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How do you motivate yourself to write?

During the session on goals and goal setting for writers at the GSHW meeting on Saturday, we all had to write down three things which stop us from writing. Later, we were invited to tell the group what we'd put down.

It was interesting listening to the various reasons people gave. Some folks cited specific events, or their current personal situation, others gave more general reasons eg: busy at work, lack of time etc.

Events and personal situations can certainly slow us down, but if you ask me, for most of us, there are really only two things standing between ourselves and that polished, final draft: 

1:  We let ourselves get distracted too easily.

2:  We're just not excited enough about our current WiP (or whatever story idea we have rattling around our head) to actually sit down and work on it.

It's not hard to figure out how to deal with the first one. I've found a fixed work routine helps a lot. But not being excited about what you're working on is a harder nut to crack.

Here are a few things which I find help me to write.

1: No internet until the day's writing goal is reached. 
If I've been meeting my writing goals, I allow myself to answer emails and catch up a little online before the kids go to school, but if I fall behind, then I won't let myself go online until after the day's writing goal is met.

2: Read some of your good writing
We all have work we're proud of. Take some time to read what you can do. If you managed it once, there's no reason you can't do it again. 

3: Read some positive reviews
If you have positive reviews of past books or stories, read them too. It's amazing how much motivation you can get from a pat on the back, even years after it was given.

4: Rewrite the outline
Lack of motivation could be your sub-conscious mind telling you it doesn't like where your story's going. I know for some folks the outline is their entire first draft, but if you can write out a rough synopsis, you may spot the odd plot hole or even find some inspiration.

5: Consider trunking the WiP
If there's one thing I learned from my days as lead singer in a local (legend in our own lunchtime) rock band, it's to keep moving around on stage, so you're a harder target. The other important thing I learned is that not every song idea turns out to be a good one. Is it possible your WiP just isn't turning out the way you had in mind?

It's a last resort to be sure, but sometimes you just have to move on to the shiny new idea.

How about you?

How do you motivate yourself to write?

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
While all of those things might induce or entice me to write more,
nothing distracts me from writing when I want to write.
With me, it's a sort of lust.
Jan. 16th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Lol, writng's easy when I want to, it's when I don't that I need to resort to tactics :)
Uta Burke
Jan. 16th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
Motivating myself to write
Jon is right: Write the outline to find plot holes. I use index cards and a poster board. After I have all the scenes written up that I want the story to include, I connect them, but at least I know where the meandering is going. When I wrote "Immortal Link" in March 2010, the story basically wrote itself, because I was so excited about it, and also because I felt the spirits of Jim Thorpe, PA were involved by telling me what to write (it became an unplanned paranormal by the way). The first draft was done in 4 months.
The book I'm writing now was dragging for several months. I knew it was a good story, but I did not feel much passion for it. Once I plotted with index cards and board, I was at least able to finish it in a little over a year. Now when I read it, I am surprised at how well it turned out. If you believe in the plot, but are not crazy about writing it, don't give up just yet. Have a killer ending in mind and work toward it. You might surprise yourself!
Jan. 16th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Motivating myself to write
Killer endings are always good motivators :)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 16th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Lol, if Catholic guilt works, then I say go for it :)
Jan. 16th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
So far, getting up in the morning is motivation enough. :)
Jan. 16th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear it, Terri :)
Jan. 16th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
I felt the most prolific writing on Twitter. Seeing the favorites and retweets just kept me going and lose track of time. It fed into my vanity. Unfortunately this adversely affected my life since I was unable to balance it.
Jan. 17th, 2012 09:23 am (UTC)
I try not to hang out too much on Twitter, facebook etc. They're great fun, but as you say, it's easy to lose track of time when you're online.

Blogging can cause the same problem, but I find it easier to control, and (personally) a lot more fun.

Thanks for sharing, Adrian :)
Jan. 17th, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
My usual schedule of work and family is so busy that I rarely feel I have to motivate myself to write. It's my treat, my time off, my fun. I live for that writing slot!

But I do have to motivate myself to work on one thing over another if I know that one is most important, or nearer to a goal that needs completing. So what do I do then?

I think in terms of "slots" and "treats." Tuesday's hour will be for final edits on "this" short story, and that new idea will be waiting for me like a candy treat at Thursday's hour slot, freshly ready for me since I've already accomplished the other.

I also find it helps to set deadlines for certain projects, just as if it were work. Like today: my goal is to submit one poem. It might not be till ten p.m. tonight, but it's in the planner.
Jan. 17th, 2012 04:14 pm (UTC)
Deadlines are great. Even when I miss them by a bit, I know I've accomplished more than I would have otherwise.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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