Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Motivation - where does it go?

Aaahhh yes, motivation: that topic beloved of self-helpers and psycho-babblers everywhere.

What, you may ask yourself, can I possibly write about motivation that many people before haven't already done a thousand times over?

Good question.

Well, I can give you my own, unique perspective on motivation - that blend of experience and character that I, and I alone, can bring to bear on this subject.

Fair enough, but before we do that, let's all be sure we're talking about the same thing:

Motivation (noun): The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behaviour.

OK. How many times have you heard someone complain they just don't have the motivation to do something? Ten? A hundred? Yeah, right. Several thousand times minimum. And it isn't at all surprising.

Shall I dispel this myth of motivation for all time? Shall I? You really want me to?  OK.

Motivation is a myth. There ain't no such thing.

Look, there are two categories of actions in our world. There are things you have to do, and there are things you want to do.

If you have to do something, motivation doesn't apply. You have to eat. If you don't, you die. No motivation needed there, surely. You have to die. It's unavoidable. Motivation doesn't apply. You have to pay your taxes - if you don't you go to jail.

Ah, OK, there might be a motivation issue. You have two options - pay tax or go to jail. Which would you rather do? If you'd rather go to jail, don't pay your taxes. Sorted. Where is the motivation problem?

All things involve want. When it comes to writing, people say they lack the motivation to edit their works. No they don't. They would just rather do something else than submit a finished novel. If they wanted to submit the novel badly enough, they would do the editing. Motivation not necessary.

Whenever you hear or read the word motivation, replace it with desire or want. If you want to send off your novel, you'll do what it takes. If you'd rather lie on the beach working on your tan - then for goodness sake, lie on the damn beach. Who cares? The world won't end because your novel never got published. The only person who really gives a damn is you. Do it or don't do it.

But if you don't do it, please don't whine about how guilty you feel, or how you lacked motivation. Just be honest. Something else was more appealing. No guilt, no problem with self-image or fear of success or procrastination. You didn't edit because you didn't want to.

End of story.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Muddy waters - suitable for bottom feeders

This is a comment I've just left on The Write Agenda (TWA) website.

What, so all these well-respected literary figures and organizations are engaged in smear and hate campaigns against the rip-off guys and the vanity publishers? Hard to believe. I quote from - April 19th this year:

"Word to the wise: a new outfit calling itself The Write Agenda has been taking potshots at Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, our own Jim Macdonald, Absolute Write, Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, SFWA, Atlanta Nights, and other entities that give newbie writers helpful information about the scams and nogoodniks that prey on them."

So Preditors and Editors and the Science Fiction Writers of America - organizations that are legendary for the impartial, disinterested and unstinting help they give to authors, would-be authors and newcomers - are biased and inaccurate when they adversely comment about Publish America and Author House?

I don't think so.

The fact that the people behind The Write Agenda choose to remain anonymous is enough to convince me this site is an attempt by a combine of sharks to muddy the waters enough they can still continue feeding off their innocent, gullible and needy prey.

This comment posted at 12:29 BST, August 5th 2011. Let's see how long it remains up here and what response it gets.

I've personal experience of some of the authors and organizations TWA is attacking. I've found them, without exception, to be thoughtful, honest, helpful and impartial. They have not attempted to charge me fees or rip me off in any way. They have not attempted to sell me anything.

TWA haven't attempted to sell me anything either. They have, however, attempted to dissuade me, with one star reviews, from purchasing the books of several authors whose work I admire.

They gave one star to a collaborative anthology called Menage-a-20. I'm one of the authors in that anthology. My work is far better than one star. All the authors in there are better than one star. Many of them have in the past attacked Publish America and Author House for their dubious practices.

Coincidence they get one star?

Probably not.

And before you say that reviews are a matter of personal taste, I'd like to point out a fact: there are thirty stories in Menage. They encompass a wide variety of styles, themes and genres. Surely they can't all offend the reviewer's tastes?

But don't take my word for the quality of the stories. Download the anthology. Check it out for yourself. It's free. Then check out the reputation of the authors in the anthology.

Decide for yourself who you'd rather believe.