Tagged with "inspiration"
The Six Human Needs of Motivation Tags: writing motivation writers block inspiration

 

The paper sorting system!

Last May I began the search for a new career. Something that would allow me to wind down from the more than full time management work I’d done for so many years. I chose a job that would give me the same time off that students get and became a school health aide. 

I wanted the vacation and holiday time to get my body into shape, to write, and to sort the thirty-nine boxes of memorabilia I’ve been carrying around for more than twenty years.

Not small boxes, large bins really.  Full of photos, kid’s artwork, certificates and trophies, newspaper clippings, baby feet clay plates, sheet music and music books, cd’s, VHS’s, cassette tapes and, of course, short stories, novels and songs I’d written.

I left out my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother’s things because I want to get to the point of the story.

At the end of September I stopped. Motivation fled and for two weeks fifteen boxes of photos and papers stared at me from the corner of my bedroom.  My plan was to sort these into “story groups”, like the time we crash landed our plane and were written up in the Mexican newspaper, or when at sixteen I hitchhiked across Europe. But I’d lost my forward momentum and nothing could get me across the room for that last push.

Until my granddaughter came home from school and announced she’d joined a writing club that participated in NaNo WriMo each November. 

And there it was. My motivation to finish the sorting and write the book I’d planned to.  We would write together. She agreed, and at 6PM tonight (Sunday), I’ve finished the sorting. I have over forty short story candidates and all I need to do before November first is sign up.

But that’s not the reason I wrote the blog. I wrote this because I was astounded at how quickly I went from no motivation to fired up and raring to.  Astounded and curious. How did that happen?

I looked up motivation, but nothing resonated with me until I read Tony Robbins’ theory of the Six Human Needs of Motivation.  He says if you can pick your top two primary needs from the following list then it will become obvious how your decisions and behavior are influenced. 

To sum up what he teaches:

All humans have six basic needs that make us tick. Everyone is motivated; we’re just motivated by different needs.

All human behavior is motivated by meeting certain needs. This means we are always motivated to do what we do.

1. The need for certainty. The need for safety, stability, security, comfort, order, predictability, control and consistency.

2. The need for uncertainty. The need for variety, surprise, excitement, difference, chaos, adventure, change and novelty.

3. The need for significance.  The need to feel unique, important, special, worthy or needed. 

4. The need for love and connection. The need to feel connected with, and loved by other human beings.  To belong, to be seen, to be part of a community.

5. The need for growth. The need to challenge yourself and develop emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically.

6. The need for contribution. The need to give beyond ourselves, serve, protect and care for others. Create a legacy. Create something that surpasses your own needs and desires.

What are you driven by?  What are your two primary needs and how are they influencing your decisions and your behavior today?

Any guesses on what need motivated me to finish the sorting and preparation for National November Writing Month??

             

The resulting short story ideas

Box of Inspirations
Category: Writing
Tags: inspiration artefacts writing memoir aids

Box of inspirations

 

 

I’m in the process of decluttering. Sorting out a lifetime’s accumulated junk. Wondering why on earth I have held on to so much stuff for so long.

 

But it’s not hard to hang on to the implements with which you’ve written so many words through your life: notes, letters (many many letters), cheques, contracts, shopping lists, thoughts, story ideas - the stories themselves, poems, and reminders. 

 

Rifling through my box of pencils I can remember where I was and what was going on in my life just by holding each one.

 

Do you remember when I used my big bulging button tin as my inspiration for my 2014 nano novel? It wasn’t a personal memoir, but I used it to help my protagonist (with dementia) remember poignant moments in her life. 

 

 

And so it is with these pens and pencils. In just the first handful I see the gold Sheaffer fountain pen I had for signing contracts when I was an IT consultant.  There’s the ICL training pencil from fabulous programming courses at ICL Beaumont near Windsor many years ago (oh those wonderful work colleagues.) And a multitude from hotels across the globe (oh those trips.) So many memories are all buried here in this clutch of pens and pencils.

 

 

Then there is this - the pencil from the Public Record Office in Kew where, in the early 1990s, I researched my mysterious father. This was before access to wartime records via the internet. This was when you had an appointment at the Public Record Office in Kew, were given a pencil (and only a pencil) with which to make notes. When requests were sent to the archives. When you waited for old yellowing original hand written files to be ‘brought up’. This was when I found what happened to my father, Pilot Officer  FJ Roberts RCAF DFM (the medal of courage), when he and fellow crew members were shot down in their Lancaster JB400 (L for La Loupe) of RAF 103 Squadron. It was the 5th Berlin Raid. I was five days old. And he was just 22. 

 

 

And this is why I took up writing again.

 

 

 

Do you have an old pencil box filled with memories?  With inspirations??

 

It's All in the Name
Category: Writing
Tags: writers abroad creative writing settting place names inspiration

 

As some of you may know I’m travelling around the coast of Ireland, North and South, on a trip down memory lane with my husband, Simon who grew up near Belfast.

As we’ve been negotiating the beautiful – no, stunning – landscapes I’ve been struck by some of the wonderful place names they have here. In Southern Ireland, the place name signs are written in Gaelic as well as English, which is even more enchanting. A name gives a sense of what we might expect… or not. For writers, these names can be an important part of the whole story, as places and settings, can be as powerful as characters with their own personality, challenges and romantic notions.

Favourite Famous Fictional Place Names

  • Hogsmeade – features in the Harry Potter tales and is the home to Hogwarts, the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • Castle Rock – appears in many Stephen King stories, a typical town with dark secrets
  • Middlemarch –  the 19th Century fictional town created by George Eliot and features as the title of her novel.
  • Bedrock – a prehistoric city and home to The Flintstones
  • Ambridge –  the fictional village which serves as the centre for the long running series ‘The Archers’ on Radio 4
  • Atlantis – a legendary lost continent supposedly sunk in the Atlantic Ocean

Need help with defining some new settings for your story? Here are some Place Name Generators which may do the trick. (Warning! Many of these will generate all kinds of stuff and you could find yourself still playing around hours later…)

Fantasy Name Generators

Springhole

Name generator

Writing Exercises Name Generator (will even provide descriptions!)

Pseudo Elizabethan Place Name Generator

Or just take a map for some inspiration. Here are some that I’ve come across on our trip thus far (all Southern as we don’t cross the border for another week…

  • Mohill – the Gaelic is Maothail
  • Knockawaddra  - there are a lot of places beginning with Knock, some could be funny, others a little bit more surreal
  • Bunacurry – the Gaelic is Bun an Churraigh, and it used to have a monastery.
  • Inishbofin- a very small island off the coast of County Galway
  • Achill Sound – the Gaelic being Gob an Choire

I’m sure to those familiar with Ireland these names will not be new, but for me having never visited the country (or should I say countries?), or spoken Gaelic before, it will be somewhere I will return for inspiration.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your setting names? Are they based on real places, fictional ones or a mixture of the two?

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