You dream of becoming a professional writer, but in an industry where hard work goes hand in hand with rejection and there’s little, if any, instant gratification, how can you stay motivated to fulfil your dream?
Where it all started…
I was eleven when I decided I wanted to become a writer. I remember the moment vividly. I’d stayed up late, reading a book I’d fallen in love with and couldn’t put down until I finished (sadly I can’t remember the name of that book). With a torch beneath the bedcovers, as my reading light, that was the moment I knew. I wanted to write something that absorbed someone like this book had me; I wanted to learn how to tell a compelling story. I closed the book, ran my fingers over the turquoise and white glossy cover and imagined my own name on the cover. A dream was born.
Let’s face it, some writers don’t write full time.
The common case scenario involves working a fixed hour job, taking care of your home, dropping kids off at school, dealing with bills, trying to do all the extra lifting to get the writing and reading community notice you exist and by the time this is all done, you have only an hour to yourself which you just want to use to rest before doing it all over again. So you are tired and on your fourth cup of coffee and trying to remember what your book was about in the first place or where you left that tiny piece of paper with the scribble that just might be the idea you need to make your book work. And here I am trying to get you to get motivated to write.
But you want to be motivated.
There’s never enough time. This seems to be a universal truth, whether you work for a living, attend school full-time, or are a primary caregiver to a child or family member. All of your responsibilities may leave you wondering how you can possibly complete your novel
And yet, there’s also no shortage of stories about writers getting published despite hectic schedules. Stephen King is a great example. He moonlighted as a janitor and gas pump attendant for years to make ends meet, on top of teaching high school English, writing in what little time he had left after work and parenting responsibilities.
So, how do you make time to write? I’m afraid I don’t have the be-all, end-all answer to this question, but I will tell you what worked for me.
The Age of the Age Range
Young Middle Grade, early readers, chapter books? On the 5-7 shelf in WHSmiths, or the 6-8 shelf at Barnes and Noble? Where do they fit, and who are they for? Well, according to Caroline Abbey, senior editor at Random House: ‘Chapter books are … where a love of independent reading is born’. So wherever you decide to put them, they’re important.
Emma is the author of YA novel The Million Pieces of Neena Gill (July 2019, Penguin Random House). She is represented by Jo Unwin.
Chio Zoe is a Young Adult Fantasy writer. Her debut novel To Cross a Blade amd Dagger placed her as a finalist in the Breakthrough Novel Awards. She is currently working on book 2 scheduled to be released in 2019.
AJ. Sass is a fiction-writing figure skater, inclined toward adventures of a traveling nature. He is autistic, non-binary, and keen on exploring how gender identity and neurodiversity impact character narratives.
A.J. is represented by Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. His middle grade debut, ANA ON THE EDGE, will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Fall 2020.
Emma Read is the author of Middle Grade debut, Milton the Mighty – shortlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award, published by Chicken House in 2019. The sequel will be out in spring 2020. She is a mentor with WriteMentor Sparks and runs creative writing workshops for children in KS2.