I’m back with author David Rae and this time we discuss motivation. What it means and how to stay motivated.
Both of us have had issues with motivation, and we want others to understand what we’ve done to overcome a lack of motivation.
David: Are you working on your author career but struggling to get that first book published? Does the goal of being an author seem too lofty or thoughts of having multiple books and making a full-time living are as fantastical as living in Cinderella’s Castle? Welcome to Discovered Wordsmiths, a podcast where aspiring authors can be.
Join Steven Schneider as he finds and talks to authors you may not know, but authors that have gotten their foot on the author career path, hear what they’ve done to get there and where they want to go. Now settle back. It’s time for a bit of inspiration and advice. Come listen to today’s discovered wordsmith.
Stephen: All right. Well, David, uh, welcome back once again and the ma Magic of the Internet. Uh, for most people, this is a sep separate episode, but you and I, uh, haven’t stopped talking since the episode where I interviewed you. So today, We wanted to talk a bit about motivation and how that affects authors and how that can be a problem and ways to motivate yourself.
So I’m interested because you brought up the topic. What made this a topic that you’d like to discuss? As it refers to new authors and
David: help, I think ion is the key to everything. Now, it sounds like, um, I’m one of these people that, uh, think you’ve got to ho, ho, ho to the end of the row. I’m not like that For me, ho, ho, ho means Santa Claus.
But we, everything we do, we do for a reason and understanding why we do things. Hello. And, uh, the, the, the reasons that we, we. Behave and act and, and do certain things is of great benefit to us in all sorts of walks of life. And it’s vital for an author to know why they’re doing something.
Stephen: Uh, you brought up the topic of talking about motivation, uh, and I’m curious, um, what made you think of that as an issue for new authors?
Or is it something that you’ve struggled with in your writing?
David: I. I think it is something that is important to understand. I think it’s a bigger, big topic, and it’s only by understanding what motivates us, why we do things that we can get the most out of them. And I think it’s, it’s quite important that we realize what is that motivates us, what we really want, what we’re looking for, and then maybe we can get.
Stephen: And so I guess that naturally leads to the question, what are some of the things you wanted that led you to writing?
David: Ah, that’s a great question, . And as we already said, I, in a funny kind of way, I’m not motivated to write, I’m just motivated to, I’m just not motivated to stop writing. It’s something that I’ve always done to tell a story and I love to tell a story.
Um, and every. Every, there’s, there’s stories going on and all around me, you, you see glimpses of stories. You see, you see an old woman walking down the road and you, you wonder what’s going on there. And just the most pros and ordinary things. And once you start to think about these things, your mind goes into all sorts of tangents.
And the reason I write is just because all of these thoughts and ideas are there and it kind of makes them. More manageable, , maybe it’s just like a filing system to get all these thoughts and ideas down. And there’s to share, uh, the way I think, the way I feel about things and in some ways to get more understand people to, to understand what I’m thinking about more and to also for me to more understand myself.
Stephen: So just those types of feelings, that is what your motivation is. Um, I, I, I think. A lot of authors get, and we’ve, we, we mentioned this a little bit, they get down on themselves a bit because they compare themselves to authors that have been around for 20 years. Uh, authors that have, you know, 50 books out and they’re like, oh, I’m not as good as them.
Oh, I’ll never be that good. And I think that takes away from your desire. Um, and you mentioned you have a job that you actually enjoy. So is writing for you, uh, your relaxation, your your fun time. Is that something that helps keep you motivated doing it?
David: No. Uh, fun. Okay. Fun is important, but fun is something that is not limited to when I’m writing.
Fun is something I, I have fun at my job. I have fun with my kids. I have fun with my wife. I have fun with my friends. I have fun when I write. Fun should be central to, to your existence because if it’s not fun, then it ain’t fun. , right? Yeah.
