How I keep myself motivated

I often get asked how I keep myself motivated as a writer, and I have to say that the small and friendly writing group I belong to is one of the main factors which keeps me writing.  Producing work to be read by the group, and then having honest and critical feedback can transform your writing. Seeing how others tackle their work (often in a variety of genres), and observing what works for them, can also be enormously helpful. 

I think all writers could benefit from this kind of peer appraisal (sorry about this slip into management speak), so if you have writing friends or there is a good class or group working in a library or community centre near you, join it and see what happens to you as a writer.  At one stroke you will have pulled yourself out of the isolation lots of writers experience, and found a way to get feedback, pre agent and publisher stages. 

I have just thinking been about the NAWG Festival of Writing in September. I’m running some workshops there this year, amongst many others, and I think that taking advantage of booster workshops or total immersion in activities like the NAWG weekend, or Arvon courses is another way that  writers can get motivated. Have a go and try for yourself.

A voyage of discovery

I find myself, as usual, thinking about other people’s lives, what they might hold, and what they might have experienced. What started as a few thoughts on a recent holiday on the Greek island of Paxos, is becoming something more. It’s becoming a story.

I always write quite short, short stories. And they often seem to have an intensity based on brief meetings, sudden encounters, or realisations that take place over minutes or hours. I suppose as a poet I think in a kind of mental shorthand.

So what is happening in this tale? A woman is running away, and finds herself in the hotel bedroom she stayed in ten years before. In that intervening ten years much has happened. She has had a child. She is pregnant with another. And something has occurred in her recent past to make her want to cut loose and flee her life. The journey and the hotel room are made up of journeys and hotel rooms I have known. The woman I have not met; she is totally imaginary but she has grown and become real in the two or three days I have been writing about her.

She is waiting to be rescued, and i don’t know as yet if that will happen. Such is the oddness of creating a person, a place, and an experience. Sometimes as a writer I go on a voyage of discovery with my characters , not quite knowing where we will end up.