Tuesday, March 18, 2014

10 Ways to Find Writing Motivation

Some days I can sit down at a computer and the words come flying out of my fingers, onto the keyboard displayed on the screen like lightning .  They are perfection exceeded and there is no stopping the flow.  Until I realize that I should have left for work/practice/dinner/picking-up-the-kid-at-school ten minutes earlier.    

Other days (usually when I have all the time in the world to write) I wander around the house with my brain filled with - - nothing.  Bone jarring, air sucking nothing.   

Writers know those days.  Those days when getting our thoughts down for prosperity just seems like a hurdle to the moon.  Nothing seems to be happening in the lobe above my shoulders and precious uninterrupted times a-wasting.

You can jump this hurdle with an array of odd-ball things to get the juices flowing.

1.  Take a walk.  Nothing says “turn on the brain” by turning it off.  I wrote three blogs last week just by taking the dog out to do his business.

2.  Take a shower.  Again, no distractions.  You can’t see the dishes aren’t done, the bed is unmade, or the pile of laundry waiting for detergent and water and agitation.  This blog got “written” while the conditioner set and I lathered up the armpits. 

3.  Know your carrot.  Or chocolate.  Or music.  Have one thing that you only do while sitting down writing.  Mine is the ipod.  It is filled only with music I listen to while writing (ironically the song right now is Matthew West’s “Do Something” “If not now, then when?”)

4.  Write during a certain show/game.  Wait, what?  Hear me out.  During football season, I am a writing fiend.  This is because I can write in spurts while they: line up, replay the play (over and over and over) and have commercials.  I am completely unproductive during the month of February after the Super Bowl on into mid-March when soccer season starts.  Right now I am waiting for the Sounders game to start in an hour and a half.    

5.  Pick a dreaded chore.  Then you have to chose whether to do that chore or write.  Mine is washing the dog.  Which means I have to actually catch the dog to get him in the sink. This means the kitchen sink has to be clean.  Which means unloading the dishwasher.  See, I’ll take writing over washing the dog any day.  And if I do go through the dog-washing motions, at least the dog smells better.

6.  Get a job.  Or volunteer.  No seriously, if my day is wide open with NOTHING, it is so much easier to procrastinate.  I teach which means I don’t have to be anywhere 8-4 in July and August.  September through June all I can think of is uninterrupted days of writing.  During those two summer months, I get the least amount of anything creative done.  Go figure.

7.  Read a book.  Or a blog.  Or the news.  Especially if it’s crappy.  Nothing like the competitive I-can-do-this-better motivation.

8.  Steal time.  My husband is, right now, three hours away at a wholesale tree sale (don’t even ask) and my teenager should be up doing her own chores.  Instead, I let the ducks and chickens out four hours ago and I’m “letting” her sleep in.  It’s 11:00 am.  I figure I have another two hours before she wakes up.  I have had this plan in the works for four days now.

I had to put up with THIS to be able to carve out writing time.

9.  Look at your notebook/lists/scraps of paper (everywhere).  As a writer I come up with a lot of my ideas in the car on the drive to work (dammit) so I write those down on any piece of paper I can find (receipt anyone?).  Consult these.  It was a good idea once; it probably still is.

10.  Set the timer.  Once I have an idea ready to go, I set the timer.  One hour is my max attention limit.  Again, that competitive streak kicks in as I try to race the clock.

Bottom line, find what works for you.  It doesn’t have to make sense - sense is overrated anyway.  Then don’t bother defending it – just do it.

Or you can dream about this and know that the only way to get there is to get off your butt and earn money!
Or maybe that's just me!
Photo credit:  JC Imagery

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