What do you do when you’re sitting there – ready to write or edit or meet that deadline – and you just aren’t inspired or motivated to do so? Any distraction is a good distraction, right? Sigh.
This is how I’ve been feeling recently, so I said to my friend, “I need some methods to keep me motivated when I feel blue and unmotivated.” And I sighed. And then I remembered I needed to write this post. Perfect timing to go find some methods to combat this melancholy or apathy or <insert your own feeling>.
After reading several articles… here is what I found.
Have One Goal – when we take on too much in our lives, it’s difficult to find energy and focus to accomplish our one goal. Clear your plate, that other stuff isn’t going anywhere. Make writing your one goal for a set amount of time and get to it. I am notoriously guilty of over-loading my plate. Must learn to say no.
Be Excited – Don’t write the scenes that you’re struggling with at this time, save them for when you’re on a roll. Talk about, think about, find inspiration in the fun scenes, the scenes that you can’t wait to write. That yummy sex scene or that juicy action scene. We don’t actually have to write in a linear fashion. Yes… I’m guilty of this one, too.
Be Accountable – Post your goals for pubic viewing or be accountable to someone. I always get more excited about writing when I discuss it with my critique partner. And, it always helps to have goals and accountability(see this post).
Be Positive – Be aware of negative self-talk or that all-too-critical self-editor we have in our heads and hush it up with some positive talk about how great it’s going to be when this scene is done and how we can always edit later. Harder than it sounds, but practice helps.
Baby Steps – My mom is a great proponent of ‘people can do anything for fifteen minutes’. So, write for fifteen minutes. It may be crap and might get deleted later, but so what. Write for fifteen minutes. It may turn into two hours or two chapters. If after the fifteen minutes, you still got nothing, then repeat the next day and the next… at some point the cobwebs will clear and your inner genius will come out to play.
Stick With It – NaNo is all about this! Just stick with it, even a page a day results in a novel in year. Focus on the baby steps and do it daily. This also helps with creating a habit.
Make Writing a Habit – If you create a routine, you can create a habit and that can get you into your writing ‘head-space’ really fast. Sit in the same place, play the same music, turn off your phone, get your drink, settle in… whatever you need to do to write. Do it the same way, day in and day out and make it a habit. Then when you’re struggling, this can often get you into the zone because your body and mind know what they are supposed to do next… write.
Use Your Subconscious – If you have a scene you don’t know how to fix or a problem to solve or a plot line to repair, think on it just before you go to sleep. Seriously, think about what you have already and what you need to continue as you are falling asleep and let your subconscious work it out. I’m pretty sure mine is smarter than I am. I always get what I need when I do this.
So, I’m feeling better already and hey… I wrote this post when I didn’t want to write anything.
Any other suggestions?
Great post. Thanks for all the ideas. I think we all struggle with motivation sometimes.
I’ve used several of the techniques you list. Sometimes, when I just can’t get the words out, I’ll go take a walk. I find a little physical activity can help clear my head and free my mind. Usually by the time I return to my desk, my fingers are itching to start typing and the words pour out.
Walks are good, fresh air is good, activity is good. Sometimes I wash my dishes.
I had to use one of them just yesterday. Had an issue, took a nap, woke up with the solution, continued editing. Love it when it works 🙂
This post is so right on! Sometimes we need a shot in the arm. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break. But mostly, we need to put our butt in the chair and our fingers on keyboard and let the process happen.
So, true, Ace! Butt in the Chair… Write. Seems simple enough. 🙂
Thanks i needed this.