Tag Archives: Motivation

7 Ways to Encourage Young Writers

I wrote my very first novel on the rainbow-colored pages of a Hello Kitty notebook. I was eight. It definitely read like an eight-year-old’s first novel, but it also was over 80 pages of a story with characters, a plot, and dialogue. I had a lot of maturing and growing to do, but even then I knew I was a WRITER. My parents encouraged this every step of the way and their support fostered creativity and faith in myself as a writer. Because of this new age of digital media, we have many more opportunities than ever before. This can be a great thing, but it also has some pitfalls. Here are 7 ways to encourage young writers.

A Note to Parents: These suggestions may not be suitable for young writers of all ages, especially the ones related to the internet. I would recommend you continue to use the common sense and boundaries that you already have in place with regards to these!

A Note to Young Writers: If you are reading, I’m so glad you are here! Please contact me if you have questions or need more resources. I would love to help you on your writing journey.

7 Ways to Encourage Young Writers

1. Buy a domain.

Do this right now. Immediately. Domains are a commodity and it would be great for you to own your child’s name.com right now. It costs less than $10 to buy and keep one as a placeholder, even if you don’t want a website yet. (More thoughts on owning your own name.) Do make the domain private (a paid service) so your family address, email, and other information cannot be accessed. If you DO choose to actually make a site, this will represent your young writer, so do be professional. Consider gifting this as a graduation present, as I have known some parents to do.

2. Get a Twitter handle.

Many social media platforms come and go. Twitter is, I think, in it for the long haul. Facebook also might be, but with it’s ever-changing algorithms for pages, I would recommend Twitter. I have also found that Twitter is a great place to make connections with other writers and reveals less than a Facebook profile. (Some tips for using Twitter!) Encourage your child to use it as a WRITER, not simply as interaction with friends. (If your child uses Twitter with friends, perhaps set up a separate Author Twitter handle.) Read these tips on how to use Twitter as an author.

3. Find community through Wattpad.

Wattpad is a place where writers can register, post their work, and read the work of others. Many people use it to reveal their work chapter by chapter, receiving comments and shares from other Wattpad users. Writers can be inspired by other writers, connect with new readers, and be part of a community. *A word of caution to parents: Not ALL writing on Wattpad is appropriate for all ages. Check it out with and for your child and make appropriate boundaries.

4. Set up good work habits & goals. 

Writing should stay fun. But young writers can also learn about writing as a craft. Whether that is taking classes, attending a conference (like the Teen Book Con here in Houston), or simply setting up a time to write each day, young writers can learn good habits now that will help in the long run. Encourage your child to both foster creativity and also discipline.

5. Consider self-publishing on Amazon.

Every year in elementary school, I entered the Young Authors competition (and even won a few years). It was my favorite time of year because I got to write a book, then bind it together and hold it in my hands. There is something magical about holding your own book in your hands!! My nephew just published his first book on Amazon & Create Space and I couldn’t be prouder! But I use the word “consider” seriously. The only flip side to self-publishing is that the internet has a long shelf-life. Perhaps later on, your child might be embarrassed for that work to represent him or her. That work will carry his or her name (which could be a privacy concern) and will represent him or her. If you do decided to make the book available to the public, take it seriously. Hire an editor to make the work polished. Make sure the book formats correctly and also has a slick cover!

My nephew with his self-published book, flanked by proud grandparents!

6. Start an email list. 

This may sound like a strange one, but if your young writer does want to become a serious published author one day, starting an email list would be an asset. For now, it could be dormant like a website. Maybe it would be friends and family to start with, but your young writer could collect emails and add them to the list along the way. If he or she does publish on Amazon or Wattpad or has any fun writerly news, this email list could be the place to share it. No one EVER regrets starting an email list too early. (Read how to start an email list.) An email list is a valuable digital commodity and would be a huge resource to start early.

7. Encourage reading. 

I don’t know any writers who were not also voracious readers as children. Read with your child and to your child. Take your young writer to author readings and to the library. Budget for books. Spend time in book stores. Allow for extra time at night for reading before bed. Mix up the kinds of books for your child—maybe encourage him or her to read one classic for every two or three modern or YA books. Readers don’t always write. But writers always READ.

