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4 Ways NOT to Find Your Writing Motivation

Photo: DSmous | Flickr

The ultimate remedy for writing motivation is a topic many have blogged about before. We all know the things that we are supposed to do like make time in our schedules for writing, use prompts and other exercises to jumpstart your creative juices, yada, yada, yada. Instead of re-iterating the standard prose on writing motivation, I thought I’d do something a little different to spur us writer folk into action.

I’m going to tell you what NOT to do to find your writing motivation.

DO NOT turn on the TV. You start out telling yourself you’ll watch the first five minutes of the news—after all, they’re doing a story about the germs lurking in the corners of your kitchen, you can’t miss that, right? But after the national news goes off, it’s time for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy—who can miss those? Game shows keep your mind sharp! After game shows there are sitcoms and dramas and Wipeout and basketball games and Mythbusters and 400 other channels full of distractions. Next thing you know it’s after midnight and you’re passed out on the couch in the middle of a Pawn Stars marathon. The TV is a gateway drug and at least a few nights a week, you have to avoid turning it on because the moment you press the power button, it’s over.

DO NOT write while doing other things. I’m sure you’re great at multi-tasking—I am, too. I can cook dinner while unloading the dishwasher, checking my Facebook status and watching TV. But when it comes to writing, you have to be 100% focused on the task at hand. No writing while you help the kids with their homework. No writing while you surf the Internet for new meatloaf recipes. No writing while you carry on a text conversation. Shut the door, turn the phone off and lose yourself in what you’re writing.

DO NOT restrict yourself to a schedule. I know we’ve said in the past (as many people have) that you should set aside scheduled time to write. We stand by that, but we also know that sometimes inspiration can strike outside of your scheduled parameters. If you start to feel that familiar tingle in your fingers most commonly associated with the writing bug, by all means indulge it! I mean, unless you are in the middle of some sort of life-saving maneuver or driving a big rig down the Interstate. In that case you should probably wrap up the business at hand before you pull out a notepad or a laptop and start writing. Just a suggestion…

DO NOT follow other people’s instructions. Yes, this completely contradicts everything else in this entire blog. But the real truth of the matter here is that finding what motivates you is a trial and error process. Each of us writers must figure out what works best for us. Some people need schedules, some people can write during kids’ playgroup and some people write incredible prose while watching a Gilmore Girls marathon. When you find what works for you—do it!

A New Resource to Help Out

If you find yourself in need of a bit of an additional kick in the pants, you really should subscribe to our Writing Motivation newsletter. This once-monthly newsletter will be filled with tips to get those creative juices flowing, as well as ways to connect with fellow authors at the same point in the publishing process as you!

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  • Great points! Thanks for sharing. Sometimes it’s so hard to stay on track, but these tips on spot on!

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  • Good points. Another one I would add is not to be too precious about writing. Don’t restrict opportunities to times when there is the prospect of plenty of time and no disturbance. Write a paragraph while the kettle boils. Write at the kitchen table, not only in the study or that special place associated with writing. If people disturb you say hi, try not to fly into a rage because you are fluffing a piece of dialogue.

  • I have a huge problem multi-tasking when I should be writing. I’m going to take the suggestion and lock myself away, stay offline, and write. Thanks for a great post! :0)

    P.S. Are you doing NaNaWriMo?

  • Here’s another one to add:

    DO NOT cut and paste from another site. I see this all the time anymore. I’ll read the same article (word for word) on different sites and think to myself how unoriginal people have become, uninspired, yet so desperate to post something that they must steal material.

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  • I know the “don’t turn on the TV” one from experience. There were so many nights where I got nothing done because something good was on TV. When my editor sent her feedback, I unplugged the idiot box and stuck it in a closet for months so I could revise.

    (Note: it helps that I live alone.)