It would be great if you could wake up every day and have the motivation you need to do your job well, no matter what you do. No matter what you do for a living, there are always days where you do not feel like you are on top of your game or can give your best effort. When you are a writer, this can be a particularly defeating feeling. There have been more than a few occasions, including today, where you just look at a blank page staring back at you, and you try to figure out what it is you want to write or say. I probably stared at the screen more than I wrote today as I went back and forth over what I was doing, if I liked it, or if it even made any sense and went along with what I wanted to say.
Finding motivation can be a tricky thing, and everyone has their methods to get their brain working in the direction they want it to go. For me, I use a few different things to help with motivation. My workday typically starts pretty early because I like to work early in the morning. I get up at 5:30 AM, fire up my computer and start my day. I usually spend some time checking email and social media and then, before I even attempt to write anything, I play a couple of word games. The word games work well for me because they help me get my brain focused and working the way I want it to work. The games typically only take me about ten minutes to play, and then after that, I am ready to get to business.
Listening to music is a big part of helping me get motivated. I turn to my playlist on my iPod, or, as I do most often, go to Spotify and get my list going. I have pretty eclectic music tastes, so I have a little bit of everything on my list – rock, pop, country, jazz, classical, heavy metal, dance music – you pretty much name it and you will find it on my list. I put my noise-canceling headphones on to block everything out, turn my music on, and start writing. My writing is a lot more productive when I get into the music I listen to, and if there is a particularly long song that I get into, like a jam from the Allman Brothers or some jazz from Charlie Parker, I can bang out quite a few pages in a short amount of time.
Of course, then there are mornings like today when none of that seems to work. We all have days where we easily get distracted away from what we want to do or have to do, and we do anything and everything except the work we want to get to. For me, like many other writers I know, I often have a specific word quota that I work to get to each day before I can consider the day productive. Sometimes I can hit that number in just two or three hours if I get on a roll. On other days, it might take me eight or ten hours to get there, or perhaps I don’t get there at all.
There are also some days where I need some extra motivation to help me with my writing. Sometimes I just feel stuck with a story I am working on and don’t know where to start or go with what I am doing. Days like this I often turn to writing something completely different from what I should be working on to help me get my brain moving again. I have several boxes of cards known as Table Topics that have different prompts on them that are great not just as conversation starters, but help me write something out, even if it is just a paragraph or two. Very often that is more than enough to help me get my creativity out of the rut I might be stuck in.
I also take advantage of Reedsy Learning and the help they can offer with writing. Reedsy emails writing prompts every Friday, with different topics that you can write about for that week. They have four or five ideas each week you can work on to write short stories for yourself or ones that you can share with their blog and get a chance for publication and win $50. I have used those ideas in the past to help give me ideas for writing, even if it is just something silly for me to write down and use to get started.
Whether you are a writer or not, you must have a strategy that you use when you need some extra help getting motivated. What helps to get your brain working in the right direction? I’d love to hear your ideas and what works best for you. You can share your comments here anytime.
If you ever have any questions for me about my books (Change Up and Burnt are both available on the Amazon Store) or my writing, feel free to leave a comment here, contact me through Facebook or Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be glad to respond. You can also find me on Goodreads and reach me there.
Talk to you soon!