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Don’t worry it’s not about people being ticked off in horrendously gory accidents because they’ve witnessed Death’s Plan! 

I think it is important to always keep in mind your motivation for writing (or if you don’t write whatever else it is that you do). What drives you? That being said, I also think it’s important to strike a balance. Don’t just look at where you’re going, or hope to go, but keep an eye on where you’ve been also. Just like they teach in driving (but don’t spend too long doing it because it’s dangerous) it’s good practice to glance in your rear view mirror every now and then…and not just to check your lipstick or your teeth.

In writing terms where you have been is probably a strong factor in the desire you have to write, to share your story in whatever form that might be; fiction, fact, poetry, blog. I shall take my personal circumstances and use them to illustrate my point (I won’t get all weepy and melancholy, I promise). Apart from liberating me from my thoughts and feelings, my motivation for writing is to achieve better, to show people I can do something of value. I want to show that the uneducated girl that left school with nothing but two GCSE’s did have something to offer after all (huh imagine that if you can!) My big dream is that, with some hard work and commitment, I will one day attract an agent and publisher who will open doors to new and exciting opportunities for me and my novels. I hope that (before I grow old) I will be able to look back and see that I have really achieved.

It is possible to spend too much time looking back. If you do this you never progress and you sit like water in a rock pool. You are unable to foster and nurture new things because the environment (that is your mind) becomes too hostile for anything to thrive. It is also possible to spend so much time fantasising over what the future could hold (if only one of those blasted agents would say yes for a change, for example) that your life boils down to living for the next batch of rejection letters and taking them hard when they arrive. Suddenly they are the be-all and end-all. If all hopes and dreams pivot on that one momentous thing (a book deal) then nothing else matters and that’s quite sad really.

I am guilty of getting caught up in both, blaming past experiences for my lack of confidence, my fear of almost everything (other than staying indoors) and my dogged attempts at achieving what I know in my heart to be one of the most difficult things to attain. I do this so I can cruelly remind myself ‘I told you so. What were you thinking?’ But, to be fair, I could write the most fantastic novels in the world but if they don’t sit well with on an agent’s list it’s unlikely they will take it on. Anything short of a miracle (or nasty friction burn to the wrist) is going to make them change their minds.

I do regularly try to remind myself that if I look back over what I have done  and I dispose of the blinkers (installed shortly after discovering a passion for writing) I am able to see so much more. Success isn’t just about moving from A to B on the most direct route, it’s about learning to appreciate the value of the longer and more scenic one. This longer route detours whether we like it or not but it teaches us a lot about ourselves – our limits, our challenges and our ability to overcome obstacles. What mountains did you climb to get to where you are today? For some, achievement is about getting out of bed in the morning (and I’ve been there), for others it’s about making it through the day without a drink (I haven’t yet been there). Many find themselves desperately trying to attain enough calories to function while others are trying not to succumb to temptation. Confronting personal issues is an achievement in itself, sod the book deal! If you glance in the rear view mirror from time to time and find that you’ve overcome some pretty big hurdles then these should be recognised and congratulated too.

I think it’s important to have a plan. Pencil your enormous goal up ahead but consider what you have faced and might need to face to get there. Mark those things too because they deserve to be celebrated. Pin your plan to the wall (or maybe use blue tack, your plan your choice – though if you’re renting maybe just lean it up against the wall to protect your damage deposit). Now take a step back and admire the itinerary that will lead you to your final destination.

Thanks for reading guys & take care.

Jess 🙂 x

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