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As a writer, one of the hardest struggles you will face is not getting motivated, but staying motivated.
“Can I keep my audience focused and enjoying my work?”
“What if I run out of original ideas? Will people still follow me or will they get bored?”
“I love writing, but I don’t get many followers so I don’t see a point in pursuing it”
If any of these thoughts or ones similar has ever crossed your mind, then you’re not alone. Everyday writers like you and I question whether the work we put out into the world will gain notice and recognition in a sea where thousands of others are doing the same. I’ve thought countless times that giving up writing is what is best for me because of the opinions and harsh critics from others, especially when a particular poem or story garners a low response despite how proud of it I am and how much emotion went into it.
I’d like to share with you a few suggestions on how I stay motivated and push myself on to continue.
How long have you been writing for? Days, weeks, months, years? For me it’s been about 15 years. I’ve been writing since the age of 7, starting in school as a way to keep my mind focused on something for a hobby. Over time I finally started sharing my works with others and when I did, I was proud yet humble. One way I stay motivated is that when I write, I make sure that I’m only writing for myself and that I’m not doing it to impress anyone. If I was to stop something that I had done for so long, especially something I was passionate about, then I would only be letting myself down. Always make sure you’re writing for the right reasons and not to meet other people’s expectations.
If you’re low on motivation, have you tried talking to others in the same community as you? On my Instagram (@pensive_poems) I’m part of a group chat where we share our works and opinions with one another. In doing this, we’ve seen and learned each other’s styles and we’ve inspired and been inspired by one another. That in itself is motivation to keep going because we are a network of creators with nothing but admiration and support for one another. I find this extremely useful as a lot of my friends in my personal life aren’t too interested in writing so having a close network of people is motivating because it encourages you to write and work together.
On the note of working together, collaborations are another way you can motivate yourself to keep going. Creating a piece like a poem or story with someone or being a guest writer for a blog allows you to pursue the work you love while teaming up with someone that may have a different audience as yours. This way you are able to show your work to a new range of people and possibly gain a new loyal audience.
Do all your works tend to remain that same theme or topic? Your lack of motivation may come down to that genre or theme being too niche or even too over-exposed. If it’s a topic as broad as “unrequited love," your post is going to swim in a sea of thousands of similar bits. When using social media platforms such as Instagram, make sure that you use hashtags that are both common but relevant to your works. And don’t be afraid to try new topics! You never know what will inspire you to make your next masterpiece.
Finally, the largest burdening thought of them all:
“Why should I keep writing when no one likes my work or follows me?”
This is something I’ve spent a lot of time pondering and building on. Since starting @pensive_poems almost 6 months ago, I’ve gained only 200 or so followers. I’m hopeful that I will grow by continuing to market myself, collaborate, and engage with others but I’ve also learned that asking others for advice helps as well. When you open yourself to learn from others you also allow others to find you and engage with you. If we just sit and stare at the ground we will never see the stars so we can’t just post work and expect instant notoriety. We need to continue to reach out for those stars and continue to motivate ourselves and others in order to gain the following we want.
Motivation is one of the biggest struggles that an artist or writer can deal with and these are just some of my thoughts and ideas on the matter. If you like, either leave a comment below and connect with me on Instagram so we can help build a stronger community and support system that will keep new and old writers motivated for years to come!
- Conor Richardson, 2018
a special thank you to Conor for contributing this insightful article! If you would like to be a contributor like Conor, click the button below to send me a message. Please include the idea for your contribution as well as your Instagram handle! I look forward to hearing from you!
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love & light,