Stephen: I, I love that. It sounds like, uh, if I ever come to Scotland, I gotta look you
Oh, yes. Please do. Please do. Come to Scotland. Hopefully not as a refugee. ,
Stephen: right? . Well, you never know anymore. . Uh, my son actually is wanting to move to Ireland. He went there on a school trip and fell in love with it. That’s nice.
David: It’s not as nice story Scotland though, .
Stephen: Well, um, some of my wife’s favorite books are the, like Outlander, a few other books like it.
So she would’ve No problem wanting to come to Scotland.
David: So there you go. You can’t compete with that. Can you, you may as well get up .
Stephen: I, I’ll, I just have to get my sword and hopefully I don’t get my head chopped off. Yeah, . Um, so something about motivation I heard recently. , um, is that we have our thinking on motivation all wrong, that people try to get motivated and then they go and do something.
Whereas what the studies, I guess, are finding now is the way we’re wired, that if we are doing something, it motivates us to wanna do more and to do better. What do you think of that?
David: Yeah, I can see that. I can see that, um, that a lot of the barriers to doing some, the biggest barrier to doing something is fear, and fear of looking, looking stupid.
Fear of not being, if you’re a writer, the fear is not, you’re not. Stephen King, and you talked about this, um, how we compare ourselves with others. And that’s not unique to, to, to authors. I mean, uh, Foot football players do it. They, oh, I, I, I stopped playing football after high school because I, I knew I was never gonna make, uh, the big league, or I, I stopped playing basketball because I knew I was never gonna make the big league.
Uh, I didn’t try hard at school because the kids, they were all smarter than me or whatever. It, you know, there are all these things that say, oh, I, I’m not good enough. I’m, I’m, I can’t do this, blah, blah, blah. And I, I always tell my kids that I can. Anything. And they don’t believe me, except I always caveat it.
I can say I can do anything badly. And the truth of the matter is you have to do something badly before you can do it. Well, whether it’s playing the ukulele, whether it’s doing kung fu, whether it’s. Doing football, whether it’s doing maths, whether it’s writing, whether it’s, whether it’s sex, whether it’s, uh, whatever it is, you’ve got to do it badly first.
Stephen: And I love that and agree too. Many people think that if they can’t do something the best, then it’s not worth doing. And that’s not true. I am never going to play, uh, basketball as well as LeBron James. , but I can still go and play and enjoy it. And we, you know, we talked about enjoying something. Yeah.
Making that your focus rather than being the best or something like that.
David: Yeah. And, and you know, you’ve done plays at basketball, I’m sure that, uh, stick in your mind and they are world beaten moves that stick that in your pipe, but unfortunately there is no camera to capture it.
Stephen: Yeah. Sometimes, and I, I, I really think if we relax and enjoy things, we do much better at ’em.
And then it goes back to the same thing. If you’re doing something and you’re doing good at it, you wanna do better, and there’s your motivation to go do it. I’m not saying that that simple philosophy will get you on the basketball court, uh, as a pro. Uh,
David: On the basketball court.
Stephen: Yeah. And, and you’ll do better.
I’ve noticed that, and especially with writing. Um, I’ve noticed a lot of people get really uptight and they’ve had four, five years that they’ve been working on one book, and it’s still not out, and they’re not done and they’re worried about it, and then they get all upset because, oh, I haven’t written anything for three days, you know?
And, and what we just said. You look at it and it’s like, well, you don’t seem to be enjoying this. You know, why are you doing
David: it? ? Yeah. Seen it. Yeah. Seen it. Yeah. Seen it. And to be honest, um, you know, I’m spoiler alert, I’m not young anymore. Um, I’ve, I’ve done the same thing. I’ve written books when I was 18.
The first book I wrote, I was probably 18 when I wrote it, and it was a spy movie, and I showed it to my friend and, and he, his response was just what the world needs. Another fing. Spine and you know, so what did I do with it? I suck it in the drawer. It, who knows? Who cares? You know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s, it was 60,000 words that were put in an order that were made them at least readable.
