Negative Motivation will get your story written

Do you think about how great your story is? How much you need to get it out into the world? How much money you’ll make? Does it just make you not write?


Well, maybe you need to be motivated by using the fear of punishment.

Imagine having written something that has gotten you a whole bunch one-star reviews. They’re saying that you got something wrong or that it’s just not good enough. You may even be lucky enough to get a youtube review saying it’s one of the worst books ever written.

But wait, that would mean you would have had to have written something first.

If you haven’t accomplished that goal yet then place yourself in this scenario.

Imagine never finishing even writing that book. Imagine never being the writer you wanted. Imagine that your creative side had been held hostage by the non-creatives of the world.

Feels like shit, doesn’t it?

Well, want to not feel shit? You need to sit down and write something. Use the fear of one-star reviews to force yourself to plot your story that extra bit. Do that twentieth draft, even though you just want to self-publish it anyway. If someone posts a youtube video complaining, then you know that their distaste is because of opinion and not your writing craft.

Use your fear of failure as fuel to light your passion for writing 🙂

Valuable skills I took from my Arts degree.

A lot of people would look at my undergraduate degree and think something along the lines of what my nanny said years ago to me.

‘What the use of an arts degree?’

Well, here’s me getting into a bit of a huff. An arts degree are good for people like me – the creative type. Those that pursue passions and dreams as opposed to money or prestige.

I know that in the future, and even now actually, I look back on my uni studies and know that I don’t regret how I spent my time. I enjoyed a lot of the stuff I studied. I have an appreciation of poetry that I didn’t have before (doesn’t mean I like it though. It’s the medium). Jane Austen’s work speaks volumes in terms of it being a reflection of the society around her. Something I’ve never considered before. And all those electives I have had taught me so much about the world. Things I learnt about gender roles in sociology, things I learnt about people in psychology and that class ‘Trafficking Bodies from the Ancient World to the Present’. The stuff I learnt in that made me appreciate Django so much more than I would have. The social hierarchy, gender, racial roles and economical roles human beings placed on each other when they turned the human body into commodities is unbelievable. Whether I intended it or not all this has improved my life for the better. It has given me a better appreciation of the world for what it is, no matter how good or bad. And I understand human beings and our behaviour more than I would otherwise.

And all this has and will help me in pursuit of my dream to become an author.

I pursued creative writing because I love writing stories and I knew that even though I had a passion for it, I wasn’t that good at the actual writing. I had the idea in my head playing out like a movie. But it wasn’t coming out right on paper (and it also got me out of my rural town).

Going to uni opened my eyes at how poor my writing really was. And when that teacher, who was off putting to everyone including myself, said during my last year,

‘Stephanie I can see that you’re writing has improved from when I first taught you.’ (small uni and small program, had multiple classes with her)

I knew that she was telling the truth. All those creative writing classes where I had to write story after story, sometimes I had to force it out of me while adhering to the criteria they set (which was hard by the way). But every new story I wrote and multiple rounds of editing forced me to look at what I wrote (aka poured myself and soul into) and realise that sometimes (aka every time) it wasn’t really good. And what was worse than realising that the wording, formatting and punctuation was sub-par was realising that the story itself wasn’t worth much.

I could have given up and after my first creative writing class ‘intro to creative writing’ I wanted to. I struggled against what I thought was how to write a story and the better way to write one(the whole story plot graph thing). That story I wrote for class – I wasn’t happy with it and I will probably never publish it. But I wanted to be a writer so I didn’t give up. Even though the teacher’s comments and edits showed me how bad I was, it wouldn’t deter me, even though my feelings said otherwise.

I took next semester’s creative writing classes and continued. Each new story brought with it a new round of editing from different teachers. while their comments seemed like a negative, they were actually helping me. They showed me my faults and forced me to look at them.

They forced me to realise that myself and my writing are two different things.

Even years later I know I’m more of a ‘teller’ when to be better I should be a ‘shower’ when it comes to writing. And because they told me, I know that when I look at a piece of my writing I can see it. I also know to change it.

And when someone says that they don’t like how/what/why I wrote what I wrote I can take it.

Because criticism was one of the best skills I learnt from my time at uni.

Because determination matters to those who want to succeed.

Because I could be a millionaire/billionaire/trillionaire or poor for the rest of my life and I will still write.

Because I know my novels are not something to give up when I get frustrated at my own inability to write them.

Because I know that if I don’t pursue my dreams then I’m less than what I could be.

Because writing is my passion and I want a life filled with the joy it gives me.

Giving myself a pep talk

There are times when I don’t feel so good about my writing despite the fact that a few days earlier I could be completely fine with it. So in the space of a few days what makes me think differently?

Doubt and fear.

  • I’m afraid at times that I won’t achieve my dreams of becoming an author, even though I want to so much.
  • I’m afraid that no matter how much effort I put into my writing, it’ll never be as good as other great pieces of writing.
  • I’m afraid that writing will always be a ‘side hobby’ that I can only do after everything else is done.
  • I’m afraid that my stories wont even live up to my own expectations or that I simply can not express them the way I want to.
  • But most of all, I’m afraid to give up on my passion and dreams as that would be the most terrible thing of all.

But no matter how much I doubt myself or am afraid of the possibilities of my own short comings I push through because I remember you can not pursue success without the possibility of encountering failure. And you can not have success if you are afraid of failure.

After I come out of these periods of doubt I see that my stories aren’t so bad and with each round of editing they are improving. Everyday I am coming closer to publishing my first novel and with the desire to match great pieces of writing I will end up publishing some great pieces of work.

Is creativity a thing you have to be born with?

When I was in my creative writing classes for my bachelor’s, the topic ‘Where does creativity come from?’ often came up.

Is creativity something that can be taught and developed to people that do not ‘naturally’ possess it? Or do you have to be born with it?

Can creativity (if you have it) be limited to one field? Like drawing, writing, painting, sewing, design, etc.

Are these creative fields a skill like anything else that everyone has and with practice can be improved?

Or does creativity need passion from an individual for it to become something?

What do you think? Leave some comments below.