Editor’s Note 1: I’m going to keep this intro short and sweet. The following post continues yesterday’s call to action for would-be writers who haven’t written their books yet. If author and motivational force Lia Mack can tell death itself to take a backseat to her authorial dreams…
What’s your excuse?
1: FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
What motivates you as a writer? Seriously?
Is it seeing your name in print? That’s totally okay. No shame in that.
Is it seeing your characters come to life? I genuinely love each and every one of my characters, so I get it. That’s why I’m writing a sequel to Waiting for Paint to Dry to help a character I left in a mess at the end of book 1.
I just couldn’t leave her like that! I’m a total sucker for happily-ever-after…
Whatever your motivation, finding it is individual and unique. For me, it was that I always knew I was a writer and that I was going to write and publish books. That could have been enough, maybe. But I never had the chance to see if just wanting it would be enough to make my dreams happen.
Nope. Instead “life” hit the fan. In my forthcoming memoir, I’ll go into more detail. For now though, I’ll just say that my true motivation came from a near-death experience.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had Lyme Disease, which sent me heading downhill fast. Oh, I looked fine. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t walk, talk or breathe, I looked fine. Which is surprising to say the least! Yet I still felt horrible enough to go to the hospital.
(Now, upon leaving said hospital, I looked like a horrid cross between Albert Einstein and Hillary Clinton. But that’s another story.)
So there I was, lying on the stretcher in the ER, watching what looked to be 80- and 90-year-olds being wheeled by. And it got me thinking. If they hadn’t accomplished what they set out to do in their lives, then that was their fault. They’d had 80 or 90 years to try, fail, succeed or whatever! At least they’d had time.
Me, on the other hand? I was about to die. And since the doctors were basically just shrugging their shoulders and walking away every time my blood pressure spiked before dropping like a mad hatter-styled rollercoaster, I didn’t see any way I was going to make it out okay under their care.
Seriously. I thought I was a goner.
Then again, even when I couldn’t breathe, I was still obstinate. And determined. I think that’s what saved me more than anything else over the years of battling stupid Lyme Disease.
But back at the hospital, here were the 80/90-year-olds who’d had their whole lives to follow their dreams. I, on the other hand, was barely 30.
Where was my time?
Of course, I had definitely had time. But I’d wasted a decade not liking myself enough to invest in me, and hence, write. I had since healed from that self-loathing of my 20s and really did want to write a fictional book based on all that great healing I did! Only now, I was dying.
Oh well, right?
Wrong! I’m obstinate and determined, remember?!
So I made a deal with the Universe. With God. With whatever force out there was listening. Let me get out of here alive, and I WILL write that damn book!
Thankfully, I did make it out alive. Of course, stupid Lyme tried to kill me once more and took a few years away from my book writing, since my brain wasn’t working well enough to touch it without making a mess But damn it! When you find the right motivation, not even illness and episodes of memory loss can stand in your way.
So I did it. I finally finished my novel.
And did it feel good. Thinking about it still brings tears of joy to my eyes almost three years later.
True motivation. It’s in all of us. Hopefully, it doesn’t take a near-death experience (or two) for you to finally write your book. But whatever it is that drives you, use it! Use it for all it’s worth. Because writing a book takes time. Energy. Mental stick-to-it-ness!
So, since you’re a writer, I want you to do a journal entry or two to really dive deep into what motivates you. And when you’re done with that, we’ll move onto step No. 2 to get you to finally writing that book. I mean, let’s face it. Motivation will only get you so far.
You also need a plan.
2: MAKE A PLAN
At one point in my life I wanted to be one of Madonna’s stage dancers. And I could have totally done it. Or at the very, very least tried! I was a semi-professional dancer by the end of high school. I had all the right moves. And I LOVED Madonna and would have traveled the world dancing for her. All I needed was to audition!
But, like so many, many people out there, I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t even look into when auditions would be in a city near me. Poor, dumb, young me...
The most simple yet crucial part of reaching any goal, big or small, insane or savvy, is to make a plan. Only it’s the most skipped-over, ignored part of anyone’s idea of reaching their goals. So it’s no surprise that a lot of people don’t achieve what they intend to do.
What exactly is a plan?
A plan is a series of steps that, when followed in a certain priority, order or sequence, will move you forward toward accomplishing your goal. It really is that simple. Baby steps. And since I’m really good at making plans and holding people accountable, people and businesses hire me all the time to do just that so that they too can reach their goals.
Personally, my favorite online planning tool is Asana. I know there are book-writing specific tools out there, and that’s great. But what I like about Asana is that a) it’s free, and b) it’s gamified. Oh, and it’s pretty simple to use. Hence it’s the project management tool I rely on for not only myself but the majority of my clients.
Want a quick demo of how to set up your Book Plan in Asana? Check out my free tutorial here!
What would a plan to write a book look like, you ask? Well, outlines and chapter ideas are the perfect place to start! Just like this...
Write out your outline and/or chapter titles.
Make a list.
See right there? A plan of attack! Yep, it’s just that simple.
I’m sure there are other ways, but this is the way that works best for me, whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction.
Only, how and when are you going to write each step of your plan to make it from Prologue to Epilogue?
Keep reading, my fellow writing friend. Keep reading…
Editor’s Note 2: Lia Mack’s “3 Things You Need to FINALLY Write That Book – Part 3”… and step 3… come tomorrow.