Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Encouragement Project

I have a problem. I procrastinate. A lot. I know it's bad, I know I should sit down and just start writing. But sometimes it's hard.

So I'm going to try something new. I'm calling it The Encouragement Project.

Sometimes I feel disheartened when I read other people's success stories. I mean, of course I'm happy for them, especially if they are blogger friends. But, yeah, I'm also jealous. I want that success for myself. And when I hear about their fantastic news then compare it to the mountain of work I still need to do on my own projects, the road just seems so long.

Just as some things can leave me feeling hopeless, there are plenty of things that encourage me. Motivate me. Things that make me want to open up my WiP and get right to work. Especially comments people have left me, like all the various ones saying that they love my log line, or that my idea sounds fun and awesome, or that my title is fantastic. All of this sticks with me, and really brightens my outlook.

And every now and then I get amazing comments like this one (on my Books, Books, Books post in Jan):

Dani. said...

Also, this is really random, but I so hope your books get published-- you're hilarious and your WIPs sound awesome! They would totally make my "(whatever year it happens to be) anticipated books"!!!! :]

Totally made my day :)

Then there are the comments on my actual writings. Sometimes critiques can be a little discouraging because it shows me how much work I *still* need to do, but for the most part, it's helpful and motivating. Especially when they say they can't wait to read more and truly mean it.

When I posted my 1000 words of Temper over on the Teen Fire site, I got some great encouraging comments from other authors-- and a couple from members of the Sourcebooks editorial staff:

Reply from Aubrey P.:
(Sourcebooks Editorial Staff) Wow! Great start. You have an incredibly solid beginning here. You know how to reveal character by showing and not just telling the audience. I'm very intrigued and want to know more, which, as someone who reads a lot of manuscript submissions, I can tell you is a very good sign. The style and tone sort of remind me of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog (which is incredibly funny for all you Fire addicts who haven't seen it). Keep up the good work.

Reply from Denise M.:
(Sourcebooks Editorial Staff). This is great fun to read. It's really original. You truly masterfully cross the superhero world with the real world and come up with a story that is both touching and funny at the same time. Excellent writing, great story. You've got something really special here.

Um, compliments from people who search slush for publishable works? Hi, encouragement!

So this is what I'm going to do: I'm going to collect all these comments and notes and keep them in a file. Then whenever I'm feeling down or suffering from a nasty bout of Isuckititis and want to delete everything I've ever written and choose a nice, safe career like the person who fills up gumball machines when they get low, I'll just open the file, read a little bit, and feel better.

If anything, it will be nice to keep all these encouraging words in one place.

How do you stay motivated when you're feeling down about your writing?


  1. Very cool idea! I've started saving my wonderful comments and praises too but unfortunately I'm a slight masochist in that I keep my rejections as well. I need to learn to throw those away, but I'm hoping one day when I feel like a success I can look back at them and smile even more about my sense of accomplishment.

  2. If I'm feeling down about my writing, I like to do something entirely different to take my mind (and eyes) off things for a while. Whether it's cooking, running or drawing, I find that a lot of my writing issues solve themselves when I'm away from my work for a little while.

    And of course it helps when your awesome beta reader compares your story to works by C.S. Lewis and Phillip Pullman :)


  3. I know exactly how you feel, but honestly I don't know how I keep motivated. Sometimes I'm convinced the only thing driving me is stubbournness.

    You're right though, those little comments go a long way. I think your idea rocks, but I'm sure we'll both make it one day. Trust me, I'm always right. ALWAYS.

  4. I'm a big procrastinator also... I don't know how I get anything done with all the napping and television watching I do.

    Sometimes, I can't stay motivated to write, and that's when I take a break. But I always come back. The loving and encouraging comments I get along the way definitely help, but I'm sure stubbornness and perfectionism has a lot to do with it as well. I hate to fail, no matter how painful it is to keep trying. Luckily, writing is something I enjoy, so it's a labor of love for me. Thinking of someone reading and enjoying my book one day is the best motivation of all, though.