And meant something that was an achievement. That was a huge achievement. Yeah. For at 18. Wow. Now I’m really impressed by myself, uh, that when I see Ted, I’m gonna punch him for saying that . Uh, but, but this happens to us all the time. People say, oh, you know, um, if you look at people that are successful, they ain’t that.
Stephen: Right. Re I mean, well, yeah.
David: I, I, I, I used to play soccer and we call it football, right? Cuz we use It’s a ball and you use your feet.
Stephen: Yes. . Americans have to screw everything up. We screwed your guys, uh, we screwed the English language up. We screw up the sports.
David: No, no, no. We, we’ve done plenty of not ourselves and hey, I’m, I’m, I’m not here that I.
English isn’t really that’s, that’s gonna Yeah, that’s a sore point for us, Scott. Man, I was gonna say, we screw it up,
Stephen: but we, we’ve got, we’ve got the enemy of your enemy thing going on here, but
David: I, I, I’ve played football with, people have gone on to have, in some cases international careers. And let me tell you, they weren’t that great.
They weren’t that great. Uh, they were, they might have been better than me most of the time, but not all of the time. And there’s times when I’ve made them look stupid just as they’ve made me look stupid. And there’s moments when I, I, I can look at this football and say, yeah, I had you. And then, you know, there are for, for, for all sorts of things.
There are physical and emotional attributes that you need to be at the top. And if you don’t have them, you don’t have them. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it. I remember playing football, uh, In Norway and we were playing with, uh, a lot of Americans. And one of the boys there was, they were sort of 18, 19 year old boys.
And I was quite a bit older and, and I get, like you say, I’m a good, a good, I’m a good soccer player. I could have, I could have been a contender. Um, and this boy. Was, he came from Alaska, I remember his name. And the, the, he was, uh, he almost died at birth. He wasn’t quite a crippled, but he was not athletic.
And you know, he ran about the park and all the rest of it. And he got the ball, uh, just outside of the, the goal area. That’s the fight box in case you don’t know. And I was playing. The holding midfielder, midfield, general, and I sort of backed off cuz said, go on sand, shoot, shoot, shoot. Because I was fairly confident he, he was gonna mess from that distance, but he hit it sweet as a nut and it flew into the top corner.
And that’s something that, that boy’s never gonna forget and nothing can take that away from ’em. And all of us have those moments where we have successes. When things just come together and go right, and nobody can take them away from us because they’re there and they’re real. And you know, that goal was as good as a goal as, as, as plenty of the goals that I scored are, are, are people that I, I, I saw and pro playing professional score that, you know, And he’s probably not playing football at the moment, , but that, that was a real thing that happened to him.
He scored this goal from not quite the halfway line, but pretty far out.
Stephen: And that’s a great example too, because like you said, uh, I mean, I don’t know the guy, but he obviously had some challenges in life with his physicality, yet he was out on the field playing. And, and so you, you gotta wonder where, what’s his motivation to do that?
Because he’s not going to be the top scorer. He’s not going to be the fastest down the field. So did he do it to prove a point that I can do it? Was he doing it just cuz he enjoyed it? Uh. Those, I mean, those are definitely reasons people get motivated to do something. Uh, I would say you almost look at it one’s almost using the dark side , you know, to prove a point.
And the other is using the light side. But they both achieved the same goal. They motivated him to get on the field and start running.
David: Well, I, I think part of it was really just that, the fact that, um, it was, uh, A communal activity that we all do together. And, uh, you know, writing, you might think that it, it, it’s just sitting in your room, typing away on your laptop, but actually it’s not.
And if that’s all you ever do, then you’ve, you’ve, you’ve missed out.
Stephen: Right. Agreed. Uh, people, and I guess I, I’m kind of with you. I don’t understand so much when people go, oh, I gotta get motivated to write. Well, if you’re having to psych yourself up every day to sit in the chair, Maybe this isn’t the best choice for you.
