Tag Archives: Motivation

Inspiration is a beautiful thing!

We love to inspire and motivate our staff and our readers which is why we share uplifting quotes on our social media, and we have a board dedicated to inspiration on Pinterest.

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We understand that everyone is going through something in this life, and we want to encourage you to never give up, to keep pushing on, and to be everything you can be, everything you’re meant to be.

So follow our Pinterest board and our Instagram page to be inspired!

When the Answer is Wait by Susan Lantz Simpson

GUEST POST BY SUSAN LANTZ SIMPSON, AUTHOR OF THE PLAINLY MARYLAND SERIES

KindleHow many times in your life have you been told, “wait a minute,” or “wait until later,” or “not now”? I think that has often been the answer to my prayers, as well.

 I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I’ve written poems and stories since I was able to string words together. Surely, this must have been my calling! I’d write. I’d submit my work. I’d be published. Easy. Right?

 Not!

 I wrote. I worked. I wrote. I cared for children. I finally submitted a few stories at a time when magazines published short fiction. I promptly received notes like, “the story is good but isn’t what we’re looking for right now.” I took some small comfort in the fact that the editors didn’t tell me my writing was awful. I’d put my stories and ideas on hold and pursue other interests.

 Inevitably, my heart and mind returned to writing. I’d haul out all the stories and begin again. I communicated with authors I admired and received so much helpful advice and encouragement. I rewrote, resubmitted, and waited. And waited.

 At the urging of one well-known author, I contacted an agent and held my breath waiting for her reply. Agents are busy people. They can’t accept every writer who reaches out to them. I was an unknown. I knew my chances were slim. To my amazement, the agent loved my story and my writing! She offered me a contract. Yea! Now I would have my book(s) published.

 But the wheels of publishing turn slowly. I waited while my agent sought an interested publisher. Several months and several rejections later, she found publishers for my two proposed series. Yet, books are not published overnight. I had to wait some more. Maybe I should never have prayed for patience years earlier because God certainly gave me plenty of opportunities to learn that virtue. At last, my books are seeing the light of day. Hallelujah!

Moral of the story: Persevere. Follow your dreams. Believe in yourself. Believe God will lead you where He wants you to go—if you let Him. Prepare for bumps in the road so they don’t surprise you. Plan to wait . . . and wait some more. You can accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams if you hang in there.

Fan Into Flame Your Writing Gift

If you consider yourself to be a writer, then you are likely gifted in two ways: You see visions and you feel motivated to share those visions with others.

The 16th-century artist Michelangelo once wrote: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, your gift as a writer is to see the angel in the marble and then to search for just the right words to help others to see what you see.

By “fanning your gift into flame,” I mean to recognize and value your specialness as a writer and to diligently pursue the course that your gift lays out for you. I suggest four principles to help you do this:

1. Know Who You Are. Before you sit down to write, work up a character profile on yourself. Force yourself to think about the difficult issues:

  • What do you really believe? What doubts do you have?
  • What are you angry about? What are you afraid of?
  • If you were in charge of the universe, what are the first three things you would change?
  • What sort of people do you dislike and why?
  • What is your favorite kind of book to read when no one is looking? Would you like to write a book like that?
  • What questions do you long to have answered? Chances are your readers are looking for answers to those same questions.

2. Use Your Own Voice.  Now that you know who you are, write out of who you are. Ask yourself, what especially qualifies you to write about this? Consider your personal history—traumas, problems you’ve overcome or felt defeated by, external forces that have shaped you, perhaps a teacher, an abusive parent, or a loving neighbor. What makes your perspective fresh and different? This quality is important not only for marketing but because it gives your voice authenticity and authority. When others see what you see, they will take it seriously. They will believe you.

3. Find Joy In Your Writing.  Like the Eric Liddell character in the movie Chariots of Fire, write for the sheer pleasure of doing something that you feel you were created to do. Enjoy your giftedness! If writing is not a joyful experience for you, perhaps you are not yet writing out of your own truth, or perhaps the genre you’ve chosen is not a good fit for you right now. Explore and experiment until you find that “sweet spot” of writing for sheer pleasure. Authentic joy in your work gives you emotional confidence. It also infuses your writing with energy that will resonate with your readers.

4. Stand Behind Your Work.  Believe in your work! If you have applied yourself to Principles 1, 2 & 3, then you can trust that you have produced a work of integrity, which will give you confidence to speak about yourself and your work without apology. Writing with integrity also changes your definition of success. If you have written with authenticity, the authority of your own truth, and the joy of exercising your gift, then you can count yourself successful even before the first copy of your book is sold and without comparing yourself to other authors and their successes.

