Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Do You Love Your Job? (3 Ways to Recapture Your Enthusiasm) by Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu
Are you excited about going to work every day?

I’m not talking about your “day job.” Whether you work at writing full-time, only evenings and weekends, or in ten-minute breaks during your day, if you want to be a published author, writing is your work.

When you first decided to pursue writing as something more than a hobby, you were excited about it, right? Maybe you had a story idea or a character you fell in love with, and you just had to put it on paper. You attended a writers’ conference, devoured books on the craft of writing, and couldn’t wait for that block of time when you could sit at your computer and let the words flow.

But now, months or years later, have you lost your “first love”? Has finishing the book become a chore? Does discovering your characters’ motivations feel like pulling teeth? Coming up with fresh expressions (i.e., something other than “pulling teeth”) seem like drudgery?

Multi-published authors and pre-published authors alike sometimes deal with the day-to-day-ness of the writing life. Most people with full-time jobs in any profession encounter boredom at some point and work through it. But as writers, that lack of passion will show up in lackluster work or unsaleable fiction.

So how do we keep—or get back to—our original passion for our stories? Here are some ideas:

  • Set aside your work-in-progress and start something new, if your deadlines allow it. Taking a breather from one story can allow your brain to rest and let your subconscious generate fresh ideas. Stephen King calls this putting “the boys in the basement” to work. You’ll get a fresh perspective on your story and be excited again when you go back to work on it.
  • Read a portion of the story out loud. You’re not reading for problems but as a way of putting life into your characters. Really hear their voices and imagine they’re in the room with you. This may generate renewed enthusiasm for their story and help you put more passion onto the page.
  • Write your main character’s backstory as a first-person journal. I’m doing this now as a prequel to The Secret Heart, which will release in February. And I having fun with it! I had written out portions of her story when I first started on the book, but now I’m going back and fleshing out specific events as if it were her journal. Doing this in the middle of the project could have helped me discover more about her character and personality. Try it to see if it re-ignites your excitement about telling your characters’ stories.
  • Don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach a milestone. Setting goals along the journey and celebrating when you accomplish each one is a great way to keep yourself engaged.
We take this writing journey for different reasons. Remember why you decided to pursue fiction writing and find your love for “the job” again. It will make a difference in the quality of the finished book.

About the Author

Marie Wells Coutu’s newest novel, The Secret Heart, will be released in February 2017 from Write Integrity Press. Follow Marie on Amazon.com to be notified when it becomes available. The Secret Heart, loosely based on the lives of Bathsheba and David, is the third book in the Mended Vessels series. Books in the series are contemporary re-imaginings of the stories of biblical women, including Esther and the woman at the well. 

Her debut novel, For Such a Moment, won the Books of Hope Contest. Thirsting for More, the second book in the series was a finalist in the 2016 Selah Awards Contest and a semi-finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association. You can find more about Marie and her novels on her Facebook page (Author Marie Wells Coutu), at her website (MarieWellsCoutu.com), or follow her on Twitter (@mwcoutu). 
Marie retired after 15 years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and she and her husband now divide their time between Florida and Iowa.

The Secret Heart
by Marie Wells Coutu
The Secret Heart

Beautiful Shawna Moore married Hunter Wilson, the governor of Tennessee, after a whirlwind romance, only six weeks following her first husband’s death in Iraq. Now, she wonders if the governor loved her at all or only hoped to avoid a scandal.

An investigative reporter—and friend of Shawna’s—is asking questions. If he discovers the truth about Shawna’s baby, Hunter’s chances for reelection could be ruined. But keeping the secret is destroying their marriage. Will Shawna convince Hunter to choose his family and drop out of politics, or will he continue to put his career first?

The Secret Heart will be available for pre-order in mid-January. For a sneak peek, download the first chapter here.