Writing On The Positive Side

by Larissa Ione

Anyone who has read my writing knows that I tend to write very dark, and very gritty. Heck, my tagline is "Seduce Your Dark Side," because yeah, I write on the dark side. In real life, my sense of humor runs a little dark as well, and sometimes, so does my outlook on the world.

And, yes, there have been a lot of dark moments in my writing life. Like most writers, I've had ups and downs. The ups have been amazing, and the downs...well, they've been REALLY down. Even now, I'm going through a "down phase," where I'm doubting myself, doubting my writing, and I can't keep up with the demands for my time. Saying no has never come easy to me, and I'm finding that I have had to start saying no before I'm crushed under the weight of obligations I don't have time for. I'm finding it harder and harder to stay positive.

When it gets this bad, I try to remember the positives that that kept me going in the beginning of my writing career. The best one?

A cold bottle of champagne.

You're looking at me like I'm a weirdo, aren't you? Okay, let me explain.

See, there's a trick I've learned from friends who struggle with weight loss -- they keep a picture on their fridge, whether it's a photo of them at an earlier, lighter weight, or an outfit they want in a smaller size, or a vacation they want to take as a reward. They say they celebrate every little milestone, as well.

So I translated that into a writing-focused visual, and that visual is a bottle of champagne.

I ALWAYS keep a bottle of champagne chilled so that every time I open the fridge door, I see it and know that the next time I reach a milestone or something good happens, I can drink it. That milestone could be finishing the rough draft of a book, or turning in the book, or finishing revisions. Or maybe the celebration is a publication date, or hitting a bestseller list, or getting an outstanding review.

I've learned to celebrate EVERYTHING, no matter how small. Heck, even getting a new, great cover is reason to celebrate. Anything to lift the spirits and remind yourself why you write.

But what if you aren't published? You can still celebrate finishing a manuscript or being brave enough to query an agent or editor.

Or...and this is what I did...I had a "Call Bottle." This was a bottle of champagne I kept chilled and set aside for the day I got "The Call." Each year, if I didn't get The Call, I drank it on New Year's Eve to ring in the new year...and ring in a new beginning. On New Year's Day, I'd go buy another bottle and repeat the ritual, saving that bottle for The Call.

When that day came, it was the most awesome tasting bottle of champagne EVER.

So here's the thing; this writing business comes with some awesome highs, but there are also far too many lows. To keep your head above water, you need to do four things: write, write, write...and celebrate every little benchmark you can. If you don't like champagne, splurge on some special chocolate to keep as your visual inspiration. Or reward yourself with a trip, or a couple of hours at the spa.

Positive reinforcement: What's good for training the dog is good for training your muse. Er...well, you know what I mean!

Do you have any tricks or tips to keep yourself writing, or to motivate yourself? I'd love to hear it!

~ * ~

Larissa Ione is the New York Times bestselling author of the Demonica series and its spinoff, the Lords of Deliverance, featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Her upcoming Lords of Deliverance book, Immortal Rider, releases on November 22nd


  1. Hi Larissa.
    Can I just say that knowing you have moments of doubt about your writing makes me feel hopeful? If *you* -- my freaking idol -- doubts, then I'm alright to doubt myself because it doesn't mean I suck. Very, very good news for my muse.

    What do I do to keep myself motivated? I keep my favorite lines from my most recent wip taped to the edge of my desk. They make me smile. They let me know that somewhere in me are the "right" words.

    I also treat myself to a special plant for my garden when a biggee happens. That way it reblooms every year and reminds me/gives me hope.

    Thanks for the awesome post,

  2. Denise...that plant idea is BRILLIANT!!! Thanks for sharing! And good luck with the writing -- I know how hard it can be at times, and yeah, boy do I have those moments! :)

  3. Hello, from one dark writer to another! I have just started my writing career in the past year and have published my first novel. I have a bottle of cab waiting for December 1st. That is when book number two will be up on Kindle and NOOK. In fact, I really love that particular cab...so I may beat the deadline!

    I go and read my reviews on the days that I get those messages in my brain that say I suck at writing.

  4. I'm not a writer just a reader but I love your post :).


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