Deb Dana Needed Some Motivation to Write this Post

When I realized tonight was Monday night and not Sunday night, meaning I had to write my weekly Deb post, I felt…shall we say…rather unmotivated.

And then I discovered this week’s theme is “motivation.” I am swimming in irony!

As with many instances in my life — my job in daily news, my applications to grad school and college, my entry to become a Deb — I was motivated to write this blog post by one thing: a deadline. There’s nothing like a do-or-die cutoff to light a fire under my ass.

But when it came to writing THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS, I had no deadline. No official one, at least. I hoped an editor would read and fall in love with my book someday, but whether that was in a month or a year…well, who cared, other than me? I set personal deadlines for myself, but none of those deadlines were “official,” and the “official” part of deadlines is what makes them so powerful and, frankly, so scary.

So then how does a deadline-oriented person get motivated to knuckle down when there is no real deadline? I’ll tell you how: by reading published authors. When I was writing SUPPER CLUBS, as soon as I’d read something written by Nick Hornby or Sarah Pekkanen or Jonathan Tropper or Sophie Kinsella, I’d feel inspired to finish my own work-in-progress. Their writing inspired me, yes — especially when I’d read a passage that made me laugh out loud — but it also made me realize that, at one point, they were unpublished authors, too. And if they hadn’t finished and sent off their first manuscript, they would still be unpublished authors. It wasn’t a deadline, but it was a hefty dose of reality, and it kept me going.

Now that I’m a published author (a distinction I sometimes need to pinch myself to believe), I have more real deadlines, but I still turn to my favorite authors to motivate me and keep my writing fresh.

What about you? Are you deadline-oriented? What authors inspire and motivate you?

8 Replies to “Deb Dana Needed Some Motivation to Write this Post”

  1. Deadlines are terrific motivators, for sure. As for reading other wonderful authors? That has a tendency to make me walk away from the computer muttering things like, “I can’t ever write like that. Why am I bothering to try?”

    1. Oh, I’ve definitely been there as well. Sometimes, instead of inspiring me, really good writing makes me feel thoroughly unworthy.

  2. I am very deadline oriented! Even with household chores I’ll give myself until a certain day or time get them finished. “At some point” doesn’t really work for me. My motivation for writing The Glass Wives came with this real drive to be published. I was active on some writer forums, in a lot of workshops with other aspiring authors, and that always motivated me to move forward. Authors who inspire me? Any who write a good book, because I know how hard it is to spin a story the right way so that it captures a reader’s time and imagination. What bugs me?

    1. Don’t you read differently now that you’ve written (and published!) a book? Even when I don’t love the book, I have so much respect for anyone who has spent the time to craft x-hundred pages of storytelling.

  3. I just read my first Sarah Pekkanen book and found it incredibly inspiring too! I like reading brand new (to me) authors for inspiration–something about a new voice gets my own voice speaking to me more loudly. I also constantly turn to Bird By Bird for inspiration. Me and every other author ever.

    The other thing that seems to work for me is to go out of genre. Way out, sometimes. Mysteries help me write. Romances, too.

  4. I am ABSOLUTELY deadline-oriented. I’d like to be more proactive but I just can’t seem to get things done unless I’m on a deadline.

    Ironically, though, my writing works the other way around. I find myself pushing to write even when I don’t “have to.” I suspect it’s because writing is the only de-stressing activity in my life!

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