Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Chain - Dream On

I should NEVER be allowed to start a blog chain! For some reason or other, I always seem to forget and this round is no exception. Since finishing my agent revisions last week, I sort of went on mental hiatus. I still have comments to post from last round, and I'm sorry fellow chainers... I'll get to you ASAP! :)

I'm going to combine the blog chain with a post I've been thinking about writing for a while now:

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you feel like you're not making any progress in your writing career?

It could have been last week's episode of Glee that inspired me. Aerosmith's DREAM ON has got to be one of my favorite motivational songs, and it made me think of all the times on this journey to publication where I felt like I was spinning my wheels and making no real progress at all. You begin to feel hopeless, and that's not a feeling I enjoy.

There were times when I had extreme ups and extreme downs. Requests for fulls and an agent conversation that had me soaring through the clouds, only to send me slamming down to earth. That was the worst for me, that episode almost six months ago. I leaned on my family. I whined to my friends. I cried. I cried for about three days. It was the one time that I truly felt like I needed to take an extended break from this dream of mine. My friends and crit partners rallied, telling me I was good enough, reassuring me it was only a matter of time. My kids urged me to keep going despite the odds. And my husband, usually a writing opponent, turned to me one night when I was at my lowest and said, "You're going to get up in the morning, you're going to sit down at that computer. And you're going to write."

I needed that kick in the ass. It was like waking up from a stupor. This was my dream! How could I even THINK about giving up so easily? I hadn't even broken the surface of the query pool! I wasn't even close to throwing in the towel!

Thanks to my friends and family and their kind words and in case of my husband, some firm commands, I sat down at my computer the next day and I spent the next two weeks revising my novel. I spent the next two months querying that novel, and three months to the day after that low moment... I signed with an agent. This is my dream. Some dreams are harder to achieve than others. But when I was feeling less than motivated to keep fighting, I listened to the voices around me, the ones that lifted me up from that dark place. To write a novel is a solitary thing, but I've never felt so surrounded by support as when I dreamed the dream of becoming a published author.

How do you keep motivated when you feel you're losing momentum with your writing? Check out Sandra's post after mine to see how she keeps her wheels spinning!

17 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post Amanda - and this topic! Motivation can be such an elusive thing! Hmm...what am I going to say on this one...

Michelle H. said...

Ups and downs are the pits. SO cool you have such a support team to pick you up and set you down on the right path.

Corinne O'Flynn said...

QUOTE: "To write a novel is a solitary thing"

Gosh you've said a mouthful right there.

Lack of motivation is the worst! I think it's awesome that you have a support network, can't ask for more. Thanks for your post! It gives me hope and certainly makes me feel less alone on this journey to the dream.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Interesting topic--and I can't believe it's my turn again already! At least I have a good theme song in mind....

Suzyhayze said...

You said it and now I don't have to :)

Cole Gibsen said...

Yowza! Great topic. Good thing I've got a little bit to stew...

Sarah Bromley said...

Fantastic topic, Amanda. Probably a good one for those who need to hear it right now. Strange to think if that agent debacle hadn't happened, I wouldn't have found one of my awesome crit partners in you. Providence, as you've said.

nomadshan said...

Hurrah for your friends, crit partners, and family for giving you love-love and tough-love support. You're right, there's always something more to be done.

Eric said...

Great topic, Amanda. How did you know this topic would hit home with me? Oh wait, it's not about me, is it? LOL :)

Amanda said...

Eric! This post is totally about ALL of us! ;)

The Empress said...

For me, it is intimidation. Sometimes I feel as if I might have something special going on, then I read someone else's work, and I think "forget it. Who am I kidding? This is drivel compared to what I just read.."

It's belief, or lack of, or easily deflated when you compare yourself to awesomeness that stops me in my tracks every time.

Fascinating topic, thank you.

lbdiamond said...

LOVE the song Dream On.

Definitely picking yourself back up again after a fall is HARD. But look how far you've come! Thanks for sharing your journey, bumps and roadblocks and all.

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing this. A good reminder to keep going through those downs. Dream on!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Definitely a great topic. Your family sounds really supportive and fantastic. I can't wait to read everyone's answers.

Margie Gelbwasser said...

Terrific post! So great that you have such a support system. It's those voices around us that keep us going.

B.J. Anderson said...

I SO understand where you're coming from. In October I'd talked off and on with an agent who had my full and she called one last time on my birthday (she didn't know it was my birthday) to let me know whether or not she would be representing. Ultimately, it was a no, and it was the worst birthday I've ever had.

I jumped back in and did massive revisions after a short time of wallowing, but it was such a dark time in my life.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Aww... great question and great inspirational post - I especially love the happy ending;)