Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 3 (Motivation)

Thank you for coming along and checking out the third instalment of my writing journey.

In today’s Living the Dream, I’ll be picking apart something that has at various different stages been both a great friend and a bitter enemy. It’s more a mental impactor than a physical one, but it’s also perhaps the most important ingredient. You can’t have too much of it; only too little.

That ingredient is motivation.

Let’s see a metaphorical hand count of how many people have lacked this most vital of mental attributes at some point or another. How many times have you known you had to do something, but really can’t pick yourself up in order to do it?

Motivation is so important. It really can make or break you. A lack of it can see you produce something so bereft of quality that you either ruin it irreparably or need to start all over again. You can rarely wing it if your head and heart aren’t in it.

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It’s something that I struggled with for the longest time where my writing is concerned. I went for years making excuses for not writing. The worst one (and it was one I used so many times) was that I couldn’t write unless my mind was clear to do so otherwise the quality would be lacking. I had to be ‘in the zone’. What made that excuse so annoying when I look back is that it’s kind of accurate and sounds so kosher to a layman.

The problem was that it was utter crap! It was no more kosher than stealing a car! It was an awful excuse and I have no idea how I convinced myself it wasn’t. While my writing quality is certainly impacted by not being ‘in the zone’ it doesn’t stop me working on other things. Brainstorming, character profiling, revising blow by blow accounts…all doable without being in the zone and, generally, once I do any of those things I find I’m soon back in that infernal zone.

I think it was a mixture of laziness and self-doubt. It seems so silly now because writing is second nature. I do it every day without fail. Whether I’m working on a new blog post or my stories, I always find time to crack open the laptop and hit the keys. It’s my escape. I just wish I could tell the old me to cut the crap when he used to make the excuses .

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This used to be the wallpaper on my laptop screen to help motivate myself into writing

Motivation is what’s prevented me from finishing stories too. Those of you who write yourselves will probably be all too familiar with those stories you started writing, got so far with and then never went back to for no particular reason.

I have two unfinished stories on my laptop; both of which I’ve mentioned in my previous Living the Dream posts. Horror Holiday’s first instalment is complete, but I got so far through editing the second and then just left it one day and never returned. In A Love Worth Dying For, the main character wakes the morning after he meets the main female and that’s where his tale has been left for probably about or seven or eight years.

When will I return to them? Will I return to them? They’re so far in my past now and I’m so into my current project that I really can’t foresee an occasion where I might end up picking up where I left off with either. Actually typing that there makes me feel a little despondent…

You could probably call my motivation into question where those unfinished stories are concerned, but that’s more because I’m putting my motivation into things that I feel carry greater odds for success. Horror Holiday is something I created at fourteen years old via a love for dance music, Ibiza, sex and Friday 13th movies. It’s barely the kind of story that has ‘best seller’ written all over it. A Love Worth Dying For is a much stronger bet, but I’d likely have to start from scratch. The plot is pretty decent, but my writing style has changed a lot since I started writing it about ten years ago.

Motivation is something I don’t struggle to find nowadays. In fact I get frustrated on those days when I can’t work on my writing as much as I’d like. If I’m not writing I’m thinking about it; coming up with ideas for new stories or ways to improve my current project. I have so many different documents dedicated to just one particular story because I’m always thinking of different things to help make my journey smoother.

I decided recently (after a confab with my proof-reader – fellow WordPress blogger, Steve) that I would change an element in the prologue of my story. As a result, I’m having to go through it all again to alter all the parts that now need it thanks to that one change. Initially, the thought of doing so had me sighing like a teenager, but I’ve cracked on with it and the changes have improved the story in my opinion. Without that motivation I’d probably still be stuck with the first edit and convincing myself it was good enough.

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I’ve had those times in my life where motivation deserted me aside from my writing too; usually manifesting itself as a fear of failure or rejection. I was going to enter a DJing competition in a local bar when I was twenty. I had my set all prepared and I was ready to go. I didn’t go in the end because I completely lost my nerve. That competition could well have seen the start of a dream career for me. DJing has always been as big a dream as becoming a published author.

That same fear has prevented me from going on dates with girls in the past too. Admittedly that particular side of things hasn’t worked out badly in the end, but you get my drift. I think a fear of rejection is a lack of motivation manifesting itself in other ways. You aren’t motivated enough to believe in yourself.

