You’re listening to The Author Burnout Cure. The show where we put the publishing industry and all sorts of societal messaging under a microscope. I’m your host, Isabel Sterling, published author and master certified coach. In each episode, I’ll teach you specific steps to break up with burnout and reclaim your love of stories. Let’s go!
Hey, authors, welcome to episode 103! Today, we're going to talk about motivation because most of us have this backwards. We tend to think that we need to feel motivated, need to have motivation, in order to start writing.
But it's actually the opposite. You create motivation by writing.
This is why part of the Creative Flow Formula within the Confident Author Academy focuses on consistent writing. When you are able to let go of high stakes stories, things like, “Oh, I need to write a billion words today or else,” and start writing consistently, a lot of fun things happen. Now, I teach all of this in the academy. I have taught also on the podcasts, in a more brief example, with the Four C’s of Consistent Writing. But when you do this, when you start writing consistently, you build momentum in your draft and that momentum increases your motivation to keep writing. It is so hard to feel motivated to do something when you are not doing it.
Think about, OK, I'm not a runner. I will just say I have in the past; you know, I've run a couple of 5Ks in my twenties. We've not done that in a long time. But I do remember that you feel a lot more motivated to continue running for your full run once you are a few minutes in and you've warmed up a little bit and you're in it. That's when the motivation kicks in. You don't feel motivated typically at the very beginning because brains hate to start things, they hate to expend energy. So, getting started is always that hardest part. And the same is true in writing.
If you have not been writing for weeks, you're not going to feel motivated to start. Typically. That is not the emotion you want to wait for. Because if you wait to feel motivated, you might never start. So, you don't want to wait for that emotion. Instead, you want to look for things like willingness or courage or curiosity. You need something that is low stakes and doable. And once you have something that's low stakes, something that feels easy and you feel willing to do it, even if you're a little bit uncomfortable or you are curious enough about the story to just get started and not put a lot of pressure on figuring it all out or having a super long session, you get back into action, you get writing again and then through that process of consistently writing, you are building up your motivation to keep going.
And then when you are adding celebration at the end of your sessions, you're creating this positive feedback loop that makes your brain crave the next writing session. And since you are now being more focused and getting more work done in the hours you've allotted, the little voice that says, “You haven't done enough,” that's easier to ignore. And so, each time you celebrate a writing session, each time you enjoy writing, you are making deposits in your Motivation Bank.
All right. So, I'll talk to you about the Motivation Bank because this is a concept that I think is so useful to think about and really emphasize why celebration is so important.
So, your Motivation Bank, you can add deposits to it in a lot of different ways. So, if you get an email from a reader who loved your book and you can, like, physically in your body, like accept that appreciation or accept, or receive more than accept, receive their appreciation, receive their email, makes a deposit in your Motivation Bank. It's a reminder of why you do this work. Seeing fan art can be a deposit in your Motivation Bank when you can remind yourself like people are really connecting with what I do.
Getting great feedback from your agent can add a deposit to your Motivation Bank. It's a reminder, “Hey, this is working. I have someone great on my team.” Journaling about the parts of writing that you love or why telling stories matters to you, putting that on paper again, you're adding deposits to your Motivation Bank. Also, just reading great books and being able to feel transported by the power of the written word and being able to remember just how magical stories are, can add deposits to your Motivation Bank.
And the reason that this is important, we want to build that account up as high as possible and always be adding to it, is that publishing plot twists, the things like canceled books, bad reviews, a lower advance than you wanted, whatever, all of the things that can feel not great, those typically take hefty withdrawals. Things that feel bad, our brain is like, “Zoop,” and just looks right at it and it is like, “This thing, let me focus on it and let me fixate on it.”
So, when those big, hefty withdrawals come out of your Motivation Bank, if you have built it up high enough by constantly adding to it, you're not going to feel as depleted. And again, the deposits tend to be small, the things that we are adding to it, the little bit of like, “Oh, I got a great email from my reader. That's so sweet,” or, “I had a really great writing session,” or, “I got invited to do this thing,” like you were adding those smaller deposits, but you want to add a lot of them. Constantly be adding. Because the withdrawals are usually really big: the canceled book, the low sales, the mean review, the getting asked to rewrite your book again, Barnes and Noble not stocking any of your backlist. Like those things can pull a huge chunk of your, I don't know the motivation in your bank. I guess that's the way to say it. The motivation in your bank can pull a lot of it out. And so, you constantly need to be making more deposits so that those withdrawals that will inevitably come and they will, because this is a tough industry, you are still going to have plenty of motivation in your bank to keep going.
And when you're able to keep going and still have fun, that is how you thrive in an industry as weird as ours. That's how you get to enjoy book releases, instead of getting overwhelmed during each launch. It's how you can finish books without ever getting burnt out, and it's how you can pivot when your plans fall apart.
So, as you think about your Motivation Bank, I want you to make a list of all of the things that you feel like feed you creatively. The things that make you more excited to keep going. And so, writing consistently, celebrating your writing sessions, maybe it's listening to certain music or listening to certain podcasts. Or maybe it's getting the reviews or it's going on a writing retreat that might be a massive deposit to your Motivation Bank. Or talking to your editor or your agent that can be a huge deposit as you're getting excited about what's to come for your future.
This is also why I highly recommend every day giving yourself at least 5 to 10 minutes to just journal about your author career, about why writing matters to you, about what you're excited for and to be bringing your brain back to all of the things that are working. And to all of the things that do feel good, so you can be every day adding to your Motivational Bank. Because again, those withdrawals are always going to happen. Like in publishing, there is always going to be something at some point that does not feel good. Again, whether it's on the publisher side, whether it's on the reader side, whether it's does your own frustration with your writing process, there's always going to be something to pull out. So, we need to be intentionally adding to our Motivation Bank.
And that is the work that we do in the Confident Author Academy. It's a six-month private coaching program that teaches you everything you need to know to be continually filling your Motivation Bank so that you are able to create a calm, confident sustainable author career, no matter what happens. Because something will happen.
I don't think I have; I'm just going through my brain. I don't think I know a single author. I can't think of a single one who has never had something frustrating happen since they have sold their first book. Every single one has had something that has either knocked their confidence or frustrated them or just taken a withdrawal from their Motivation Bank.
And so that is why I want you to be in the Confident Author Academy, so you can learn the skills to not ever have that bank account run dry. The curriculum that I've created is broken into four essential pillars. I teach you the Joyful Writing Protocol, the Creative Flow Formula, where we talk about the Motivation Bank in much more detail, the Authentic Marketing Method, and the Empowered Author Principles.
These four pillars, all of those lessons combined with the weekly coaching, that is what gives you the skills that you need to be a career author. To write for the rest of your life if that's what you want.
I am currently enrolling new clients into this program. The spaces are limited for 2024. So, use the link in my bio to schedule a free consultation to learn more and secure your spot in the Confident Author Academy. I want just to spend the next six months really developing all of the skills that you need to have the author career that you really, really want. The one that you deserve. One where you can tell amazing stories and publish them into the world and not be knocked down by the weird shit that happens.
All right friends. That's all I have for you this week. It is a short and sweet episode. A couple of longer ones more recently.
So go forward, be journaling and filling up your Motivational Bank, schedule that consultation to learn more about the Confident Author Academy, and come back here next week for the next episode.
Until then, happy writing.
Ready to control your author career, meet deadlines without burnout, and actually enjoy releasing your next novel? I can help with that. Go to isabelsterling.com/coaching to learn more and schedule your free consultation.