I am an aspiring author who is often plagued by doubt. Who doesn’t actually have time to write. I sometimes have a hard time recovering from criticism, and when I talk about my book to “real” people, I sometimes think I can hear crickets chirping in the background.aaaWhy does anyone bother? Many writers will TELL you they write merely for the love of writing. And, I love writing, too. I love that I created a world of people, and to me, they all seem real. Sometimes, while driving or washing the dishes, I even find myself wondering what my characters are up to. Okay, that sounds a little crazy, and it is, but generally writers can be pretty crazy, so clearly I’m on the right path.

But, Imma tell you right now, I don’t just write for the love of writing. I write with one goal in mind. I write to (eventually) get paid. I write with the hope  that one day a maid will clean up the mess my kids have been making ever since I began to write. Is that aiming to high? Well, in a year I’ll let you know. When my alarm goes off at 4:45, I’m faced with a decision. Do I roll out of bed so my characters can finish their battle with the Stones of David in Nigeria, or do I continue to sleep in my nice warm blankets? I mean, who am I kidding? I don’t know how to write a book. I’m not going to be the next Leo Tolstoy, am I right?


There are a million published authors out there who have produced great novels despite doubts of their own because they found the motivation to keep on going. Recently, a fellow aspiring author asked me how I stay motivated. The truth is that while I face many challenges in my writing, keeping motivated is not one. When doubt creeps up, I surround myself with positivity. I collect positive quotes and videos like some people collect reasons not to try. That way, I can remind myself that people (me) can still be great writers even if they’re not “naturally gifted” because:

  • A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. –Junot Diaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2008.

That little doozy is saved as a background to my phone. I also think EVERYONE should see Jim Carrey give this commencement speech. It has a ridiculous number of hits, so maybe you already have.  If not, WATCH IT. If you can’t watch the whole thing, check out these highlights.

  • I have no limits. I cannot be contained because I am the container.
  • . . . you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.
  • Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Let the light shine through your form. Risk being seen in all of your glory.
  • I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself until someone smarter than myself said there’s nothing bigger than myself.
  • Take a chance on faith. Not religion, faith. Not hope, faith. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it.

If you’re having trouble staying motivated, try watching Oprah’s Master Class on OWN, where the “masters” of various fields (mostly celebrities) explain how they got to where they are, and the lessons they learned along the way. My favorite show so far, not surprisingly, features the lovely Miss O herself, although Billy Bob Thornton, Sharon Stone and Susan Sarandon are very close runners up. These morsels of wisdom come from Oprah:

  • When you do well, when you do your best, people notice.
  • Luck is preparation meeting with the moment of opportunity.
  • Every single thing that has ever happened to you is preparing you for the moment that is to come.
  • It’s not about the other guy. It’s about what you can do. You need to give it everything you’ve got, all the time, for yourself.

If that didn’t do it for you, I also love this inspirational video, and I LOVE this video, and after watching this video . . . I pretty much feel like I could take over the world.

Despite the story in my last blog where I threw The Secret in the bin at the airport in Montreal, I believe in the power of positive thinking. I wouldn’t take the time to write if I didn’t. Despite the (sometimes) glazed expressions that crop up when I explain my plot, I love my plot. I just need to find a way to explain it properly. When I get hit with doubt, I take a few days and wallow. But, I pick myself back up. Because that’s what writers do. My motivation comes from the knowledge that writers are people. They’re not superheroes. They have families, and doubts, and the same 24 hours in a day that I have. And, if I try hard enough, my book WILL be great.

Writing a book takes time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Aspiring authors give up every day. So, what’s the secret to finishing that novel?

7 How about you?

How are YOU going to stay motivated?

