This article was originally published on WOW! Women On Writing, titled as: “Writers are Like Snowflakes Or Figure Out What You Need.” To see the original article, before it was edited for this site, please go here.
Writers are as different as snowflakes. I don’t mean the new meaning of “snowflake” that’s unfortunately appearing on social media and isn’t very nice! I mean the way we used to think of snowflakes, even five years ago–each one is delicate and different and beautiful. The same with writers–we are each delicate and different and beautiful.
This is on my mind because I recently had a writing coach call with a writer, Kay, who was trying to decide if she should take my WOW! Novel Writing course , or if she should hire me at another time, or if she should not. As I talked to her, I had an a-ha moment. Yes, my a-ha moment was that writers are like snowflakes, but hold on–I’m gonna bring this all together with a point that will make this worthwhile.
I recently listened to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast For the Love,which I have been going on and on about to anyone who will listen. Anyway…I am catching up on podcast episodes because I didn’t realize how amazingly awesome she is until recently. Thankfully, I listened to the Gretchen Rubin interview, and she talked about her book: The Four Tendencies. I kind of think, after listening to this interview, that every writer should read this book or at the very least, take the free quiz on Gretchen’s site to find out your tendency, and here’s why…NOT EVERY PERSON IS MOTIVATED BY THE SAME THING!
No kidding, you say?
I’m not kidding. Some people are motivated by external rewards. Some people got it all within them and can figure it out without any help. Some people need accountability, and some don’t. Some people are rebels–that is a tendency–and those people can’t figure out what they need except they don’t need rules, that’s for sure. (You should probably buy Gretchen’s book because I am going on memory here, and I’ve been binging Jen Hatmaker podcast episodes, like people binge Netflix…)
So while talking to Kay (remember the writer from above?), I asked her a series of questions about how much of her novel was finished and what she needed to produce the work she hoped to produce. Did she need a deadline? (My WOW! novel-writing class provides that because a section is due every week.) Does she need feedback? (Also given by me through the class) Or does she just need accountability? An author friend or really any friend could provide accountability–a friend who would check in with her to see if she wrote the amount of time or the amount of words she said she was going to write. But first, Kay has to figure out how her writing process and motivation works. And that’s what I’m saying to you today.
Important point right here: You can read article after article about how to be more productive and how to finish a novel. But if you don’t know if you need deadlines, short time increments, weekends, accountability partners, or what–then you won’t know how to motivate yourself, and you may spend time and money on systems that don’t work for you to finish whatever writing you want to finish.
Take some time–use a journal, take Gretchen’s quiz, think about how you completed things in the past–and then pick the best method that works for you, so you can accomplish your goals.