 

How were you encouraged by your parents as a writer? Or how have you fostered creativity and writing habits in your child? 

Source: createifwriting.com

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CHARACTER MOTIVATION THESAURUS

A compelling goal is one of the cornerstones of strong fiction, but conveying why the character is driven to achieve it is what draws readers in and makes them care. Explore all angles of character arc by digging deep into what is motivating your protagonist, the obstacles that could stand in their way, and how sacrifices may play a role if the character is to succeed.

ACHIEVING SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT

AVOIDING CERTAIN DEATH

AVOIDING FINANCIAL RUIN

BEATING A DIAGNOSIS OR CONDITION

BECOMING A LEADER OF OTHERS

BEING ACKNOWLEDGED OR APPRECIATED BY FAMILY

BEING THE BEST AT SOMETHING

CARING FOR AN AGING PARENT

CARRYING ON A LEGACY

CATCHING THE BAD GUY OR GIRL

COMING TO GRIPS WITH A MENTAL DISORDER

COPING WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY OR ILLNESS (KIDLIT)

DEALING WITH BULLIES (KIDLIT)

DISCOVERING ONE’S TRUE SELF

DOING THE RIGHT THING (KIDLIT)

EMBRACING A PERSONAL IDENTITY (KIDLIT)

ESCAPING A DANGEROUS LIFE ONE NO LONGER WANTS TO LIVE

ESCAPING A KILLER

ESCAPING CONFINEMENT

ESCAPING DANGER (KIDLIT)

ESCAPING HOMELESSNESS

ESCAPING INVADERS

ESCAPING WIDESPREAD DISASTER

EXPLORING ONE’S BIOLOGICAL ROOTS

FINDING A LIFELONG PARTNER

FINDING FRIENDSHIP OR COMPANIONSHIP

FITTING IN (KIDLIT)

GIVING A CHILD UP

HAVING A CHILD

HELPING A LOVED ONE RECOGNIZE THEY ARE HURTING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS

NAVIGATING A CHANGING FAMILY SITUATION (KIDLIT)

OBTAINING SHELTER FROM THE ELEMENTS

OVERCOMING ABUSE AND LEARNING TO TRUST

OVERCOMING ADDICTION

OVERCOMING A FEAR (KIDLIT)

PROTECTING ONE’S HOME OR PROPERTY

PURSUING JUSTICE FOR ONESELF OR OTHERS

PURSUING MASTERY OF A SKILL OR TALENT

REALIZING A DREAM

RECONCILING WITH AN ESTRANGED FAMILY MEMBER

RESCUING A LOVED ONE FROM A CAPTOR

RESISTING PEER PRESSURE (KIDLIT)

RESTORING ONE’S NAME OR REPUTATION

RIGHTING A DEEP WRONG

STOPPING AN EVENT FROM HAPPENING

SURVIVING THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE

TRYING SOMETHING NEW (KIDLIT)

TRYING TO SUCCEED WHERE ONE HAS PREVIOUSLY FAILED

WINNING A COMPETITION

Source: onestopforwriters.com

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Encouraging Words for Writers: 3 Essential Reminders for Struggling Writers

There are a lot of things that stop us from writing. Fear of failure, discouragement, and exhaustion are my big three. Sometimes, what we need to push through those barriers is a reminder of who we are and why we do what we do. We need someone to come alongside us and speak encouraging words for writers.

We need to be told again the stories that have led us to the place we are now.

3 Encouraging Reminders for Writers

On the wall of my office, I have a collage of quotes and pictures that have inspired me. Each quote represents a story from my past. I read over them whenever I need a boost of encouragement (which is at least once a day).

These encouraging words for writers are a wonderful source of strength for me. Many of the quotes on the wall are from friends and family who had the right words for me at the exact right time.

Here are three I lean on regularly to get me through rough patches.

1. “Work the process.”

My mentor said this to me at a moment when I was completely lost.

Things at work were falling apart. Several projects had started to break down at the same time, another staff member had verbally attacked me in a staff meeting, and I was being accused of something I didn’t do. On top of that, the organization I worked for was in financial trouble and I wasn’t sure we were going to turn things around.

