I’m not the most motivated person in the world so am not sure I’m the best person to be writing a piece on motivation, writes Leigh Bennett…

leigh-bennettBut then again, I did, against the odds finish writing a book so perhaps I am.

Here are my tips for staying motivated:

1. Keep writing – That’s what all the experts say. And I’m far from an expert but I do find that pulling up my stories and tinkering with them on the days I can’t commit a good solid couple of hours keeps me going and gives me something solid to work with the next time.

2. Stay inspired – I try to keep a vision board or bookmark relevant websites. Also much nicer than looking at a blank page.

3. Keep reading – You can’t write effectively if you don’t read. I often find if I’m having trouble with a particular scene, taking some time out from it to read really recharges the batteries, gives me fresh ideas and puts me back on track.

4. Treat it like a job and have interests outside of your writing – Once upon a time your writing was your hobby. If you’ve decided to be serious about it, perhaps you have published, or want to. It’s suddenly no longer your hobby and is more akin to a job. So you need to treat it as such. (Believe me, I’m still trying to work this out myself). I try to take time out from my ‘job’ and do other things I enjoy. Time away from writing can often be more valuable than time spent trying to write. And besides, what’s better writing fodder than things you enjoy?

5. Don’t read reviews of your book. All authors will tell you that and for a good reason. Good ones can make you happy for a day, bad ones can paralyse you for weeks on end. There are beta readers and critique partners for a reason. They are there to help you while the work is in progress, and once you’ve been through all of that, you should be able to release your book knowing it is as good as you can make it. Once the book is out, of course some will love it, some will hate it, but they are just opinions. Don’t waste valuable time worrying about your published book that could be used on a new project (I learnt this the hard way!)

6. Don’t listen to negatives about writing – As I’m always being told, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. So of course you’re going to get people questioning the whys of what you are doing. You might not write the next great hit, then again you just might. Besides, you’re doing it because you love it and that’s the important thing.

7. Remind yourself of the alternatives – Any time I feel I want to give up I think of what else I could be doing. This is really my dream job, even though it doesn’t pay much, but the moment I contemplate not doing it, it revs me up to work just that little bit harder to maybe one day get paid well for it.

8. Try a writing challenge. It took me a few years to get up the courage to participate in National Novel Writing Month and similar challenges, but it was one of the best things I ever did and have taken part two years in a row now. For me Nanowrimo allowed me to lose the structure I was sticking too. It can be amazing what you can come up with when working to an enforced deadline (And you get a certificate at the end!)

9. Further to the last point, try giving yourself a deadline – I’m not particularly good at this one but I do know it works for many others. The best way I can keep a deadline is if someone else is involved, like if I book my editor for a specific date further down the track I know I have to complete my draft and have all rewrites finished before handing it over.

Hopefully this helps you get motivated and I hope to see your next book out soon!

fliriting with majickWhen a new-age remedy fixes Abby Williams’ career rut, the twenty-five-year-old figures a spell could heal her broken heart too… Suddenly, she’s having hot sex with an even hotter musician, which might work as long as she doesn’t get in the way of his rock stardom. Her work colleague is flirty and fun, but could he be keeping something from her? And now, the guy who broke her heart wants to rekindle their relationship. Can she trust him enough to give it another shot?

Leigh Bennett is an Australian author who lives in Melbourne’s hilly and rugged outer east with her husband, three sons, a beagle x cavalier dog and five chickens. Currently a stay-at-home mother, she has worked in the public service, education, road and music industries.


3 comments on “Staying Motivated”

  1. Great advice, Leighta! I especially like #5, but we all know authors are notoriously hypocritical about that one. We SAY don’t read the reviews, but 99% of us do. I’ve found that I can’t NOT read them. So I’ve just told myself not to take them too seriously. Let the good ones buoy me but laugh at the bad ones. Plus, laughter produces more energy for writing! 😉

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