Posted by: nancyisanders | June 22, 2021

Reality Show: KidLit Writer Gets Motivated

We went to the beach. It was super hot when we left our house in Norco. And it was super cold when we reached the beach. (Isn’t this a fun photo from underneath the pier?!)

But we wrapped up in towels and sweatshirts and parked our beach chairs right next to the waves. We sat just close enough so that our feet wouldn’t get wet from the incoming tide, but just far enough back so we could still feel the salty spray on our cheeks.

And as my hubby and I sat and chatted and looked out at the booming, crashing waves, I asked myself a question…”Why was I avoiding one of my WIPs?”

I had brought one of my work-in-progress (WIP) manuscripts up to front and center about a month ago. I had created a space for it. I had cleared off a spot on one of my desks and spread out my research books and folders with notes and printed manuscript pages with lots of handwritten notes…

But I hadn’t picked it up since.

As I reflected there, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the sea, I realized the WHY of why I had been avoiding it.

And then I did a reality check. If I wanted to finish that manuscript. (Which I did.) And if I was having trouble finishing that manuscript. (Which I was.) Then there was really only one solution.


There have been times in the past when I’ve lacked motivation and I’ve tried various ways to get motivated. Sometimes I dangle a carrot in front of my nose such as: You get to buy that new set of mixing bowls you’ve been wanting if you meet your goal. Sometimes I use a type of “punishment” such as: You can’t start your new quilt until you meet your goal. Sometimes I use a type of accountability such as: Invite a group of writer friends over for a 5-week class where we will all work on the type of manuscript I’m working on so I can have accountability to finish it.

Nope. I couldn’t wait for the muse to strike me to write. I couldn’t wait for inspiration to inspire me to write. If I didn’t figure out a way to motivate myself to write, this WIP might as well RIP. And I wanted to finish it!

So this time I chose a type of “punishment.” My husband has been reading 2 books lately that he declares, “You. Will. Love. These. Books.” One is Sharon Creech’s chapter book, ONE TIME. (Have you read it? Did you love it? Let me know! But don’t give away any spoilers!!!!!) The other is the first in a series of 14 books, I think, so I know once I get started on that series, there will be lots of delicious reading adventures for me to experience.

So my punishment? I am not allowed to start reading Sharon Creech’s book UNTIL I have picked up that current WIP and written a certain amount of fresh new content. And I’m not allowed to read the first book in that amazing series until I read another goal with my WIP.

Ooooohhhhh! This is REALLY, FINALLY motivating me!

WIP…here I come!

What do you do to get motivated to write when you’re in the doldrums?


  1. Nancy, thank you for sharing your tips for finding motivation. I suffer from lack of motivation and it bums me out until I begin to feel guilty. I’m bad! Thanks to inspiration from writers like you, I get back to that WIP.

    • I hear you! It’s great to know I’m part of your motivation. Yay!

  2. Wow, these types of things could be very motivating! I haven’t read Sharon Creech’s book, but have heard of it and now I want to read it, AND I want to know what that enticing series is, too!! I hope your motivation is successful!

    • It’s been so good to get motivated again. I finished my little goal and got to read Sharon Creech’s book… YOU. Will. Love. It!!!!! And now I’m working toward that series…hope you get motivated to meet one of your writing goals, too!

  3. I agree with Kathy! What is this OTHER series? 🙂 Good luck on your MS. I could use a healthy dose of motivation.

    • Oh, the OTHER series…I’m hesitant to mention it because what if I don’t like it by book 3 or 4? I’d feel bad if I recommended it now, lol! But seriously…what will it take to get you motivated? Give this some serious thought as I just did and find out what would motivate you to take that next step as a KidLit writer!

  4. I just had to come back and read this post because I’ve been on a 2 week brain rest with all kinds of excuses and diversions only knowing that I’d better pick up the pencil and write something this morning. Anything! I think instead of punishment I need to boot myself in the butt and restart my engine. My idea is to randomly pick a subject, a thing, something that seemed like a good idea once and fill a page. Yours is one reality show that I keep coming back too!

    • Ah yes! And thanks so much! So glad we’re connected.

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