As a new writer or even a reader, you may think that every author looooves to write and is eager and raring to go every day.
Yeaaah not so much the case. At least not with me and several other writes I know.
It’s not that we don’t love it, but probably more a combination of procrastination and frustration on not knowing where exactly a story is going and what to do next. Not to mention many of us seem to work better with deadlines looming rather than left to our own devices.
While we all love to write, for most of us, it’s not the job that’s paying the bills, therefore we work our “real” jobs, have families to take care of, houses to clean, dinners to cook, etc. When we finally get that free moment, we don’t want to relax by writing or it’s time for sleep.
So how do you motivate yourself to write when time and energy is lacking? I have a couple of suggestions:
1) Reward yourself. Like any other goal you’re trying to obtain, losing weight, working out, etc. setting a reward for yourself could help motivate you to get writing. Maybe you write 500 words and you get to watch an episode of your favorite show. Finish a chapter and you treat yourself to a relaxing bubble bath and a glass of wine. Whatever works for you. If it helps, set up a chart, use stickers, whatever, to remind you of the goals you’re trying to reach and how you get to reward yourself when you hit them. Yes it sounds like something you might do to motivate a kid, but come on, who doesn’t like stickers and presents?
2) Set deadlines. Maybe you don’t have an agent yet or a small press waiting for your work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set deadlines to loom over your head. Maybe you know your writing group is meeting in two weeks. Use those two weeks to finish a chapter for you to read to them. Maybe you want to release your book during a certain season because it’s a story about a holiday or whatever. Use that as your deadline. Set yourself up for promotions, whether it’s a blog hop or a giveaway, etc. something that will make you frantic to finish up so you’re not letting people down. Whatever works for you.
3) Do nothing. That’s right, I said do nothing. Know what happens to me when I procrastinate enough? I start to go slightly crazy. Just because I’m not writing doesn’t mean there aren’t a million ideas bouncing around in my head. Plot twists, character dialog, etc. Left too long and I may start talking to myself which may prompt friends and family to introduce me to the comfy and snug white jacket. I know to get back to “normal” (whatever *that* maybe) I need to start writing again and clearing out the craziness in my head.
Find out which works best for you. I warn you, they might not work every time and that’s okay. Sometimes you do just need to take a break, but if you find yourself breaking more than writing, then perhaps it’s time to put one of these to the test.
Do you have other suggestions on how to motivate yourself?