Monday, February 25, 2013

Rekindling your (writing) Drive! ~ Guest post with Kami McArthur

Today I am handing my blog over to Kami McArthur, a fantastic author and blogger! Please help me welcome her to the blog! 

Kami McArthur is a writer, reader, occasionally an adventurer, and a Harry Potter scholar. She holds an English degree, works as an assistant for the New York Times Bestselling author David Farland, and is pursuing her own writing career. While she has published some short fiction and poetry, she is now working on a young adult fantasy novel. Her favorite food is sushi.
Kami, who is new to the blogging community, recently started her own blog where she plans to post writing tips, book reviews, adventure stories, and the occasional thought on life--with plenty of Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, The Office references.
You can find Kami's blog HERE

And now, I give the rest of this post to Kami. 

-Rekindling Your Drive
(No, this isn't a romance post, but try not to be too disappointed. You might find something useful. )
Whatever you are pursuing in your life, you might hit a period where your pursuits just seem. . .blah. It happens to me. What I’m working on isn't that fun or exciting anymore. It’s becoming mundane and my motivation is ebbing.
Sometimes I just need a break. Other times my break only accomplishes pushing my goals back. When this happens, I know I’m losing my drive to continue on my path to success (and by the way, we all have paths that lead to success, so don’t feel as if your paths only lead to a dead ends and failures).
I've discovered some things that help me overcome these meh moments, and I wanted to share them in case they help others in the same situation. These can apply to any goal, but because I’m a writer, I’m going to refer to writing as an example. Also, if you have any techniques to add, please leave a comment and share it with the rest of us.

—Do Something You can Succeed at Quickly (Utilize Short-term Goals)
Fact: success tastes good. When my writing sessions feel blah, it’s usually because I haven’t tasted success for a long time. It’s not because I’m a bad writer or lazy, but because I’m working on a long work, or a long-term goal. Winning at a short-term goal increases confidence and rekindles drive. It feels good to completely finish something that I’m happy with. So, I might take a day off from my novel and write some poetry or short fiction and send it off to a literary magazine. If I get an acceptance letter, great! If not, hey, I’m still pleased with my poem, so great! I’ll send it somewhere else. Small successes can go a long way.

—Go Back to Your Roots
Take some time to reflect when and why you decided to pursue your goal. How did you feel? What were you thinking? Was there something that led you to make the decision? For me, I look back to when I realized I wanted to be a writer. As clich√© as it sounds, I was in elementary school. I have a binder full of stories I wrote when I was a kid. When I’m feeling down about writing, I look through them. They help me keep my writing goals in perspective.
You may not have wanted to be a writer when you were a kid. That’s perfectly fine. Whenever you made your decision to become one, remember that moment.

—Visit Old Inspirations
There are particular stories that really impacted and inspired me. They reminded me why I wanted to write. Often revisiting those stories motivates me to continue my journey writing my own. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Les Miserables, Lion King, Mulan, even The Legend of Zelda are all stories that hit me in the head, heart, or gut, hard, at some point in my life. Notice they don’t have to all be novels. And some are from my childhood.  Anything is fair game. Wherever they come from, all are timeless to me personally. Do you have stories that influenced you? Changed you? Consider revisiting them.

—Return to Old Work
When I say “old work,” I mean work that is old enough—perhaps several years old—that you can look at it without being too intense and critical, but not so old that it seems childish. This work might be nostalgic, a piece that brings back good memories and positive thoughts. For me, these are the stories I wrote in high school. They aren’t that great. I’ve improved a lot since then, which is helpful to recognize. And I still love them, because I worked hard on them and enjoyed writing them. Some of them even have decent plots, although the prose is cringe-worthy.
Look back at your old work and note how you have improved and reminisce in your past efforts.

—Retrieve Encouragements
Keep anything that praises your work or encourages your efforts. When you hit a blah period, take them out and read them. I have old reviews of my stories, messages from friends about how they liked my work, notes of encouragement, and other odds-and-ends. Knowing that there are people who believe in me and my writing rekindles my drive. These notes especially help when I’m hitting a hard point and my belief in myself gets shaky. I can rely on others’ belief in me.

—Tell Others about Your Goal
But don’t just tell anyone. This is a friend or family member that you can count on to be enthusiastic about your project. I have a few friends I can always count on to be genuinely interested and excited about my work. And enthusiasm can be contagious.
In closing, if you find yourself in a blah period, try doing one of these things and see if you can catch that motivational spark again.
What do you guys do when you’re having a meh moment? Share your wisdom in the comments and help me and others get over this phase. 

Thank you, Kami for stopping by and giving us an excellent post! 

Go VISIT, Follow, and comment on Kami's blog HERE