I still have problems with it, but luckily not where my writing is concerned. My mentality where that’s concerned now is that I’d rather fail having tried my best than not try at all. It’s not the worst thing that’s ever going to happen to me if a hundred publishers take a look at my story and decide that it’s not worth their effort. It’s definitely worth mine!

I have doubts; of course I do. The story I’ve written is really long. I have it on good authority that publishers don’t like long stories from newcomers. I’ve heard from other sources that they won’t even entertain it. You know what? That’s fine by me. The way I see it is it’s their loss if they won’t so much as check it out. Self-publishing will still be there even if they aren’t.

So there you have it. I have a dream and I’m not giving up on it. I’m motivated by one day seeing a story I wrote on a bookshelf. I’ll keep going until it happens or I die; whichever comes first. The only reason for that is because I’m finally, thankfully motivated to achieve something I want.

Who knows; if I make a success of the writing maybe I’ll have another stab at DJing…

Do you find motivation is something you struggle with? Has a lack of motivation prevented you from achieving something? Has motivation and perseverance helped you achieve something you never thought you would? Tell me about your experiences and ask any questions you might have below and I will respond in due course. Thanks for reading!

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64 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 3 (Motivation)

  1. Another great post, Paul! Its evident that you take your writing very seriously and spend lots of time on it–good on ya! I related to what you said about making excuses; I do it all the time. I will paint when I have the space, the time, better paints, better ideas. I have damn near deified my art materials to the point where I won’t work with them because I am saving them for “a really good idea.” My MOST flagrant excuse is that I cannot create unless I have plenty of uninterrupted time to devote to it; sketching or painting for 20 or 30 minutes here or there is abhorrent, but I am trying to change my habits. Thanks again for the post; it is comforting to know that someone who obviously has motivation struggled with it at some point 😉 ~cheers! Tamtastic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had to adapt to getting in half an hour of writing here and there since becoming a dad. It’s either that or not write at all. Still, I have to fight against demotivation often, but I’ve built some resilience against it.
      It can be difficult, but you’ll eventually reach that crossroads where you realise that procrastination is one of your worst enemies. It’ll happen for you before long and you’ll create something you didn’t even realise you had in you 🙂

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      1. Thanks for the encouragement, Paul. Getting older has lit a bit of a fire under my butt lately…”What if I die with all these stories and places in me?” It’s a motivating thought, the fear of dying without any legacy. I was recently diagnosed as infertile, so my creations are all I will be leaving behind: I want them to be numerous and amazing (like how I wanted my kids to be!) 😀 Ironically, I am learning to create like a parent, as you do, in small fits and bursts.

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      2. I’m really sorry to hear about that shitty bit of news. That must suck! If it inspires you to want to leave a lasting legacy though then there are positives to be gleaned from it I guess. You definitely sound like the sort of person with the capability to do amazing things. Make them happen. I won’t say the human world deserves what you have to give, but you deserve to make them happen for yourself

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      3. Thanks for that; I have come to see infertility as a blessing in disguise. Without the responsibility and financial burden of children I am free to do whatever I desire; now to discover what it is that I want to do. I have many interests, a few talents and lots of spirit; the hardest part is figuring out what to put my energy into! That is my crisis 😉

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      4. That is the kind of crisis I’d love to have. Kind of like a football manager who can’t decide which team to field because he has too many good players.
        I’m glad you take a positive outlook on the situation. I never wanted kids so I too had to take a positive outlook on my own. In many ways my son inspires me to make a success of my writing. A yearning to make him proud of me

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      5. I’d love to concur, but astrology is one of my pet hates. Haha. You’ve certainly got the grey matter to make amazing things happen for yourself. That’s half the battle won. And you don’t strike me as the kind who might become ones own worst enemy. If your art is as good as your blog then it’s guaranteed to be superb.
        I will do all in my power to make it so. I’ve got the determination required

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      6. As for the resiliency you mentioned: do you write on a regular schedule. Even when you don’t want to? I have struggled to make the forced creative schedule work for me but have always failed for one reason or another. I had decided it just wasn’t “for me” but I do have my doubts.

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      7. No; there’s no real schedule at all. I operate very much on an ‘as and when’ basis. Some days I don’t get to write at all (those days frankly blow in the worst way) while others I can compose, arrange and schedule a whole post as well as work on my novel. Those are the best kind of days. I honestly love writing so much. It’s my therapy in a world so full of base desires and idiocy. I’m enlightened regularly by the fascinating folk I meet on WordPress too, which only serves to spur me on 🙂

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      8. I, too, find the community is honest writers enlightening, their works engaging, their candid revelations encouraging. I have some troubles using the word “therapy” to describe the purpose of my work; a hold over from art college when my professor insisted that wasn’t “reason enough to create.” I am trying the word on again for a while to see if it fits.

