Today, I joined authors Mike Kennedy and Maryann Ridini Spencer in our first official Writers Table Faceook Live panel. We discussed some of the ways writers can stay motivated. More to the point, how the three of us stay motivated.
From our discussion it was clear that every author has his or her own process and none is right or wrong. Maryann is an early morning writer who ignores her emails while she’s working. Mike works late into the night. As for me, I’m all over the place and I answer loads of emails as they come in. This can have a big impact on productivity. Since I waste so much time during the day, I catch up later in the evening.
Rather than recount our Live thirty minutes, you can click on the link above or here and listen/watch for yourself. I’ll just recap some of my opening remarks.
What needs motivate you?
In my work as a handwriting analyst I often use information from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s all about the levels of needs that motivates all humans: basic stuff like food, air, water. Safety and security needs; love and affection from family, friends, society. Self-esteem. The need for creativity and self-expression–what are considered “transcendent needs.”
Since I wasn’t giving a lecture, I didn’t go into that much detail. Our needs can change from time to time as situations change. However, it’s my belief that if we know which of these basic needs motivate us most at any given time, it can help one stay motivated or get re-motivated.
Examining and re-examining what motivates us offers a new perspective. If you need to write in order to pay the bills, that’s one big motivator. If your writing makes the people you care about express their love and admiration for you, it can be a motivator. Achievement builds self-esteem, so there’s another. And writing for the sheer pleasure of creating is a really big one.
One of my small motivators is to put a physical symbol on my desk related to my plot. Part of my current work in process, DEAD LETTERS, takes place in Egypt. I have a small figurine of the Ibis-headed god, Thoth, god of writing.
Even those of us who are fine with staying home for long periods may be suffering from quarantine-fatigue. Zoom, which I have used and loved since 2012, gets to be old after two or three meetings a day! For some people, staying motivated without a lot of face-to-face interaction can be a challenge. Knowing we’re in it together and that we can learn from each other can help.
At our next Writers Table Facebook Live, June 26 at 1:00 PST, we’ll be talking about traditional vs self-publishing and marketing. Between the three of us, we have a ton of experience. We’d love your questions and your comments, too.