Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vomit Will Motivate You

by Julie Coulter Bellon

This blog is going to have some descriptions that may be disturbing/disgusting to some. This is your fair warning. Continue at your own risk.

Father’s Day didn’t go very well at our house. We traveled to our in-laws’ to wish my father-in-law a happy Father’s Day and have brownie sundaes. On the way home, one of our sons mentioned that his stomach wasn’t feeling well. I think I have mentioned on this blog before that one of my sons is afflicted with carsickness—and since it was the same son, I thought that if he just looked out the window and didn’t think about it, he would be fine. (This trick has worked in the past). Unfortunately, we’d only gone about five blocks when we heard the dreaded vomiting/choking sound from the back seat, and then we heard the liquid sloshing about as he vomited everywhere---on himself, his brother in front of him, the car seat, just everywhere. As the stench filled the car, my other five children, especially my oldest daughter, were begging my husband to pull over and pull over quickly. You see, my daughter has a weak stomach, and hearing or seeing someone else vomit makes her vomit, so needless to say she needed to get out of the car. Fast. My husband finally pulled over and she got out just in time to vomit all over the curb. The other kids piled out quickly, mostly groaning and saying how gross it was and that they never wanted to sit by my carsick son ever again. And of course, since I am just barely out of the morning sickness part of my pregnancy, my own stomach was a little sensitive and I could feel the bile rising at seeing and smelling what was in and out of my car. My husband was in the driver’s seat laughing a bit as he said, “it’s sort of like watching a Chinese fire drill of puking people.” I guess seeing us all pile out and vomit would be sort of funny in a gross sort of way.

How does this incident relate to writing you ask? My topic today is motivation. You see, just one action by my son motivated our entire family to action. Some copied his action, some thought about copying his action, and others just commented on the action. But we were all motivated in some way. So it is with writing.

There are several levels of motivation for me. Sometimes, when I’m doing something totally unrelated to writing, an idea will come to me and I can write it down and it will turn into a plotline, a character, or an entire book. It’s motivating to have that little seed planted and know you can do something with it, and in that instance I am the motivating action for my writing, like my son was for everyone else.

I also like hearing about my writer friends who are plotting, have a great character quirk come to them, or as they finish their novel, because it motivates me and makes me think I can do it. I can “copy” their action, so to speak, like my daughter did in reaction to my son’s action. I read several blogs each day and follow several writers on twitter because I enjoy the way they approach their writing, not to mention that they have a lot of struggles and successes I can identify with. It’s definitely another way to motivate myself, even if I only think about copying them, because it's still a tiny bit of motivation that can grow to truly giving me a call to action.

Another motivation is receiving feedback on my work. Sometimes feedback motivates me to dig down and fix the flaws right away. But sometimes, when the feedback is long or overwhelming, it’s not quite as motivating to fix right away. Although, I have to say that long and critical comments on my work have often given me ideas for the book that make it stronger, and motivate me to really flex some writing skills and learn even more about my craft. So, for me, feedback is almost always motivating in some way, even if it’s just from those “commenting” (like the entire rest of my family who piled out of the car and weren't vomiting, but were totally grossed out) and me using their comments for motivation.

So, tell me, what motivates you? Are you a self-starter that is the motivating action? Do you get motivation from “copying” or listening to others and think that you can do it? Or, are you getting motivation from comments that others make about your work?

And the most important question of all---do you have any ideas for carsickness cures?


At 6/24/2010 6:12 PM, Blogger Anna Buttimore said...

Yeuch! I remember that happening with my littlest - luckily only her and everyone else too - and there's just that feeling of helplessness when you're driving that the grossness just has to be and there's nothing you can do about it. We never did get rid of the smell, but about six months later the cylinder head went and would have cost £800 to fix so we scrapped the car instead since it was worth less than that.

As to motivation. Don't know. I'm mostly motivated by the fact that I love writing. Can't say the same for vomiting, so not sure the analogy works for me there...

At 6/24/2010 7:11 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I'm motivated to write when the voices in my head won't leave me alone.

At 6/24/2010 7:48 PM, Blogger Marta O. Smith said...

I am motivated most when I read something really well written. If I cut back on my reading, I seem to slack off on writing as well.

I also get motion sickness easily. The only thing that works 100% for me is if I am the one driving. Otherwise, sitting in the front passenger seat helps. Being asleep helps. I would also recommend stashing some plastic grocery bags (check for holes first) in strategic locations for the sick person to grab. This facilitates clean up and minimizes the smell because you can get the bag out of the car quickly.

At 6/24/2010 7:49 PM, Blogger Noble M Standing said...

Chewable Dramimine!!!!! My kids swear by it!!

My bigest motivation is the voices in my head that won't leave me alone unless I am doing something in a writerly way. I will take someones success or comments and let that also motivate me. I also think "well I've worked my butt off to get this far might as well finish the task."

At 6/24/2010 8:04 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

If your son is old enough to sit in the front seat, then having him stare out the front windshield is better than the side windows. I used to get car sick until I grew up. Such a relief! Also, you should be carrying plastic "barf bags" in the car, as well as paper towels, as a safety precaution. Eating saltine crackers can help his young stomach, just as much as a pregnant one, when nausea first sets in. We’ve applied each of these suggestions over the years to help our youngest son who, like me, got car sick on each of our vacation road trips. I’ll always remember the ghastly smell.

I don't need motivation to write. On this one subject I'm completely obsessive compulsive.

At 6/24/2010 9:49 PM, Blogger Jolene said...

Motivation isn't a problem unless I'm bored with the particular project. If it's something I feel like I really need to do, I pull up my ipod playlist for that project (I can't write without music) and then I can continue.
Generally, my biggest problem is putting the thing DOWN.

At 6/25/2010 12:56 AM, Blogger Valerie Ipson said...

You can't make a scene like that up, can you? :/ I love that your husband was able to find the humor in the situation.

At 6/25/2010 1:06 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

As someone who knows all motion sickness intimately I agree with what others have said about having him sit in front or where he can see out of the front window.

I keep a small, empty, ice cream bucket in the car to use as a garbage can, but it is really there in case I get sick.

And when I found these, I was so happy. Keep them in the car and he can use them whenever you go anywhere, even short trips.

At 6/28/2010 6:29 PM, Blogger Lynn Gardner said...

Ginger snaps help - have them munch the cookies in the car as you begin the trip.

Motivation: Fans who want more, even when I don't feel like exploring those situations or characters again. But now this ghost story that has bugged me for 15 years - that's another story and one about to be told.


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