Posts Tagged hard work

Rest and a 7-Eleven Slushie

White Sands, New Mexico

Trekking the Dessert

The act of creation takes a lot of energy. Whether it’s a story, a song, a painting or some other project, creating anything requires a great deal of effort (not to mention blood, sweat and tears). All that can be dehydrating for an artist. But so many of us have that undying passion, that zeal for creation, that we don’t want to take a breather in between projects. Instead, we trek onward, malnourished, onto the next project (aka desert expanse) without a moment of rest at the lush oasis in between. Read the rest of this entry »

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Capturing Inspiration

Inspiration is a tricky thing. I’ll always remember the night I finished my first novel. It was a meandering, unplanned, angsty beast I spent most of my high school career working on, and I really had no idea where I was going. Then, one Friday night, I watched Empire Records for the first time. As soon as the credits started I turned off the TV, walked over to the computer, sat down, and finished my novel.

That ending took me nine hours and came out to about 15,000 words. By the time I finished, the sun was already shining on Saturday morning. I went to bed, woke up sometime in the afternoon, and realized with a feeling of great accomplishment that, after four long years, my book was finally done. Read the rest of this entry »

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Protect Your Inspiration

A Valuable Commodity

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you may have gleaned that I see inspiration as a highly desirable tool of motivation. It shouldn’t be a crutch, as hard work is really the best way to hone your craft, but let’s face it, when you have inspiration it makes things much easier. So when you’re having one of those highly inspired days/weeks/months, how do you hold onto the magic? How can you keep it as long as possible, free-riding on the waves of momentum you’ve created?

I see several ways, the primary one of which is just to not stop working. It’s the snowball effect: scoop up a handful, push it down the hill and don’t give in to anything that might try to steal your momentum as your creation rolls down the snowy mountain, growing all the while. But another way to keep the ball rolling comes in at a close second: protecting what you already have. Read the rest of this entry »

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Share Yourself

Writing my first book was a huge rollercoaster of emotion. With no training, I jumped in head-first and just went for it. It took me nine months to birth the first draft and in that time, I grew dramatically as a person and found out what it really meant to be a writer. I learned that not only does being a writer mean persevering when it’s work and not just fun, requiring huge amounts of dedication, but it also means putting your heart on the line.

Ups and Downs

When I first started, the adventure was a total rush. Writing felt amazing and I was on fire. I’d fly through fifteen hundred words like it was nothing. Piece of cake.

But then, something happened. As my novel approached 50,000 words (the midpoint for the story), I could feel myself losing momentum. First it slowed, and then one day it ground to a screeching halt. And after a few days…a week with no progress, I found myself in a state of writing depression. Fortunately, I was able to feed from the encouragement of some fellow writers and get back into the game. I even made it to that surreal moment when I was able to type the words “The End.”  But once the first draft was complete, I had a whole new animal on my hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Discovering Inspiration: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Part 2

A few weeks back, I talked about experiencing a surge of motivation caused by the pressure of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days, aka NaNoWriMo. Today I want to share with you the flip side of that intense commitment – the mid-month slump.

Inspiration versus Hard Work

In the beginning, I was writing in a mad frenzy of excitement, following my synopsis, pounding out words like nobody’s business. But there is a much-feared thing that puts dread into the hearts of all NaNoWriMo participants. It’s known as: Week Two (dun dun DUNN).  Along with many other writers, I experienced a case of the Week Twos, but for me it hit somewhere around Day 12 or 13 (and continued throughout much of Week Three as well). It happened when I reached a plot drop-off, the place I’d been stumped in my pre-writing. It was the end of my known outline.

But while I was (temporarily) out of material, I knew one thing for certain: I couldn’t stop writing. I couldn’t afford to waste any time sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for inspiration to hit. Somehow, I had to work through it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The War of Art, Part 3: Invoking Your Muse

I’ve given you excerpts from Steven Pressfield’s cut-through-the-crap-and-get-busy book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles over the past few weeks.  Today, I leave you with a final installment, and I hope that you will run your little fingers over to your favorite book-purchasing website and pick it up for yourselves.  The few bits that I have shared are only a snippet of the wealth of insight and the injection of courage that awaits you in this awesome book. Read the rest of this entry »

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