Reader Friday: What Keeps You Going?

We all know it can be hard to fill the blank screen or page day after day, to keep producing those words. What keeps you going as a writer when the going gets tough?

18 thoughts on “Reader Friday: What Keeps You Going?

  1. Always a great question to ponder. I cherish my quota, which tells me to get ‘er done whether I feel inspired or not. But in times when a brain fog hits, I re-read a favorite author. King, Chandler, John D. MacDonald, Saroyan. At some point, the juices percolate again.

  2. I just put some 5 hour energy in the coffee maker and add that to a cocoa-guarana-banana-vodka smoothie….then I can keep going, and going, and going, and going, and….

    whoa…it’s storytime!

  3. I’m always writing. If I have a mental block on my novel, I get a bit concerned, but I don’t panic. What I do is start debating with my husband about the woes of the world and we both get all worked up over it. Suddenly, I have something to say and I want to write. I go to my blog.

    If it doesn’t spark an interest to write something, I go to my blog roll and run down the list of interesting titles until one strikes me and I want to respond. Sure, it’s only a comment, but it puts my fingers to the keyboard and that’s what gives me relief. Weird?

    I’ve now been inspired to share another character of the day on my blog, so I must work on that during my lunch break today. I feel free to do so because I wrote chapter 8 yesterday while I had the flu. lol

  4. Coffee, music, re-reading a favorite author (Lawrence Block, particularly his short stories, and James Lee Burke), and, if all else fails, watching episodes of Strikeback.

  5. I agree with Jim. Word count is a great motivator. I tell myself, “No play time til you get it DONE, little missy.” Gawd, I sound like my mom.

    I also turn off emails & social media, maybe work away from my usual office spot, so I can focus on what I love anyway.

    The best advice I ever got was this. WRITING IS THE ONLY THING YOU CAN CONTROL. It reminds me that the thing I’m passionate about & love is what should be most important.

  6. I always go with rereading a favorite author. I have to be careful, though, because I have limited time (due to planning and grading) outside of the time I’m actually in school to begin with, and I sometimes get caught up so much in my reading that I’m suddenly short on writing time. So, it’s a balance.

  7. I have to be honest. There have been times when nothing gets me going. When that happens, I give in to it. It’s a mental health break thing. Sometimes, I have to get away from writing and books and this wacko business. Completely. I have to do something totally un-mental for about three days. I used to garden when I had a jungle to attend to. Nothing like taking a machete to banana trees to clear the head. Now that I live in condo, I miss that outlet. So I run like a maniac. Luckily, this approach always works although I don’t know how long my knees will hold out.

  8. I tell my kids to never give up on their dream. Don’t every let go. That’s the definition of failure–giving up. So I have to practice what I preach. Besides, when I’ve tried to quit, it felt like part of me had been cut off. I’m really a miserable person when I’m not writing, even if the writing stinks.

  9. James, it’s many different things on different days. But today, it was setting the book aside for 24 hours to reread your Plot & Structure book. I get something new out of it for every reread. Thank you.

  10. Something I just recently figured out (we’re always learning): Take breaks. I used to think in terms of setting down, doing a huge chunk of writing, then going on with the rest of my day. Now, I break up my writing sessions throughout the morning and one in the afternoon. I also take short breaks to stretch and walk around my office during those sessions. Since starting this routine, my productivity has soared.

    • That’s a really good tip, Rob. I keep having to remind myself to do that. I get writing and just keep going. But when I remind myself to take a break (sometimes I lie on the floor with my feet up on a chair) it does help the productivity.

  11. Hatred. The naked hatred of every last bastard who said I couldn’t do THAT. Or the smirking scornsters who merely said, “Thaaat’s greaaat!” with zero sincerity.

    Hey, you asked.

    • When I first read this, I translated “scornsters” to SCONEsters. Which tells you where my mind’s at right now. It is breakfast time after all.

    • Negative energy, if properly harnessed, can do wonders for propelling oneself forward. One always has to look out for being consumed by it, of course. On a lighter note, I love both ‘scornster’ and ‘sconester’. This morning I would say I am in the mode of ‘caffeine joltster’!

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