I work a day job that has nothing to do with writing or creating in general. I’m passably good at it and it pays my bills, lets my husband go to school and generally keeps us fed and clothed. It starts at 8am and ends at 5pm. It goes Monday through Friday and gives me vacation during the year. It’s stable and I feel incredibly grateful that I am blessed enough to have gainful, paying employment.
But despite reaching this achievement of the American Dream, in so many ways, I look forward for the day that comes when I can hang up the office scrubs and stay home full time to write and work on my projects. I look forward to one day being able to really push myself as a writer and to sell that which I have been sweating at alone to craft.
It’s hard to keep my motivation up when the wage labor gets intense. After all, what I’ve been doing the past two weeks is training myself to do a part time job along with my full time one. I am so excited to tell y’all that it has been FIFTEEN DAYS of consistent writing. I have gotten up at 5:30am, I have put my butt in the chair and on each of those days have managed to work on SOMETHING that is going to be one day (hopefully) sold to readers.
The best motivator during this time of growth has been podcasts. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to listen to music or podcasts while they’re working, and I recognize this might not be a solution for everyone, but I have found that if I can at least squeeze one or two episodes of a writing-centric podcast while I’m doing some of the more repetitive tasks at work, I’m able to stay focused on what I’m going to write for the next day. It’s the best of both worlds: I am fulfilling my wage labor obligations while also hearing this encouragement from fellow writers.
So, here are my top three recommendations from the last two weeks.
1.I Should Be Writing / Ditch Diggers:
First up, I’m going to cheat and count these two podcasts as one entry because they share a host. Mur Lafferty caught my attention with her podcast “I Should Be Writing” that is aimed at beginning authors. It was the second/third day of my own personal writing challenge and she was talking about despair and how it can get to you while you’re trying to do a creative thing. I was hooked, because Lafferty gets it. She truly understands what fragile and in contrast, strong creatures creative people can be.
She does a joint podcast with Matt Wallace for her second one, which is Ditch Diggers. This ‘cast has a totally different feel from ISBW. Matt and Mur are speaking to the professional writers who do the writing gig every day. They talk about struggles that professionals face and how they overcome it. They’re hilarious and their banter and chemistry as cohosts really drives the episodes. They also do some pretty excellent interviews with fellow indie artists and creators. I’ve learned lots for my future with them and I hope everyone who needs a little solidarity will pick them up and give them a listen.
2. Upgrade Your Story
Ally Bishop is an editor who puts out the ‘Upgrade Your Story’ podcast in an effort to help newer writers and seasoned vets improve their craft. While Mur’s casts are about the lifestyle and motivations of a writer, Bishop is a mechanic for the nuts and bolts of writing. I have found that listening to her podcast while on my way to and from work have helped the editing side of my brain when I am working on tweaking my few finished stories for sending out. Give her a listen. She has over 90 episodes so she’s likely covered something useful to you.
Finally, last but certainly not least,
3. DIY MFA
One of my mutual Twitter followers just finished her book a few months ago and is in the querying/synopsis stage of Agent-hunting. She posted a link to Gabriela Pereira’s ‘cast about Query letters and as I listened I realized how useful all of this advice was to me.
Lafferty and Bishop deal with the writing and lifestyle aspects of the craft, Pereira has framed her cast as if you were taking a remote MFA class. She has interviews with many different professional writers on each episode and lets the listener take to the episode as if they were in a class, learning and growing through a lecture series. I’ve found listening to her while doing things around the house, driving to work and some of the more tedious data-entry that’s required in my job has helped me shake lose areas where my stories are stuck. Plus, because she has so many different interviews, it lets me grow my perspective on what others do.
So that’s it. That’s my list of people who have helped me keep my motivation as I work my way through finishing some of my projects that I have on my task list right now. These are my own opinions, as always, and I’m not receiving any compensation for recommendations made on this blog.
Who inspires you when you’re doing non-writing things?