Motivations to keep writing can be a challenge in winter
Motivations to keep writing during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be tricky. The cold, winter weather can drive us indoors, leading to hibernation and binge watching our latest Netflix obsession. (Currently mine is Unforgotten on Masterpiece)
That can be a good way to regenerate, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from the hectic rest of the year and recover from the holidays.
But, if you’re like me, one day of rest can turn into a month if I don’t have some ideas to motivate my writing.
Seven Motivations to keep writing and exercise the “writing” muscles.
Motivation through reading outside your genre
We tend to write in the genre we read. That’s a good thing. It means we understand our genre, know writers who write what we write, and we can identify the trends and expectations of readers for our kind of work. I can’t express enough how important it is to read in one’s genre. We feel motivation to keep writing when we read a book we wish we had written ourselves.
But . . . Writers do not live by genre alone.
Reading outside our genre can be equally important. There are at least two big advantages to this, reading non-fiction to aid in the authenticity of our own work and to discover authors and stories we might not otherwise engage with.
As many of you know, I read crime fiction. But I also love to read historical fiction, literary fiction, and commercial fiction. Sometimes I read horror, sci-fi, and the occasional romance (I enjoyed Evie Drake Starts Over).
I’m currently reading One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow, which is both historical and beautifully written. (Click on the cover to read a review).
Reading outside my genre inspires me in ways reading crime fiction sometimes can’t do.
Then, obviously, reading for information to incorporate into our fiction is always useful.
I love to read about crime scene investigation techniques.
Motivation through reading outside your age range
While I primarily read adult fiction and write adult fiction, there’s nothing better than a good YA novel. A lot of us have read books “written” for kids and young adults, such as the Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games.
But YA isn’t the only age range adults can enjoy.
One of the best books I read in 2019 was The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. Though technically a middle grade novel, it’s filled with exquisite prose, complex characters, and the poignant coming-of-age experience of learning about loss and forgiveness.
I highly recommend this book to readers of any genre or age range. I found myself motivated to keep writing because of the way this book took my breath away.
Motivation through reading a book on craft
Winter can be a time of resolutions or goals. Getting better at our craft is a terrific goal for any writer at any stage in their career. Whether it’s learning a new technique or revisiting something we haven’t considered in a while, reading books on craft is always a good idea to help motivate our writing.
The book I’m most excited about on craft coming out in February is The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript by Elizabeth Kracht.
Because I work with writers one-on-one as a developmental editor, along with querying and the publishing process, I’m thrilled to get inside a successful agent’s head about how she experiences the writing process. I anticipate learning new things and confirming much of my own observations about the development and editing process. Both are tremendously useful!
I also expect to have a lot of “ah ha” moments about writing that I can apply to my current work-in-progress.
Motivation through writing a blog post that coincides with your storytelling
Writers learning the business side of the profession are often told to have a platform. Those of us with books coming out in 2020 need to find ways to garner attention alongside the other 999,999 books coming out. One way to do that is to write guest blog posts on a topic related to our work.
That doesn’t just mean a post about a character or an interview about our writing process. One of my favorite guest blog posts I did to help launch Three Strikes, You’re Dead, was a foodie tour of Washington State for TripFiction.
My private eye, Eddie Shoes, lives in Bellingham and vacationed in Leavenworth, both smaller towns in Washington State, so I wrote about real places that exist in my state that Eddie visits. Click the link here to read the post.
Lots of blogs are looking for guest writers, it’s a great way to get your name out in front of potential readers. Haven’t published a novel yet? Don’t worry, you can still write a fun blog post to help you build up your social media platform even before you publish your first novel.
Motivation through writing a blog post about your writing process
We’re all in this together. Whatever struggles you have, other writers have too. Whatever hardships, rejections, bad first drafts you have endured, we’ve all been there.
Don’t be afraid to write about the hard aspects of being a writer. Don’t be shy about showing your weaknesses or vulnerabilities. No one is going to think . . . “they did that?” A lot of us will be thinking “I did that too.” Or, even better, “Wow, good to know, I can avoid that pothole.”
By writing about your writing process, you can continue to develop a relationship with the writing community and readers. Think of it as a conversation with friends.
Motivation through setting goals for your writing year
I wrote about this in my January Newsletter. I think having short and long term, very specific goals is very good for our writing. It gives us concrete steps to take toward finishing projects and can make a big project feel more manageable, by breaking it down into smaller steps.
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Motivations through exercising at home
Not everything that supports your writing is time at the computer. Sometimes it’s what you do away from the computer.
Exercise does as much for our writing as anything else. It helps keep us healthy and flexible. It can also relieve or prevent depression. Exercise can also free the mind up to work on a plot point or character problem subconsciously while the focus is on what the body is doing.
For indoor exercise, I like to do yoga or get on the treadmill.
You don’t have to have experience or equipment – just get online and find a class to join in or read a book with basic yoga poses. Obviously you will want to check with a physician if you have serious or chronic health conditions before starting any exercise routine, but even 10 minutes of stretching can do wonders during a writing marathon.
For those of you in milder climates or who love to romp around in the snow, there are lots of outdoor exercise possibilities as well. There’s always shoveling the snow off the front walk as an alternative!
I’d love to know how YOU stay motivated during the winter months! Drop me a note or leave a comment below.
Still looking for motivations? Don’t miss the guest post by Kristin Owens here on my blog! Click the link here to read more.
Header photo by Cock-Robin on Pixabay. Click the link here for more information.