is always a very good motivator. Back in January I finally edited a manuscript I have written back in April/May 2011. I submitted a partial to a new publisher. A week later I had an email back requesting the full manuscript. So you can be sure I was very pleased.

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  16. Huge congratulations on your submission. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.
    As I'm revising my first novel, I don't know if what I'm doing is madness or perfectly conventional :-)

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  17. Not sure why I can't reply to individual messages today, but it must be a case of Blogger going loopy again.

    Melissa, I hope you get your mojo back real soon. Could be you just need some time to relax and recharge those batteries.

    Kiru, that's right. Hope you get positive words back on that ms.

    Thanks, Sarah. Revising is good. That way you'll be ready when the time comes to submit.

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  18. Congratulations on the request! How exciting. And, by the way, the new blog look is gorgeous.

    I have lots of habits that work for me at different stages of a manuscript. But they work for me. Who knows if they'd work for anyone else. : )

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    1. Cynthia, thanks. It never ceases to amaze me how we write good stories, but take so many different routes.

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  19. Hey! Super-congrats to you on the full request! Wishing you all the best of luck with it! I have MSs sitting around that I don't know what to do with it, and I've had those doubts about "will this even sell"--especially now on my current WIP. It's hard to believe in oneself, but we have to, right?

    and then we get surprises! Yay! Thanks, J~ <3

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    1. LTM, Nothing happens before the time, so my advice is to keep going. You never know when a door will open that'll be just the right fit for one of your novels.

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  20. Wow, that is great news about the request! Congratulations! :)

    I find myself thinking ALL the time about whether or not my current WIP would sell, and if I'm wasting my time, etc. I know I should turn off those thoughts and just write. I'm working on it.

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    1. I'm guessing that it's only people like Nora Roberts and James Patterson who might not get doubtful now and then. Even with my published work, I wonder if I've written drivel.

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  21. Your blog is so pretty now. I love the lips up top. Thanks for the response on my earlier comment.

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  22. Thanks, Mike. I get these periods when I mess around with the wallpaper and stuff. Being that the A-Z is almost here, this is about all the messing around I'll get to do for a while. :)

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  23. Oh my goodness, what wonderful news! My fingers are crossed for you!!

    It took me a little while to realize how we all work differently...not right, not wrong, just different. And that's ok. Good luck to you :)

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  24. Thanks so much, Julie! Different is the name of the game when it comes to writers.

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  25. Good luck with it! Sounds like you might be onto a good thing.

    Odd habits? Reducing the time I write. I only get about a couple of hours per day, and sometimes I procrastinate and waste half of it. However, that then forces me to work faster to make my word count, and I think sometimes I write better when I'm faster, as I'm concentrating on the story and not, like you say, allowing those doubts to creep in. Hope that makes sense!

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    1. Thanks, Nick,
      I know what you mean. I have only a couple of hours after work, which is mostly spent checking email and tweeting. Hard to write when you have limited time in which to get it done. It's good that you push harder for it.

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  26. I am soooo excited for you!!! All fingers/toes are crossed and waiting for you to post more good news :) Hmmm... I don't have strange habits when it comes to motivation, but I guess I take breaks whenever I don't feel like writing. I've learned that forcing myself to work is not good!

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    1. I'd say you're smart not to force yourself to write. To me there's not point in doing it when your heart isn't in it. It's stuff you'll have to rewrite anyway.

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  27. Love the new look. :-)

    I don't really do things that I wouldn't suggest to anyone else. Or at least, not something that I can think of.

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  28. Yay. A request for a full. I'm crossing my fingers for you.

    There are two things that motivate me in a big way. First, I'm productive when I'm under major, major stress. I wrote my debut novel when I was terribly unhappy at my workplace (and I left that year)--it was like the words poured out of me. Second, I joined ROW80 last fall, keeping up with the rounds and making weekly goals. Since I'm putting myself out there by blogging about my progress, and because I'm a stickler to deadlines (personal deadlines is one thing, but making them public is another), I'm actually following through with goals and I'm at my most productive.

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