I called my mentor to ask for help because I had no idea what to do next. We sat in an empty hallway in the basement of the building. It was late and everyone had gone home. Leaning against the painted cinderblock wall, I explained to him in detail everything that was going wrong and all the extravagant plans and drastic measures I had designed in my head that would turn things around.

After hearing me out, he said, “Work the process.” I asked him to explain.

“Don’t do anything extravagant. Don’t take drastic action. There are processes in place. Work the process.”

Often as a writer, I work myself into a dark place. I begin to feel like my writing is worthless. I grow discouraged and lose focus. I find a thousand things to do instead of writing the next chapter.

When I get in that head space, I remind myself to “work the process.”

There is a process to my writing. I write after my family has gone to sleep. I sit at my kitchen table with my laptop, a drink, and a notepad, I skim the last chapter I wrote, I look at my outline, and then I write the next chapter.

When life is hard and I don’t feel like writing, the process keeps me focused and moving in the right direction.

It’s not extravagant. It’s not drastic. It is mundane and routine; and when things get hard, that’s exactly what we need.

2. “No one is going to die on the table.”

I wasn’t prepared for the pre-med course load I took on my sophomore year of college.

My freshman year, I’d been a music major. Since the classes were mostly about performing, I’d been able to wing it with a minimal amount of preparation. Instead of working hard in the practice rooms each day, I learned to play racquetball and became a regular on the basketball court.

Predictably, my disdain for practice made it clear to me and my teachers that I wasn’t going to cut it as a musician, so I decided to pursue one of my other interests, science. While I loved the classes, I was not prepared for the amount of studying that was required.

By the time I got to my midterms, I was way behind in multiple classes.

The night before three tests, a group of friends who were in class with me came over to study. We blew through our biology and chemistry notes in our first three hours together and I felt good about my prospects in the morning.

A little before midnight, we began studying for physics. I hated physics. Sitting at my small round kitchen table, my friends rattled off formulas, made up problems for one another, and answered practice questions with ease. I, on the other hand, was completely lost.

After an hour and a half of trying to “get it,” I excused myself from the study session, claiming I needed to get something from my bedroom. Hiding in my closet so no one could hear me, I began to cry. I called my dad and explained through tears what was happening. I was sure I was going to fail the test and it was too late for me to do anything about it.

After calming me down, he said several things to me that night that have stayed with me. One of which was, “Listen, if you fail tomorrow, no one is going to die on the table.”

Dad was a surgeon who primarily saw high-risk patients. When someone got to him, it was life-or-death. If he messed up or came to work unprepared, someone might literally die on the table.

The words he gave me that night were a fantastic reality check that I’ve used again and again. They’ve helped me take risks and push through fear. When my fear of failure begins to slow me down, I remember sitting in my closet and getting a good dose of perspective from my dad.

Through the years, fear has stayed with me. It is the greatest enemy of writing. Many nights I will sit down to write a chapter and hear fear in my ear whispering, “You’ve got nothing. You’re not a real writer. Stop kidding yourself. You’re going to fail.”

When that voice comes around, I remind myself of the stakes. If I write a terrible chapter, no one is going to die on the table. I’ll just erase it and try again tomorrow.

Having a refreshed perspective helps me move through fear and write.

3. “The tension is good.”

It was after midnight. My friend and I were alone on the second floor of a bar. On the table in front of us were stacks of meeting notes and ideas we’d sketched out together over the years. We were drinking coffee, talking about a non-profit we were both serving, and dreaming up ways to solve all the organization’s problems.

There were some amazing things happening in the organization. We were seeing real breakthroughs in the community we served and people were being helped.

At the same time, we could feel the organization hadn’t reached its full potential. We knew what it could be, but we weren’t sure how to get it there.

We thought that maybe, if we tweaked this one process, or increased our effort in this one area, or redirected resources to this other direction that we would see a breakthrough.

Caught in the tension between the good we were doing and the good we wanted to do, I began to complain. I whined about wanting the future to arrive already, and how I didn’t want to have to wait for changes to take hold.

After I finished another pointless rant, I remember my friend smiling at me and saying, “Don’t rush it. The tension is good.”

