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piscesgirl80
12-10-2006, 08:41 PM
I was recently excited to see that a website I enjoy is looking for some columnists. After starting to think about which articles I should send for the requested 3 samples, and brainstorming about what topics to submit as possible columns, etc., I started second-guessing myself.

"You're not going to get it anyway, and it will be a lot of work re-typing those articles, you won't be able to come up with good subjects," etc., etc.

I almost always do this (granted, in life in general, not just writing-related stuff)--any suggestions on how to psych myself up, not out?

Scarlett_156
12-10-2006, 08:50 PM
Acquire a drug habit. That will motivate you to find ways to make money that you never thought existed.

I guess that was a flippant answer, but if I had simply said: "No, I can't think of any ways," that woulda sounded kinda flippant, too.

I don't have the same problem, personally-- if I can't find the motivation to take on a particular project, I know that sooner or later something will come along that WILL make me want to find the energy and the time to work.

Writing articles is something that I too have a hard time getting started with, though. My heart just aint in it, most of the time. What I usually do is try to have the ed suggest some topics that need to be written about, or send me something to review. If that doesn't work, then make a long list of things you could write about and spend a day picking the three that could hold your interest the best. Then: Start writing.

I hope this was helpful!

Azure Skye
12-10-2006, 09:31 PM
I do this a lot in my own life. Sometimes I listen and end up not doing anything. Sometimes I just plow through and find I had the capability to do what needed to be done and more. From my own personal experience, I suggest just plowing through and going ahead anyway. Let the little annoying voice have its say but just don't let it stop you. Please don't let it stop you. Good luck.

Kudra
12-10-2006, 09:58 PM
Pick the best idea, allot a time and deadline, and just get to it.

jenfreedom
12-10-2006, 10:03 PM
Think about the money! That always helps me those darn bills like to get paid and my son prefers eating over not eating. If I get nervous about writing I repeat "work at home vs office job and bad co-workers and having to go to bed at a decent hour and listen to a boss on a daily basis" in my head. This motivates me. I hate outside jobs.

Take care
~ Jennifer

Simon Woodhouse
12-11-2006, 12:03 AM
My first reaction when I'm sent a subject for an article is to panic. More often than not I'm being asked to write something on a subject I know nothing about (usually to do with personal finance very boring). However, I take a couple of deep breaths, start on the research, and so far I haven't come across anything I couldn't write about.

The most difficult thing for me is staying motivated. If it's a series of articles, and they're going to take a couple of days to write, it can be really hard to stayed focused on a subject that's as interesting as watching paint dry. This will sound a bit shallow, but it's the thought of the money that keeps me going. I do take pride in what I write, and I always make sure I do the best I can, but there are always dollar signs in my eyes whilst I'm doing it.

Evaine
12-11-2006, 12:04 AM
It's a female thing.
I've just been reading a book by Naomi Wolf called Fire With Fire in which she describes this very problem as something that holds women back in the workplace. Looking back, I could see myself doing exactly the same thing.
I think we just have to learn to ignore the self-doubt and go for it.

PeeDee
12-13-2006, 06:35 PM
My first reaction when I'm sent a subject for an article is to panic. More often than not I'm being asked to write something on a subject I know nothing about (usually to do with personal finance very boring). However, I take a couple of deep breaths, start on the research, and so far I haven't come across anything I couldn't write about.

What I do is this: I go read one quick item on the subject (be it a book summary, a page of a book, a quick web-site link). This takes five minutes. After that, I write a first draft of the article, with whatever angle that occured to me during that five minutes of reading. The article is mostly garbage, because I have no idea what I'm really talking about.

Then, I do a second draft and some more reading based on the direction I'm apparently going in.

If all else fails, I Make More Stuff Up until it sounds good. It got me through college pretty well. :)

(I don't know why you'd come to a fiction writer for your serious article, honestly.)

PeeDee
12-13-2006, 06:36 PM
"You're not going to get it anyway, and it will be a lot of work re-typing those articles, you won't be able to come up with good subjects," etc., etc.

I almost always do this (granted, in life in general, not just writing-related stuff)--any suggestions on how to psych myself up, not out?

To answer the original question: There's no miracle cure for this but it is something you have to get over if you're going to keep writing.

After all, you're not going to sell that article, you probably won't sell that story, you won't sell your novel, and you'll eventually die with nothing written to your name.....
....unless you do something about it. There's no way around thinking like that, except to say "I'll damn well do it anyway," and then send it to someone.

Being a writer requires, I think, a certain amount of cutzpah. I can't even spell the word. Arg.

greglondon
12-13-2006, 07:31 PM
any suggestions on how to psych myself up, not out?

Oh there are dozens of things you might do. Which one works best for you depends on what's going on for you and how you psych yourself up or down.

Is there any baggage behind the "You're not going to get it anyway ... you won't be able to come up with good subjects," line of thinking? You might want to look at where that comes from and clean house. Writing is a learnable skill, so whatever stuff you have hanging around that says "you can't write" is emotional baggage. identify it. tag it. chuck it.

You might want to consider what higher purpose you serve by writing. It could be as simple as you have something to say that people want to read. It could be that you're writing to change the world. Maybe you want to put food on your table, which is an honorable goal itself.

You might be more prone to being action oriented. In that case, just friggen write. And keep writing. And don't stop writing. And you may find the downer thoughts are banished. I tend to go in my head when I stop writing. If I start writing, I stop a lot of self criticism.

There are a bunch of ways to psych yourself up. The thing is figuring out which one works for you.

I do life coaching, which I describe as "helping you get out of your own way" and its all about finding out what the client really wants and figure out what works for them so I can help them get out of their own way and get what they want. There is no set answer, there is no right way to do it. Just do what works for you.

And write.

;)

Freckles
12-13-2006, 08:05 PM
Hi PG -- I second-guessed myswlf about my own columnists job. Part of me didn't even want to apply -- I saw this as the big time, and I didn't think I was ready at all. But, I went for it anyway, and it's honestly the best thing that's happened to me this year. I've blossomed as a writer and don't know what I'd do without the solid clips I've produced. :D

I say just go for it. The worst that could happen is you don't get the job. But you tried, and that's what matters.