As a final note, don’t take it personally if people don’t like what you’ve written. People respond out of their own needs, and you cannot control their reactions to what you write. Commit to writing from your heart and then stand behind your work. Be willing to talk about it, blog about it, promote it. Boldly offer your vision to the world in a voice that only you can speak.

*This article was taken from a speech given to the California Writers Club on 12/10/11. For the complete speech, please visit http://www.judithingram.com/links.

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Who or What Inspires You?

We’ve all had people who’ve come into our lives, maybe for even a short period of time, who have inspired us. It might be someone we’ve not even actually met like an astronaut we’ve seen on TV or a great singer. We can all find inspiration in someone.

But what inspires you to do your best, be your best, write your best? Do you have an inner desire? Are you your own inspiration?

I’ve heard many people say they felt inspired to do something so how do you find that inspiration? Where do you find it? Is it something that lies dormant within you until it’s sparked by a question, a thought, or a song?

As you ask yourself these questions, consider writing down the answers, and maybe, one day when you’re just not feeling inspired, you can review those things that once did inspire you.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labour in freedom.  ~ Albert Einstein

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Creating and Achieving Writing Goals

When you first sit in front of a blank screen with a story idea and plenty of inspiration, you’re motivated to begin writing. You can’t wait to start typing and fill up that empty space. By the time you’re finished writing for the day, you feel accomplished and proud of yourself. Don’t you wish you could hang onto that feeling even once you’ve hit the middle of your book when your story isn’t so new anymore?

Actually, you can, and all it takes is setting a daily goal. How exactly is that supposed to help you? Setting goals is a proven tactic recommended by psychologists to increase motivation and encourage completion of tasks even if it takes you a bit longer than you’d like.

For instance, you’re writing a 70,000 word book, and over the course of the first week, you wrote a total of 5,000 words. You couldn’t be more excited, but…something happened, and now you’re not feeling as motivated about the book as you were in the beginning. You still want to finish it, but you just can’t seem to make yourself sit down and write.  That’s where goals come in.

Every task looks overwhelming at the beginning or even when you’re stuck in the middle, but we can all do some small portion of  that task at least once a day. Let’s look back at that 70,000 word book. You’re already 5,000 words in. With only 65,000 words to go, you have a long road ahead. So what’s the best way to navigate it?

First, a trip to your local dollar store is in order. There you will find monthly planners for the bargain price of $1.00. Each day of the month has an empty block waiting for you to fill it with your goal for that day. So once you’ve made your purchase, your goal setting awaits.

It will take you one hundred and thirty days to finish your 65,000 word book if you only write 500 words per day. That’s it. Just 500 words a day. So in the first empty block and each subsequent block after that, you’re going to write: Write 500 words on Mary’s Magic (not an actual story title). I suggest using pencil as you’ll see why in a minute. You’ll write this goal in 130 of the days of the week.

In the interim, let’s suppose you also have a story which needs to be edited or your editor is going to send her goon squad after you. Let’s just say it’s a 250 page book. Editing ten pages a day will take you twenty-five days. Make sure this goal fits in with your editor’s requirements and neatly pencil in underneath your first goal: Edit ten pages on Jim’s Journey (again, not an actual story title). You’ll write this goal down in twenty-five of the blocks.

Also, in the back of your mind, you’ve been playing around with the idea of writing a non-fiction article as well. You think you can write a 500 word non-fiction article in five days. So now you write: Write one hundred words on non-fiction article.

So now you’re ready to begin using your goal sheet. Each day you highlight what you’ve accomplished, but what happens when you don’t accomplish one of your goals that day? Just add it to a block at the end of the goal, i.e., instead of completing your goal on Day 130, you would complete it on Day 131.

And suppose you get really motivated and end up writing 1,000 words one day instead of 500? Just erase a day.

Eventually, you may get to the point where you don’t want to specify an amount. Your goal is to simply write each day. In that case, you can still use the blocks. Just write what you did each day, and if you look back at the end of the week and see an empty block, double up that day to catch up if you choose to.

Either way, each day you’ve completed a small goal, and by the time you finish writing that first article, you’ll feel such an overwhelming sense of completion you’ll want to add another goal.

Just make your goals realistic according to what you know is your ability to write, i.e., don’t set a goal to write 2,000 words a day when you know it’s a struggle for you to write 250. This isn’t a race, and no one is timing you. You control the goals, and you control how long it takes you to write the book, edit the book, or write the article.

For added motivation, I write down whatever I’ve done that day for writing even if it’s just a blog post or a synopsis for a completed book. At the end of the week, I can see I’ve written something every day no matter how minute an amount.

Motivation is important when writing, but without an editor hounding you with deadlines, you have to learn how to self-motivate. Goal-setting is the best way, and, ultimately, can be a valuable aspect in all areas of your life.