He was right. If we had made the changes right away that I wanted to make, we would have failed. Things that looked like a good idea at that moment were actually terrible ideas. Moving slow and making careful and strategic changes helped us see different paths and solutions that weren’t immediately apparent.

As a writer, I often find myself with a problem I can’t fix easily. For me, it usually has to do with plot. I’ll work myself into a hole in my story that I can’t get out of.

Weighed down by exhaustion, my gut tells me to just ignore it, hope readers won’t notice, and rush to the end. I tell myself, “Just publish it and move to the next one.”

Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that readers always notice.

The phrase “the tension is good” has served over and over again to remind me that some problems need to sit. They can’t be solved right away. Instead, they need to be thought through because marinating in the tension will produce a better result.

Encouragement for the Journey

Those are three of the memories that bring me inspiration and encouragement. When I’m stumped in my writing, overwhelmed, afraid, or all three at once, these encouraging words for writers remind me that I will make my way through.

No, my writing isn’t perfect. But the process works. No one is going to die on the table. And the tension is good.

When you hit a rough patch, what encouraging words for writers do you lean on? Let us know in the comments.

By Jeff Elkins
Source: thewritepractice.com

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to Achieve Goals: 5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Actually Accomplish Your Goals

The end of the year/beginning of the next one is always exciting. It’s a time to reflect on your accomplishments and prepare for the next ones. But often times, the newness and anticipation of New Year’s resolutions lasts for just a few months before fading away, checklists long forgotten in a dusty drawer. Here’s how to achieve goals and actually maintain your motivation throughout the new year.

acheive goal

5 Ways to Stay Motivated and Achieve Goals

If you want to stay strong throughout the entirety of 2018, here are five tips to help you achieve just that.

1. Set goals for the month rather than the year

That’s not to say year-long goals aren’t important, but “smaller” goals that are easily finished in a short amount of time will give you that rush of positive energy everyone needs in order to keep up the good work.

Think about your long-term hopes and dreams for yourself, such as writing a novel, and break them down into more manageable chunks that you can spread out over twelve months, like writing 10,000 words per month.

2. Write a checklist

Who doesn’t love checking off boxes when a task is completed? Make your list of goals something large, aesthetically pleasing, and visible.

It must be placed where you’ll see it often to remind yourself what still needs to be done and what you have already finished. And if you don’t enjoy looking at it, you won’t necessarily enjoy doing anything off the list, either. Keep it positive!

3. Create consequences

First decide if you are the kind of person who works better under the threat of punishment or the promise of reward. Maybe you work well with both, in which case, even better because you have plenty of flexibility with which to work.

If negative consequences are the way to go, give yourself deadlines for each of your goals. Writers have to work under deadlines all the time, which is a great way to boost productivity when you know someone is counting on you to pull through. But if you are your own boss, you have to come up with your own punishment, too. If you don’t reach the deadline, maybe consider pulling the plug on the television for a while.

If rewards cause you to race to the keyboard with glee, set concrete promises for yourself, such as, “If I finish editing this short story by the end of the month, I will treat myself to a nice dinner and a movie.” When you have a specific incentive in mind, you will be that much more determined to finish what you started.

4. Switch up your setting

If I ever start to feel bored with my usual routine, I pick up my laptop and move somewhere new. This can be as drastic as sitting yourself down at a coffee shop or library or as simple as moving to a new room in the house.

A different view and a different seating orientation can do wonders for your enthusiasm for your work.

5. Envision your future

What kind of writer do you want to be? When you picture yourself ten years in the future, what do you see for yourself?

Don’t be afraid to dream big. Imagining your future can be exciting and terrifying all at once, but it always helps when it comes to deciding what your next move should be.

But if you do, be ready to put in the work. The amount of effort you put into a task will match the outcome.

How to Achieve Goals and Make Changes in the New Year

Don’t sell yourself short. If you want to be somewhere else a year from now, figure out what you need to do to make the change and do it.

One more tip for how to achieve goals? Ask for help, if you need it. Having a community standing behind you in support is one of the best ways to drum up the courage to achieve your goals in any way possible.

You’ve got this.

What are your goals for the New Year? Do you have other tips for how to achieve goals? Let us know in the comments.

By The Magic Violinist
Source: thewritepractice.com

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