Welcome to another topical guest post. Today I have a guest post from Jeff Strand, author of Stranger Things Have Happened. I found this book via NetGalley (https://s2.netgalley.com/) and Sourcebooks were kind enough to send my copy for me to read on my kindle. Thank you!
First I will share some information about the book and Jeff Strand himself. Then on to the guest post. Finally there will be a GIVEAWAY at the end. Jeff has written about his experiences with both inspiration and motivation. I thought the content was both insightful and very helpful. I am not the best person to talk to when it comes to deadlines…
Please feel free to leave a comment with any insights of your own that concerns motivation and inspiration!
You can’t always believe what you see in this hilarious coming of age novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and I Have a Bad Feeling About This
Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third.
Okay, so Marcus isn’t a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.
The problem? Marcus also has stage fright—in spades. It’s one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it’s an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.
Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.
To uphold his great-grandfather’s honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he’s the next best thing…
About Jeff Strand
Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of 30+ books, including Blister, A Bad Day For Voodoo, and Wolf Hunt. Cemetery Dance magazine said “No author working today comes close to Jeff Strand’s perfect mixture of comedy and terror.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.
(There is a longer bio available on his website: https://jeffstrand.wordpress.com/bio/) (Also the photo is from Jeff’s Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/JeffStrandAuthorFanPage/)
“Inspiration and Motivation”
by Jeff Strand
What inspires and motivates my writing the most? Deadlines.
I think this guest blog is supposed to be longer than that, so I’ll elaborate. Deadlines are my friend. Oh, it may not seem like we’re all buddy-buddy. When I have a book due in a week, and there’s a more significant percentage of the book remaining to be written than I’d care to admit, deadlines feel like my mortal enemy.
“Hahahahaha!” the deadline cackles. “Everybody else is outside playing, or at least inside watching Netflix, and you have to work! There’ll be no fun for you! There’ll be no fun for you ever again! Stop crying!”
But there’s something about being contractually obligated to have inspiration and motivation that generates…inspiration and motivation. There’s no clause saying, “Author agrees to deliver manuscript by June 1st, provided the muse is cooperative.” For a slacker like me, the best way to get things done is to know that my editor, though several states away, is sitting at her desk, glaring at me.
I’m much more of an “execution” guy than an “idea” guy. Once I have the concept for a story, it usually comes together pretty quickly, but I am most definitely not one of those authors who has more ideas than he’ll ever be able to write in his lifetime. Looking up at my bulletin board, I see that I’ve got five short stories due over the next few months. I have not a clue what any of them will be about. And I probably won’t know until the deadline goes from an abstract concept (“July is so far away that it will never get here!”) to a real and scary thing (“Is it July already?”).
Before I had real deadlines, I was a strong believer in self-imposed ones. “The book will be done when it’s done” often meant “The book will never be done,” so instead I promised myself that it would be finished on a specific date, even if no agents or editors were waiting to read it. Now, a problem with that system is that I’m a far too forgiving taskmaster. “Oh, you missed your self-imposed deadline? Poor little darling, you must be feeling blue. Here, have some cookies!”
Therefore, I needed accountability. I told family and friends. They weren’t actually going to do anything to me if I botched the deadline, but still, there was now an element of shame involved if I failed to achieve my goal.
Social media is a wonderful tool for accountability in self-imposed deadlines. Tell others your goals! Share your daily progress! (I occasionally see people complaining about daily word count posts. Those people are joyless creatures whose hearts have shriveled up inside, and if anybody ever whines about your daily word count posts, tell them author Jeff Strand said to bite him.)
Be realistic. I’d have a tendency to say “I’m going to write 8000 words a day every day!!!” and then let out a primal roar while flexing my muscles, but then halfway through Day One I was already too far behind to ever catch up. Choose goals that won’t make your life suck.
Deadlines. Real or fake. They worked for me!
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Thank you to Jeff Strand for taking the time to share some of his own personal insights with us, much appreciated!