The most productive writers, I’ve noticed, aren’t necessarily the ones with the most talent or the greatest skills. They may not be the most physically fit or even the most motivated. The most productive writers are the ones who get excited by their work.
What do I mean by “getting excited”? Quite simply this. To some degree, we are responsible for our attitudes. We have to be. We must learn to control them. We need to be actors, not creatures that are acted upon.
And the single greatest thing that you can do to motivate yourself to write is to cultivate an attitude of excitement, one that energizes you and drives you to work hard, to spend every spare moment productively.
So, how can you get excited about a story? Here are just a few steps to building excitement.
1) Block out negative thinking. I have sometimes heard authors say, “I’d love to write a novel about X, but I know that I can’t do it.” That’s bull. You can write a novel about anything that you want. Do you want to write military science fiction but feel handicapped because you haven’t been in the military? Guess what, you can do it! You might have to consult with a few military experts and make sure that you get the details right, but you can do it. Do you want to write a historical novel but don’t feel you have the expertise? Expertise comes to those who study.
If you’re capable of talking on the phone for an hour, then you can write for an hour. It’s really that simple.
Sometimes we want to succeed in our art all at once. We want a huge novel to be written “now,” and we want it to be flawless.
Accept the fact that your first draft will be flawed, but know that with a small amount of effort you can make it better, and over the course of several drafts, you can make your book virtually perfect.
2) Cultivate your excitement. Find out what makes you write.
Many authors are motivated by praise. Sometimes, praise can come from fans. So if you’re working on a story, try to imagine how it might affect others. I’ve gotten wonderful letters from fans who tell me that my novels have often changed their lives. Seriously, before I began writing, I never realized what kind of influence my work might have on the world.
Other times, authors seek praise from critics. I sometimes suggest that before you write a book, that you sit down and write out your own review of the novel.
For example, with my first novel, I sat down and wrote out my own review in advance. I knew that I wanted a novel that was “deep and powerful.” So I was very pleased when my first review offered the quote, “. . . one of the deepest and most powerful science fiction novels ever written. Many fine books that have won Hugos and Nebulas pale in comparison.” Seriously, in my wildest imaginations, I hadn’t considered the possibility of getting a quote like that.
But there are other types of praise. For example, I’ve known some authors who are motivated by the prospect of winning awards.
There are other people who might offer praise—a spouse, your family members, or people in your writing group.
But we don’t just write for praise. Sometimes we write from a burning need to express ourselves, to say something of import. Are you a revolutionary? Then I invite you to change the world.
Sometimes we can get excited by looking at the financial rewards from writing. Too often, people will poo-poo the idea that you can make money in this business, but over the past 25 years I’ve managed to bring in a few million—and I’m just getting started. Will I become as rich as J.K. Rowling? Nah. But I’ll have fun writing what I love while making good money, and that’s well worth the time.
You see, there are a lot of rewards that come with the writing life. I don’t have to worry much, for example about office politics. I’m pretty much self-employed. That means that I can work where I want and when I want. If I wanted, I could fly down to Cabo and compose while the sun is rising above the sea, or fly up to Yellowstone and get myself a cabin and pause to think while looking out over a herd of bison in the snow.
There are a lot of great things that come from writing. Think about them often. Let yourself get excited. Every moment of every day offers you the opportunity to write. Take advantage of those moments!
Story and the Art and Craft of Writing – Michaelbrent Collings
Author Michaelbrent Collings is offering on online writing course. It has over 4 hours of video, plus dozens of worksheets. The course is $150 but code FBFRIENDS will get you 30% off at checkout.
Internationally-bestselling novelist, attorney, and produced screenwriter Michaelbrent Collings has been working with words for over two decades, and for the last ten years has provided writing assistance to more people than he can remember. Now he is offering to share the secrets he has learned… with you!
Learn more about the course or register here.
My War on Suicide
Michaelbrent Collings also has a Patreon page called My War on Suicide.
Here is what he says about it:
“The gist is that I’m going to be chronicling my fight against depression and–more importantly–against the urge to whack myself that I have to deal with more and more as the years go by. The goal is to share my thoughts on the matter, but more importantly to just show other people who are suffering that there are a) other folks dealing with the same thing, and b) that I’m still alive–because that means they have a shot, too.”
You can donate, learn more, or share his Patreon here.
Advanced Intensive Writing Workshop
St. George, Utah
October 22-26, 2018
10 Attendees Maximum
$799. Room, travel, and meals are separate
Prepare for National Novel Writing Month right in this workshop exclusively for those who would rather be dead than unread!
Dave is ratcheting up his popular Writing Mastery camp and this will be an advanced workshop where we perform daily writing exercises, give daily critiques, and work to improve our writing craft.
During the workshop, instruction and exercises will cover such topics as:
- Adding intrigue to your tale
- Creating tension
- Using the eight kinds of hooks
- Using appeals to various senses to hypnotize your reader
- Weak appeals versus strong appeals versus “failed” appeals
- The music of writing–assonance, consonance, metaphors, etc
- Developing and using both your voice and your character’s voices
- Advanced descriptive techniques
- And more!
We will have at least ten assignments over the course of the class, and Dave will review each assignment and offer critiques. We will also invite other writers to offer their own insights.
During lunch and dinners, authors will be able to set up appointments to dine with David in order to talk about specific concerns that they have with their writing, or to plan their careers.
While the goal for this workshop is to allow the writer to have fun, to get inspired, to work in an intellectually rich and emotionally fulfilling environment, this will be David’s most intensive class ever!
Zermatt Resort, Midway, UT
Friday and Saturday, November 2nd and 3rd
Bestselling authors typically have a few things in common. They know what they want to write, and they develop the skills needed to write efficiently.
But many new authors suffer from writer’s block (usually because they haven’t learned what they are doing yet), or they may bring unhealthy mindsets to the craft. Well, we can fix those problems!
In this course, New York Times Bestselling author David Farland will team up with neuro-linguistic programming instructor Forrest Wolverton to teach the skills you need in order to overcome writers’ block, write more effortlessly, rearrange your own priorities, and increase your productivity. The goal is to help you develop the tools that you need in order to become a super-productive writer, the kind who can complete multiple books per year and win the trust of publishers and fans.
We’ll cover such topics as
- Designing a Career. Many writers waste years trying to figure out what to write. We’ll provide information so that you can decide now what career path you would like to pursue, and then set goals accordingly.
- Moving from apprehension to excitement. Have you lost your love of writing? We’ll teach you how to ground yourself in such a way that writing becomes more than effortless, it becomes something that you are eager to do!
- Learn to set compelling goals that you will be driven to achieve.
- Eliminate internal conflicts and self-sabotage that keep you stalled out.
- Learn how the professional authors manage their mental and emotional state to write when they want to–and do it for yourself.
- Take control of your motivation and direct it toward what you want.
- Are you better at starting, maintaining, or finishing? Would you like to be able to do all three and get you stories out and finished?
- Find out how to decrease the time it takes to find solutions for any task or challenge.
- Learn how to effectively tell your stories by understanding plots, characterization.
- Discover the secret to silencing your inner critic when it is sabotaging your work
- Eliminate doubt about your future success.
- Learn how to organize your mind like bestselling authors and get results fast.
This two-day workshop will cover all of this and more. Space will be limited to 50 students. Please bring something to take notes on and be prepared to change your life.
Register now for both days for $299 and get two additional on-line seminars (a $58 value) for free!
Earlier this year I set up a Patreon account, for those who are interested in donating to these writing tips. You can set how much you would like to donate per month. Anything you can give would be appreciated. You can learn more or donate here: https://www.patreon.com/DavidFarland