I, I usually don’t, I, I usually wake up and I’m like, oh man, I only got 1200 words yesterday. I’ve gotta sit down cuz I’ve got all these great things going and I, you know, I wanna sit down and type
David: the, the, there’s, there’s days I’ve written 5,000 words in this plaintiff of decent. I’ve written nothing. And I, yes, I’m not, the days that I’ve written nothing doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing things because we as, as you see what it, we, we, we were right, we, we talked about all these things that are actually inside us that we want to tell and all the rest of it.
And those, those things are things like, um, um, the relationship you’ve built with your kids and. What’s behind that? The relationship with your partners, your relationship with your school kids, the relationships with your parents? The, um, uh, the beauty of nature. You know, there’s all of these things that you don’t get, um, sitting in front of your laptop.
So if you’re out there having a good time, um, you know, when I, when I. Oh, sorry. When I was writing as a, a teenager, uh, my friend Ted, the one that didn’t like my, uh, uh, he, he, he liked my science fiction story, but didn’t like my, my detectives story. He. Really encouraged me to take drugs because he felt this would expand my mind and I would understand things and it would open doors and blah, blah, blah.
Spoiler alert, I never took them. Um, and I don’t regret that, but I kind of understand where he’s coming from, except that’s not really an ex. I don’t really want to write about being a junk. I don’t wanna be a junkie. Sorry about that. Prerogative, uh, uh, word about, uh, people that are unfortunate enough to be in that situation.
Uh, I do want to write about them as people and, and to express love for them and care for them, but I don’t want to write about the experience of being one because I don’t want to be one.
Stephen: Right. I, I agree. Uh, If personally, if you have to do drugs to get yourself motivated to do anything, uh, I question whether that’s the best choice anyway.
David: How bigger writers intent have had that approach? , that’s very true. Be and, uh, hunter e Thompson. And there’s plenty of people have, have, have thought that. Uh, I dunno. Maybe for them it, it’s right then maybe it works. But, um, looking at their life in the round. I would’ve said no, but then who am I to, to judge?
Stephen: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, you mentioned Stephen King earlier. Um, you know, he very openly has said he did lots of drugs back in the older days and people would argue that his better books are in that time period, . So I guess maybe that tells you something.
David: Well, uh, even, what are his better books?
Stephen: Do what for ar
David: better books.
I mean, that’s something I don’t think there’s, um, I don’t think there’s, uh, uniformity about that. I mean, I, I guess people, that’s true. I guess people who, uh, are thinking along these lines are probably thinking that, uh, some of the more, um, Uh, esoteric stuff, you know, the dark tower and things like that.
Is, are those these best books? Is the Dark Tower a better book than the Green Mile? I, I don’t know. Maybe it is.
Stephen: I th that’s definitely, uh, probably opinion each person too. Yeah. For any writer.
David: I, I, I was always under the impression that Stephen King didn’t agree with that particular narrative. . Right. That he didn’t feel that his best books were.
Yeah. Oh, the ones written under Truth . Maybe he did.
Stephen: Uh, I, I know. When I read King and I, I’ve read a lot of King, uh, I definitely can get to a point where it’s overkill that it’s, I I just can’t read anymore cuz I feel like my brains are oozy on my ears. Well, well again, I
David: mean, uh, I used to read Allie’s books when I was a teenager, plagued dogs, the fog, Tommy Knockers all this.
And, and I kind of found that the, at some point he, he’d obviously lost the joy of writing. And that every book I read was kind of the same
very good book, but I, I, I kinda read, you know, the fog and the plague and all the, it was kind of the same structure to all of the, the stories with just different bits plugged in. Right.
Stephen: Yeah, a friend, and I kind of joke sometimes that you could easily create a Stephen King generator. You just have a bunch of dice that have you probably charact attributes, settings, and an idea, and then you just roll the dice and pick him up.
