- Writing Contests: A writing contest—and its deadline—is a great motivator, plus a contest win provides a nice pat on the back, an addition to your writing resume, and potential feedback from contest judges.
- Blog: (I had to mention this one, right?) Keeping a blog encourages a regular writing practice, involves you in conversation with the online writing community, and helps develop your platform for future marketing efforts. For more thoughts on blogging, read this post.
- Conferences: Where better to regain your fire for writing? Conferences bring together writers, both experienced and inexperienced, editors, agents, and other industry professionals. Attend a conference for a dose of inspiration mixed with craft and market info.
- Smile File: Also known as a brag box, this is a collection of affirming feedback. I keep an email folder where I store glowing letters from freelance clients and the occasional message from a fan. (Okay, one letter from a librarian who read my short story in Cricket and wanted to know if I wrote a book based on it…and I treasure it!) I also keep a running list of things I proud of. I look at it when the going gets tough or I start to feel discouraged.
- Ignore everybody (negative): See The Creative Penn for a review of Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity”—which, apparently, includes blogging as a creativity booster.
What about you—have any tricks to staying motivated through the ups and downs of the writing life?