It’s hard to believe Midwest Writers Workshop happened about two months ago.
Which means, it’s that time of year when . . .
Some of us on the committee ask this burning question:
What are some ways writers keep themselves motivated in between conferences?
This is an excellent question, and we don’t think we’re alone with it. We consider ourselves very enthusiastic when it comes to writing. But, so many things can happen to take down our enthusiasm. We might have come home from MWW, sent out the requested material, and waited. Maybe we are still waiting.
Or we didn’t get a request at all.
Maybe we got cold feet once we got home, and told ourselves we needed to revise before we sent the requested material–and we’re still revising. Quite possibly, we didn’t end up sending the material at all.
Did you know? A large number of writers don’t send in the material that was requested at conferences at all? Nada. Zip.
And truth be told, some people who do send in their requested material never hear back from the person who requested it at conference.
But shake all of that off.
On a happy note, others may have book contracts by now (waving at Annie Sullivan.) Or they’ve gotten an agent.
The truth is, no matter what has happened–or not happened since conference, our enthusiasm for writing might be lagging a bit.
Probably the biggest reason is that we’re not spending enough time with other writers, like we did when we were in our MWW conference bubble.
So, we’ve created a list of the Top 3 Ways to Keep Yourself Writing
1. Stay engaged with other writerly people in RL (Real Life) any way you can.
Do a search and find out what’s going on around you. Go to that book signing that is an hour away (and put on your extroverted expression and talk to some people). Go to a lecture at a college, because all thoughts on any topic can stimulate your writing. Join a book club, if just for one session. Coordinate a writers lunch get-together, even if the people don’t write in your genre, or are earlier in their journeys than you are (even if you secretly think everything they write is weird). Just do something. You’ll feel better and write with more enthusiasm. We call this being a good literary citizen.
2. Sign up for an online course.
Let’s face it. Some of us live in outlying areas. MWW committee member Cathy Shouse lives in what was literally a cornfield. Some nights, the coyotes are “talking” with her dogs. So she’s learned that a good, interactive online course is just what she needs to keep focused on her writing goals. She likes to be in a virtual class with writers. (Note: MWW has a program called MWW Ongoing that offers exceptional, unique, interactive online courses. See details below).
3. Develop your online presence (which also secretly builds your platform).
Reach out to publishing people on social media. If you read a blog, leave a comment, even if it is as simple as “I enjoyed this. Good job!” Follow authors you like on Facebook. If they ask a question, join in and respond to it. When you have a following on FB, you can ask people questions–and they may actually answer.
BONUS: Renew your writing enthusiasm by watching the MWW17 highlights video below, created by Matt Shouse.
Just over 3 minutes long, use the video to play a game. First, see if you can find yourself.
Next, see if you can find these publishing all-stars in the footage, because it was a Who’s Who of publishing this summer. Some of them are named, but many go by too quickly for that. So whether you can spot them or not, go visit their websites. Check out the free samples of their books. Follow them on Facebook, send out a Tweet, or even drop them a fan letter (“charming note”) email.
The following are some names to look for: Angie Thomas, Becky Albertalli, Annie Sullivan, Jessica Strawser, Amy Reichert, Summer Heacock, Nina Sadowsky, John Gilstrap, Agent/author Eric Smith, and the list goes on, and on.
To see what course we’re currently offering online, here’s the link to MWW Ongoing. (Good News: you can still register and catch up on the lessons!) Email Director Jama at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the classes or if you want to join. AND get ready for October because Dianne Drake’s new course “The Building Blocks of a Great Novel” is coming down the track. Details coming soon.
Now, if this message and material has helped you, would you do us a favor? Please forward this message to a writer friend who might enjoy it. If you feel like it, suggest that they subscribe to our MWW e-newsletter.
And we would love for you to say who you spotted in the video that made you smile. Please tell us on our Facebook page.
Let’s all get back to writing.