20 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. I think the best way I’m going about staying motivated today is by reading this blog. I could have written it myself, albeit not as well and I probably would have dropped the F-word in there somewhere. But, I’ve been plagued with some pretty deep self doubt lately regarding my writing. I think I’ll just relax and write.
    Good luck on your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t look for motivation, other than finding peace within myself most often lying on the floor staring at the sky through the skylights of a gabled roof, one that leaks, I’ve still not fixed, but must, just taken advice from someone I trust, he knows someone who knows how, so Monday he’s doing it for me, at a reasonable price, cash for him and more time for me, and that’s the thing for me, motivation is not self help book and videos, it’s connecting with yourself and those you know, it’s not looking outwards its looking within and reading real and honest things, as Jody said your blog motivates because we feel we know you and believe and feel your words, another is, to me a complete and utter inspiration, she makes my problems seem so insignificant, an angel fighting demons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, old friend! Your comment is a great reminder for me that motivation comes in many shapes, and each and every aspring author can find theirs in a different place.
      I’m glad you’re getting your roof fixed. My next move is checking out the blog you recommended. All the best!


  3. Thanks for sharing and I feel your pain. When I read your posts, I feel you are describing me and how I often feel. I certain struggle to keep motivated and also to deal with criticism and my own negative self talk.
    One thing that helps me to stay motivated is having grace on myself. I’m going to have ups and downs and beating myself up doesn’t help anyone. I need to have days where I don’t write or where I f*ck up and can say “It’s ok. I’ll try again tomorrow.” Without grace, motivation would be out the window.
    Hang in there and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, I arrive here and it seems I had written the post! haha. I feel the same way you do. And I´d watched the same videos before I read your post. Cheers! We´re crazy enough, so let´s do it my friend.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You deal here with universal concerns of writers and creative people in general. Some writers are terrified to sit down to write. Some struggle hard to find motivation. But I think if you make it a practice to write everyday, afraid or not, motivated or not, confident or not, you will be a successful writer because so much of being one is writing, writing, writing. I think talent is about 30% of the cause of a writer’s success and the rest is application, work..I can see some of my samurai quotes are due:
    “”No matter what it is, there is nothing you cannot overcome.” Confidence, perseverance
    “Focus on your purpose.” Don’t wander off on tangents
    “The warrior grows from within.” You’re growing and getting better all the time.
    “Behind technique is the spirit.” A writer writes with her/his whole being–mind, spirit, body..
    “When crossing marshes, your only concern should be to get over them quickly, without delay.”
    ‘Adversity in life is essential to training.” We learn so much more from setbacks than from successes.
    “Let your mind be free to function according to its own true nature.” Don’t overthink. Don’t mess with your mind. Stop fretting so much. Be as spontaneous as a drop if dew falling from a leaf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your samurai quotes, David. My favorite is “Focus on your purpose,” along with your added: “don’t wander off on tangents.” That’s a real . . . trouble area of mine.
      As I send my youngest son off to school for the first time tomorrow morning and get back to work on my book, I will keep the last three sentences of your comment in mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve summed up my self doubt perfectly 😉 I go through highs and lows when it comes to my novel series, but it’s the positive reviews that pull me out of my slump. I sometimes feel like a fraud when people ask me writing related/ author related questions. I’m like, ‘Why should they listen to me?’ My local library have asked me to do a talk and I’ve been putting it off for the same reason. But, I think I’m going to bite the bullet and have a go. Kick my self doubt where it hurts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t have time. l will start tomorrow. Tomorrow is NOW!

    Conquer self-doubt by believing in yourself, your writing, your goals and the maid. The maid is the motivating factor. Ask her if she would change places with you as you do the dishes. Your characters are telling you to explore more about them after dinner, say for 30 minutes?

    We believe in you.

    Is that not enough to overcome your self-doubts?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re absolutely right about those people who say they only write for themselves. Really? How noble of them! If that’s the case, then why bother getting published at all? Just keep your Word docs and caress them at night in your bed. On the other hand, if you only write for money, there’s no heart in it. There’s a balance of course, but it’s refreshing to hear someone admit they hope people will buy what they write.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wrote a post on self-doubt, too. It’s a hard thing we do–not so much the writing, that’s wonderful–but making everything else work around the writing.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve got something to keep you going. I have a different approach, but the important thing is that what you’ve got works for you.

    I truly wish you nothing but success with your battle at the stones of David and Nigeria. And the one that keeps you getting out of bed in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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