And there you wrote a Stephen King story, , but you know, who are we? The judge. We’re not multi-millionaires. No,
David: no. He’s laughing all the and and you. Having said that, uh, he’s a great writer. Yeah. Uh,
Stephen: I, I, I, I, I’ve learned through the years that King was one of the earliest writers I read, and I’ve learned through the years to appreciate what he’s good at and ignore the things that he’s not quite as good at.
Um, but he’s still one of my favorite authors to read you. I guess
David: if you, if you Stephen, for the novel for the first time and you’ve never read any want, Of his other books, you’d think he was the, the greatest writer you’ve ever read. I’m quite sure of it.
Stephen: Right. And for me, because I love
David: him, we get bored of things that we see a lot of.
Stephen: We do. Uh, I, I was using, we love novelty. I guess. Guess you could say. Using Stephen King, you know, wanting to be like Stephen King is good motivation. We were talking about motiv motivating yourself. You know, for me, a lot of times I’ll read a little bit of King and then I’ll want to sit down and write.
Okay. So, um, we had a few internet glitches there. Um, but, uh, David, to finish up our talk on motivation, uh, what would you say your advice then would be for new authors to get themselves motivated or to stay motivated, or any last thoughts on motivation itself?
David: I, I think it would be to enjoy yourself, to have fun, to be, uh, To just, just to just enjoy it.
Go with it, you know, um, writing should be a pleasure and, uh, don’t make it a chore. Make it a pleasure and think about the things that made you happy when you read and, and try and recapture that as you’re right. Um, There’s other advice you can give. You know, um, be generous with ti your time. Be generous with other people.
Be generous with their comments, uh, about other people’s work and that, you know, but, but ultimately it’s all about being, uh, being fun. Don’t take it so se don’t take it so serious. That seems a strange thing to say, but seriously don’t, um, We have an expression what’s for you won’t go by you. And I think that’s that’s true.
If you’re gonna be, there’s gonna be something comes to you as a result of you being a writer. There’s gonna be people that read your book no matter who you are, of what you’ve written that they’re gonna love. You see, when you look on Amazon and you read a book and you think, how did this book get five star reviews?
It is because somebody loved it. You may not have loved it, but somebody did, and I don’t think there are many books on Amazon that don’t have at least one five star review, and they’re not fake. Right? They’re not fake. Somebody really liked that book.
Stephen: and I think that’s good advice. Uh, just start writing and write and enjoy it because if you’re writing and enjoy it, it’ll come through and you’ll have much more success that way.
And it’ll go right back to what we said. If you’re writing enjoying it and you’re having success, that’s going to motivate you to. Write some more. So it’s, you know, maybe we need to change our thinking that, uh, you know, not trying to motivate ourselves to write, but maybe we have to write to motivate ourselves.
David: maybe, maybe Indeed And, and. We just need to remember that, um, you know, there are a million books out there more, and, uh, that doesn’t matter. The only matters thing that matters is, is your book in your story and you tell it your way and you know, if, if, if that leads you to a mil a million pounded fans with Random House, great.
If it leads you to, uh, you know, self-publishing and, uh, selling the a few copy piece on Amazon, that’s good too. It’s all good. Yeah.
Stephen: All right. Well, David , it’s been a really good conversation with you today. Uh, and I, I wish you luck on your book. Oh,
David: thank you. I’ve really enjoyed your company, Stephen, and, uh, I’m looking forward to, to listening to this podcast and to, uh, To listening to your wise words again and thinking about your very stimulating and, uh, intelligent conversation.
And I think you, um, gave me a lot of things to think about that. I’ll certainly take home board.
Stephen: Great. I appreciate that and thanks David. Okay.
David: Thank you for listening to Discovered Wordsmiths. Come back next week and listen to another author discuss the road they’ve traveled, and maybe sometime in the near future it might be you.