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      9. That’s a bit of a sweeping statement from your professor. Your work is what it is to you and if therapy is what it is then they have no call to say otherwise. Writing is more than therapy to me. There are many levels to it; therapy being just one segment of the layer cake. The fact that I get a buzz out of it is probably the icing. Do what works for you and I look forward to seeing what comes of it

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      10. Thanks for that; I have come to see infertility as a blessing in disguise. Without the responsibility and financial burden of children I am free to do whatever I desire; now to discover what it is that I want to do. I have many interests, a few talents and lots of spirit; the hardest part is figuring out what to put my energy into! That is my crisis 😉

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  2. Sorry, I misunderstood. It sounded like you were poohpoohing the whole idea of people getting off on different fetishes, not just the book. You could tell the lady had very little clue when she wrote it. Anyway. Moving on. Lol
    Are you thinking of using beta readers? I’ve heard some people do that.
    And yes my kids book was sooo bad. 33 people read it and downloaded it. And it was free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 33 eh? I don’t have 33 followers yet. Stop pouting. Haha.
      What people get off on is their business. I don’t judge in that regard.
      I won’t shit you…this is the first time I’ve heard the term ‘beta reader’. Can you explain or shall I consult Sir Google of Googleshire?

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      1. Hahaha Sir google! That cracked me up. As far as I can tell, you just have a group of readers that read or write in you genre, tell you what they like or don’t about the book. They give feedback mostly.

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  3. Motivation is not my middle name. I’ll have it in spades, then nada, nothing, zilch. I usually just do something else and then come back to it. If I force it, I end up hating it and never doing said activity again. I’m glad you’ve figured out a system that works for you to keep motivated. 🖒😆

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    1. It sounds you basically have what I had, but in a different and perhaps more honest way. I think my crack at trying to make it as a DJ up to about eighteen months ago was probably procrastination. Not downplaying my quality as DJ; I know I’m pretty good. Writing has always been my niche though (I think, I hope).
      My system is quite simple. I hate menial jobs and I don’t have the academic qualifications to get anything more than a menial job. So my choices are thus; work menial jobs, get depressed and probably kill myself eventually because I hate life and myself OR try and achieve something that I want. When I put it in that simple a way it’s a no-brainer

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      1. I intend to. I’ve got a little person here (currently swirling a TMNT sword around his head and talking gibberish behind his dummy) who I’d like for to be able to announce to his friends that his dad is a successful author. Giving up is not an option

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      2. I do my best. Some pieces are better than others, but it’ll always be the way that people will gravitate more towards the posts that they can relate to. I’d like to reach a point where they read just because I’ve posted, then I’ll know I’m on the rise

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      3. Your doing great, I think. I have noticed that about the posts. It’s just a matter of finding the niche of people that relate to what you want write about I guess. And hey, I read your stuff just because you’ve posted it. So there.☺

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      4. That’s because you’re quite obviously, to put it as Mancunian as I can, proper mint! Haha. I’m honestly really appreciative for my readers. Definitely makes the effort seem worth it, especially if they’re really enjoying what I write. I’m due to post again tomorrow, but that’ll mean leaving my editing to one side which will annoy me

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      5. I haven’t started on those yet. Is that series your main baby? I’ll try and make a start on it today. I’m supposed to be posting myself today, but really not sure I want to cut into my editing time. Decisions, decisions…

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      6. I’m lucky I only write the one story; though you’ve inspired me to post a story I wrote a few months ago. I’ll have to do it in the same way you do though. A chapter a time. It’s too long to be considered a short story by the letter of the literary law

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      7. Apparently a short story is less than 7.5k words. This one is about 10-11k so it’s officially a ‘novelette’. Whatever! It’s first person again, but honestly this one and the one I posted the other week are the only first person stories I’ve ever written. I prefer third person

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      8. They do indeed, but I feel I’m better writing in the third person narrative. I like to imagine myself watching and describing unfolding events rather than being the person the events are happening to and describing them.
        I will get around to reading Penny Riding. That and your other stuff. It’s on my to do list

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      9. That’s just it. The desert island story wasn’t tough because I was the only person there so only my perspective really mattered. The one I’m posting tomorrow (well, the first chapter) is a lot more complex

