Hello SEers. John, with you today to discuss motivation.
I feel a little like the resident coach when it comes to my topics here on Story Empire. I think that is true because I am concerned that those who have chosen to be authors (Yes, that’s you) work in an environment that, for the most part, is self-driven. Unless you have a big contract with Random House, the words you write are words you choose to write at a pace you choose to write them. With all that freedom comes the pitfalls associated with self-directed productivity.
What are those pitfalls? Here are just a few procrastination, self-doubt, poor time management, and lack of motivation.
Given the title of the post, I want to discuss the last one, motivation. I have been seeing a lot of correspondence where authors seem to be commiserating with each other on the lack of motivation. The sad thing is motivation is the fuel that drives the writing engine. If a writer is not feeling motivated for whatever reason, then all the creative ideas, no matter how great, are going to remain unwritten.
Why would an author lack motivation? I’m sure if you look back on your own experience, you can pinpoint a few reasons.
- Family obligations
- Work issues
- Economic concerns
- Health issues
- Political concerns
- Story concerns
These are all very legitimate reasons to lose the momentum necessary to keep writing. This list was purposely drawn up to include those items over which there is very little direct control that the author can put into place to have them go away. In real life, this stuff happens, and it would be very naive to offer advice on how to get rid of them.
So how do we maintain our motivation in the face of these issues, and importantly how do we get our motivation back if it is misplaced?
I’m suggesting an effortless way that includes (you guessed it) five steps.
Step one. Take a moment each day and list a couple of points about what makes you excited about your story. (This will remind you of where you have been)
Step two. Read your list out loud. Do it softly, though. You don’t want those around you to think you need an intervention. (This will cause you to forget why you are not motivated and turn your attention to your work)
Step three. Take a moment to think about your story. Jot down one item that, if it was in the story, it would make it more exciting to you. (This will set the stage for additional plot or action items)
Step four. Put your list and the item missing on the top corner of your desk. (This action keeps a record for the next time you need to be motivated)
Step five. Go back to where you left off and start writing again, but promise yourself you will only write for a half-hour. (The half-hour promise is to put you back into control of the writing process. A half-hour is a time frame you can find. We are discussing motivation here, not productivity)
These steps work for me when I have a motivation issue. They could be done before each writing session, but understandably they are not needed all the time.
I hope you can find some value in this post. Do you have any tricks to maintain and revive motivation? If so, please share in the comments section.