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It took me a long while of deliberation to decide whether or not I wanted to commit myself to writing blog articles on a semi-frequent basis. Before, I just saw my blog as a must-have page on my author website to announce releases and other minimally-important author updates; something that every author site has but typically doesn’t make use of. Besides, I have a newsletter where I send weekly updates to readers. What’s the point of a blog?
But that long while of deliberation did lead me to consider that maybe, the point of blogging was to impart knowledge to other writers. If not knowledge, then maybe motivation. “Besides,” I thought, “Every writer needs help with something.” And then, of course, I looked up how many other blogs there are out there that do the same thing, and came to the reality that so many other writers have thought the same thing. The market’s saturating, and that can be demotivating.
So, why then did I decide to go through with it anyway (hence, this blog post)? I think it’s because I feel that I have value to give to others and that doing so, maybe it’ll motivate me to be a better writer. It’s like the saying that you learn something better after attempting to teach it to others. It’s not only because you have to review and remember what you’ve learned to teach it to others, but by helping the student learn, you discover new ways of understanding the concept you’re teaching. Not only that, but you have people looking up to you, so you’ve got to be careful about how you’re teaching it.
Likewise, writing a blog about writing and publishing, you’re teaching others how to be better writers and publishers. Having value and the capabilities to do so means that you have to continuously work at being a better writer. And to do that, you need motivation.
So basically, I’ve decided to do this to be a better author. I think a good first step is to find out what I struggle with. For instance, I’ve looked back over my progress over the last year and a half of my career. I started publishing in June 2021. Since then, I’ve written four books, and am on my fifth one right now. Currently, their lengths average about 40,000 words, which is just barely considered a novel in today’s publishing terms.
Part of me isn’t satisfied with the lengths. I wish I could write more on each manuscript, and faster. Even though I’ve managed to write almost five books in the last eighteen months, I’m still averaging about 15,000 words a month, and I had several months where I’d barely gotten 5,000 words due to a medical issue this year. In fact, if I’m recalling correctly, I’d already written half of my first published book by May 2021, and that 25,000 words were written and rewritten over two years, beginning back in 2019.
I’ve always struggled with motivation and routine. To be vulnerably honest, it reflects my clumsy, chaotic lifestyle. While I’m probably the most boring person you may ever come to know, I’ve struggled with keeping a routine–for cleaning, for productivity, for career goals, for this, for that, for everything. These coincide with weeks of depressive lows, only interrupted by a handful of days of manic productivity.
My mental and physical health affected my productivity (and therefore writing and publishing) dramatically. It took a good, long look in the mirror to realize how much I’d allowed myself to drown. Several days of back and forth with my husband, debating my mental state, figuring out how to pull myself out of this slump one day at a time, and I’ve realized what I’ve lacked is a steady routine that didn’t make me feel hopelessly unable to keep up.
For the last week, I’ve set myself to do small, daily tasks: running the dishwasher once a day, running one full load of laundry through and putting it away, taking an hour to walk with my husband before the end of the day, segmenting short stints of my time for work. So far, it’s worked, and I’m starting to think more clearly. I’ve added meditation into my day as well, and that’s helped me reflect on myself and my past.
And now, I’ve managed to write on my draft two days in a row without strain. I’m pulling myself out of my depression instead of walking hazily around until a sudden burst of mania.
Out of everything about writing, I find that motivating myself to do it and to stick to a routine is the hardest thing to do. Not writing itself, as in the midst of typing out the story, the words flow. Not editing or publishing, as I enjoy those tasks nearly as much as dumping out the plot from my mind onto the page. Not marketing, as though I’m still learning this bit, that’s as simple as posting and replying to people on social media, and learning how to adjust ads to achieve ROI.
Nope. The hardest for me is making myself do it, and that problem isn’t sequestered to the writing sphere. I’ve always struggled with motivation, with setting habits and goals and sticking to them. I’m not quite sure where I developed this problem, my manic depression.
But I’m understanding and accepting that to overcome that issue, I have to take care of it one small step, one day at a time. Working on yourself and being patient will show change bloom from the inside out. Changes can’t be made overnight. I think this is where the writing advice of “it’s not a race, it’s a marathon” comes in.
This all coincides with a book I’m reading called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I became fed up and tired of my inability to keep to a routine and to have a stable mood and productivity level. Out of compulsion, I bought the book, and I’m not even a third through it and it’s made me realize a lot of things about what I’ve done wrong.
It’s a development. It will take time, but I believe that the only way that I can achieve my career goals is to live and breathe as an author. Even since I started publishing, I’ve always thought of it as a side gig.
But this month, I’ve gotten two BookBub Feature Deals — one for my first series’ complete box set, and another for a New Release Feature for my upcoming series. Already, I’m being told that I shouldn’t see it as a side gig. I just need to believe it for myself.
And after all that rambling, I think the real issue for motivation is faith in yourself to stick to it. Ultimately, I dug deep inside during this last depressive low and realized I had no confidence and belief in myself. Nothing that kept me focused on my accomplishments and my goals. Nothing to change my bad habits. Nothing to make me a better person. I had to develop that confidence and belief. I had to trust that I was in fact, a good writer, a worthy author, and an overall productive person. Taking on that persona is still not an overnight transformation, but I’m seeing the fruits of my efforts slowly bloom.
Stay motivated. Believe that you can do it. Commit to one step toward that goal every day. You’ll get there with patience and trust in yourself.