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      10. Editing my novel, I’ve only come across one occasion thus far where I’ve mistaken names and there are a lot of them. I’m actually delighted with how few mistakes I’ve made for such a huge story

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      11. Yes. About the length of novels I’ve always read. So when I saw that publishers aren’t interested in anything longer than about 70k words from first timers you can imagine my frustration. That’s why it’s imperative I build up some kind of reputation beforehand, hence the blog

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      12. Nope. I can split it into three separate segments, but they’d never pass as separate books. Even as a three parter, each part would need some kind of ending and I wouldn’t be able to make that so without pretty much changing the whole story

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      13. It doesn’t have to have a definite ending, just a lull. I’ve read book series like that, It seems a publisher would want something already written that they could work into a trilogy. Trilogies seem to be big.

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      14. Perhaps, but I don’t see the point if there are already books out there of a similar length. I’d only be doing it because I’m a first timer and that just seems a bit stupid. My being a first timer shouldn’t mean I have to do something I feel is detrimental to the flow of a story I’ve been working on for over half a decade. I’d rather just write a whole new 70k word story to be honest. I probably will at some point

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      15. Yes I see your point, and maybe someone will decide that they want a long formed book to publish. As I’ve said, I’m definitely not in the know when it comes to publishers. I’m sure that the right publisher will come along for it, when your ready.

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      16. I only know what I’ve read and there are a lot of doomsayers. But if a shockingly bad story like 50 Shades can get published then I live in hope. Haha. If it gets rejection after rejection then I’ll return to the drawing board and work on something new, but this story is staying as is. If I change it now it’ll become unrecognisable

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      17. Yes, I see. I’m sure it will get someone to pick it up. For one, you have so much to work with.
        I read all three of 50 shades, and was disappointed on many levels. I do read the romance/smut genre, and I have read much much better ones on my Kindle for 99 cents. It was a strange anomaly, just enough kink for the vanilla ladies to take it seriously? Also the plot was a bit eh.. but who am I to say what is great, I don’t have a book out there. Well there is that kids book but that’s best left forgotten. lol

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      18. That’s just the thing. The whole series is about getting bored/boring women excited in some weird way. The sad thing is that it bloody worked. A story about a level 3 sex offender actually gave women a thrill. Says all you need to know about modern society and how fucked it is.
        My story isn’t anything original or mould breaking. It’s about a young navy man from the early 18th century and what happens to him after some major shit kicks off in the prologue. I’ve got four other stories planned in the series too.
        Kids book? You never mentioned that before…

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      19. I’m going to agree to disagree about the variations of human sexuality. But your book sounds interesting and are these 4 others going to be as long as the first? I would think that the possibility of it being a series of big books might be exciting for publishers.
        I may have amazon self published a kids book in 2013 about a girl who meets a troll. It was short. It was boring. It was sappy as fuck. Lol

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      20. I’m not talking about sexuality as such. More about the fact that the people reading it don’t realise Christian Grey is a level 3 sex offender. I only know because I know a fetishist and he explained it to me. And most women I know who loved it are really boring. That’s just a fact. Haha.
        Yes, the succeeding four will be as long. I’ve already started on the second instalment. I will approach agents when I’m happy with how the story is looking. This second edit is hopefully the final one.
        I want to read it. I bet it’s nowhere near as bad as you reckon

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  4. Another great read. You and I have recently touched on my fear of peaking too soon with my blog. Your words, suggestions and willingness to push me have given me the motivation to continue. Fear of rejection comes to everyone at some point, it’s how we deal with it that makes us strong and help with the motivation to do what we want. I love your writing and am so looking forward to reading the revised part one.

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    1. Sometimes just a few encouraging words can instil motivation. People should never devalue or discredit the positive effect their support can have on somebody. Your nice words could be what spurs them on that day. You’ve been a source of motivation since I started blogging. I would say my source to be honest.
      The fear of rejection is no longer enough to dissuade me. I’m more fearful of not trying.
      as for the story, making great progress. 178 pages edited yesterday and the day before. I’m about to get on with it again now

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      1. All I’m doing is telling you what I see if your writing. I know your goal, your dream and if my telling you the truth is helping you write or to think about changes in something then I’ve achieved my goal of assisting you

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      2. As I’ve said already, if I get published and I’m earning enough from it I’m employing you in some capacity. We’ll discuss the ins and outs of the role when the time comes, but I want people I can trust around me and you’ve never let me down. The total opposite in fact!

        Liked by 1 person

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