My writing group (wordandshield on Instagram) talked about the topic of motivation in our Livestream this week. I thought it might be interesting to share some of our ideas and insights.
Almost every writer I know struggles with motivation sometimes. While we love and enjoy writing as such it is often difficult to get started. It sometimes helps to remember what our central motivation for writing really is. Do you want to tell a story that others may enjoy and take something from? Do you want to write the story you love and haven’t been able to find anywhere yet? Do you enjoy writing as a process? Maybe it is even a kind of flow experience for you that enables you to forget everything around you.
Whatever it is, it can often be helpful to remember your core motivation if you feel like it would be easier to give up on writing. Do you realize that writing is an important part of your life? Even if it is sometimes hard to find the inspiration or strength to really do it right now? Here are a few ideas that might help you.
Some of us find inspiration in nature. A long hike may help to get your creative juices flowing again. Just let your thoughts wander and enjoy the quiet or listen to music that fits your current project. Don’t try too hard, to get new ideas. Just relax your mind and give yourself some space and time.
When you finally sit down to write it may help to have something specific that you connect with writing. A special kind of tea, for example, or a different drink. It’s best not to connect alcoholic drinks with the writing process, because writing only when you’re feeling a little tipsy may become a dangerous habit. Try to quiet your inner critical voice through other means. Light a candle or some inscence. Wear a favourite sweater or snuggle into a blanket. Some writers like to listen to music while writing, while others enjoy the quiet. I sometimes like to write while listening to ambiance videos on youtube. Old Library ambiances or Cozy Cabin ambiances are my favorite.
Other habits may also help you to get started. A few of us like writing in cafés or libraries. It can help to get away from home where you always find something else to do and maybe the chaos around you keeps you from concentrating on your text. If you’re someone who’s easily distracted, this may not be for you, though. Best try it out if you’re in a slump to see if it helps.
We all agreed that it helps a great deal to have one or more writing buddies, who hold you accountable. If you can’t meet physically it’s possible to meet online and even decide on binding writing times. That helps many of us to be more productive. If you don’t have friends who write, they could work on something else during that time. Or join a writing group. Having people who brainstorm with you or help with plot problems is a great motivator in itself.
What helps you get motivated? I’d be happy to hear your ideas in the comments.