Motivation

Motivation

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

            -Jim Rohn

How to become motivated? How to stay motivated? What motivates you? For every person, the answer to these questions will be different. People find diverse ways to become motivated, and maintain it. What motivates each individual is also very subjective, and depends on whether they rely on extrinsic or intrinsic sources.

I find motivation is always hard to find, and none so hard then in the silly season. You become so busy with Christmas parties and preparation, last minute gift shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning! The list seems endless. Then after it all dies down you are just so tired. You just want to curl up on the couch with a good book and rest for weeks! The silly season is a good reason to rest for a while, take a break from writing, recharge your batteries and come back to it with a fresher mind and different perspective. This can actually inspire you and help make good progress when you sit down to write again. However, what about the rest of the time? The struggle to become motivated, and maintain it, is a big one. I know I labour with it, and that is what inspired this blog.

Basically we need to think to plan, but we need to feel to act. So, once you have the thinking and planning out of the way, how do you build up those emotions so you can get things done? Personally, I focus on what I imagine the finished product will be; the sense of pride I get from seeing a project through; and hopefully all the positive feedback I will receive! It seems I rely on a mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Take a moment to think about what makes you feel good about your writing? Why do you write? The answer to these questions will help you ascertain what motivates you. Use these to help keep up your motivation.

Lack of motivation can also hit when the writing project in front of you seems insurmountable. The sheer size and extent of the venture before you can be daunting and overwhelming. In this case, I break the overall big project down into smaller assignments that I can tackle one by one. Each time I tick of a task, it sends a little thrill of achievement and pride through me. This is what helps maintain my motivation and complete the bigger project.

You can create a “motivation board”. Like a mood board, use it to pin up all those things that motivate and inspire you. Keep it somewhere close to where you usually write. Then each time you feel yourself lagging, look up at that board and let it inspire and motivate you to keep writing!

How to Motivate Yourself at Anytime by Jane Genovese has some great ideas on motivation. It is well worth a read for more tips and ideas.

Motivation is a personal thing. You simply need to find what motivates you and use it to the best of your ability to keep going. The more you write, the easier it will become.

 

 

Warm-up your creative muscle!

Warm-Up Your Creative Muscle

You stretch before exercise so why not “stretch” before exerting your creative muscle? Warming up before beginning whatever writing project you are currently working on can assist with flow of thought and productivity. It helps to eliminate distractions and limber up your mind.

It may sound like a bizarre concept, but in many artistic and creative pursuits people warm-up. A singer will perform throat exercises to loosen their vocal cords; an artist will draw rough sketches to warm-up. So what can a writer do?

There are many different writing warm-up exercises you can employ. I have briefly described a few exercises I find useful below; however, you can click on the link to go through to a more detailed explanation of each warm-up. These are just a small sample of what I have found worked for me. There are so many more out there, and you can even develop your own. It is simply a matter of finding what works best for you and your writing style.

  • Journaling – helps to stimulate thoughts and record ideas.
  • Free Writing – write non-stop whatever thoughts fly into your heard for a set amount of time.
  • Word Jar – have a jar full of random words, pick one out and write about it for a certain length of time.
  • Random word link – Pick 3 random words and link them together in a short story or paragraph.

It doesn’t matter which one or how many warm-up activities you choose to use, the point of them is to get the writing process started and the words rolling. Generally speaking, getting started is the most difficult part of writing. It is much easier to carry over this flow of words and thoughts the warm-up exercises produce into your current project when your mind has been engaged in this manner.

To further enhance your writing ability, creativity and productivity form a routine that includes warm-up time. A routine that incorporates a warm-up can help activate the right frame of mind to approach your work. It is easy to use these exercises as another excuse to procrastinate, so be sure to set a time limit on how long you will warm-up for. About 10-20minutes is an ideal length so that you relax into your writing and hopefully when you start your project you wont be staring at a blank screen for long.

HELPFUL SITES

As mentioned earlier there are many different warm-up activities you can perform before (or during) writing. Here is a quick list of sites with some great exercises and ideas for warming up.

10 Writing Warm-Up Exercises – Writers Inkwell

Don’t Ever Write Without This Writer’s Warm-Up – ProBlogger

5 Great Writing Warm Up Activities…And What They Lead To – Adam Simpson

Writing Warm-Ups – WriteShop

Experiment and mix it up until you find a routine and warm-up that suits your needs and writing style. It may seem like a lot of hard work now, but you will be grateful when you settle into it and discover how much time it really saves. You will greatly reduce the amount of time you stare at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to hit. And if you find that at any time during your writing you get stuck, you can use one of the activities to loosen up and get the words flowing again.

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
Jane Yolen