Sometimes in the world of writing, you need something to kick you into action.  Doesn’t matter if that action is writing, editing, marketing, or making contacts, something has to come along and make you spring into action.

For me, that spur was a friend.

It’s not always an easy thing to motivate yourself.  Sometimes it takes an outsider to show you what you need to do next.  That’s one reason why writing really can’t take place in a total vacuum.  Sooner or later, you’ll have to show it to someone.

About three years ago, I was talking with my friend Lyndsey, telling her about the convention another friend of mine, Rocky, went to.  I’d never heard of it, but from what I’d heard, there were tons of writers there, as well as agents, publishers, all sorts of people it would be great to make contact with.  As soon as I finished relaying what I’d heard, Lyndsey said, “You should have gone.”

The next year, I did go.  The year after, I went again, finding a copy of a book I’d written a short story for.

That con was Dragon*Con.  Naturally, I’ll be going again in a little less than two weeks.

There was another spur, one that just dropped in on me.  I was talking to Jonathan, another close friend, and he knew a writer who suggested I go to the Missouri Writers Conference.  A very different kind of affair, but there were agents on hand to pitch to.

One of these, an esteemed agent I won’t name here, eventually said of the story I pitched that “the writing just isn’t ready.”

A year later, I pitched a different story to the same agent.  The second response was, “I didn’t fall in love with it the way I wanted to.”

Might not seem like much, but that’s the difference of being declined due to writing and being declined due to an agent’s personal tastes.  I wouldn’t have that barometer if I hadn’t been spurred into going to that conference.

What spurs have motivated you to discover things about your pursuits?