Writing

Five Tips to Staying Motivated with your Writing

I’m starting this blog post out feeling very…very…unmotivated. Go figure, right? Today was the first day back to school for my kiddos and the first day back to school/work for me as a para in a middle school. To sum up how this first day went…the coffee pot is full of fresh coffee at 7pm and my youngest passed out watching a YouTube video.
We’re pretty wrecked…

But some of the motivational goals I’m setting for myself are to stay true to said goals!!! And I’m going to do it, damn it!! Even if this is literally what I walked into at work today in the break room….at 8:30am…

So wrong. That’s one Keurig and two empty, unplugged, coffee pots. For the record, I’ve never really gotten on-board with whole k-cup trend. Call me old fashioned. The hubs and I are usually a one-and-a-half-pots in the morning type of couple. He takes two thermoses and a travel mug, I take what’s left and am usually three cups in before hitting the door to leave for the day. So yeah…day one of work…empty coffee pots. Fan-ta-stic…

And the thing with me and staying motivated? I do it better when well caffeinated. That being said, here are my five unprofessional tips to staying motivated in your writing. How’s that for a segue? 😉

Number One: Be Ready to Show Up
If you’re serious about writing, about getting published, about making a career out of what you love to do, the best shot you have at staying motivated is to treat your writing like a job. That doesn’t just mean that you keep at it day after day. Set an alarm, get out of bed, shower and throw on some clothes that make you feel like you have to be somewhere, make a pot of coffee or a cup of tea. Commit designated times to writing. Show up to your writing like you’d show up to a job.
When I first heard this, I didn’t think much of it. This summer, I tested the theory. On the days I actually got up at a decent time, showered and put on clothes that didn’t involve yoga pants, a sports bra and an over-sized t-shirt, I wrote a heck of a lot better than I did when I didn’t try to show up. It was like my brain somehow connected my effort with my writing capabilities and went somewhere with it.

Number Two: Set Goals You Know You’ll Stick To
For anyone really into the whole writing gig, the word NanoWriMo means something to you. National Novel Writing Month is a month -November -dedicated to the idea of finishing a 50k + word novel in 30 days.
There are several people who pull it off, no problem.
I am not one of those people. I’ve started three Novembers now with the intention of getting the job done and sputtered out each time.
50k words in 30 days was not realistic for me.
So, I set a more realistic goal. I created a tracker for my word count, leaving the “days” section of my line graph blank so that I could track my words but not stick to a certain word count per day. Making that goal realistic for myself made writing towards that goal a lot easier.
You have to do what works for you, not make what works for others work for you or you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration and stress. Not exactly the ideal emotions you want to be carrying around when you’re trying to create.

Number Three: Setting the Mood
It’s not necessary to set a mood for writing time. Helpful but realistically, some of us take what we can get, right? A little here, a little there, piece it together and edit it later. It works.
If you can though, set a mood for your writing. It can be as easy as creating a playlist to write to, killing the lights and lighting a few candles when you’re twisting horror-filled plots, having a cheesy romance or horror movie playing in the background that you’ve seen a million times and have no intention of watching but still feel inspired by (my personal go-to is the Scream movies), or placing a glass of wine next to you so that you can commiserate with the single mom in your story who’s had herself a long day and needs some downtime.
You don’t have to set a picture perfect stage to get what you want out of your setting. Just adjust your surroundings to a point that they’re aesthetically pleasing to you.

Number Four: Setting Boundaries
Now this one…this one IS necessary. As a mom, it’s incredibly difficult for me to cut out time for my writing. I have to set very firm boundaries and although my writing time is limited, my children know that this is my time and they need to respect it. If you have kids, don’t be afraid to tell them that they need to give you that time. Same goes with your friends and significant others. If they know you’re serious about your writing, they’ll know that respecting the boundaries you set is important.
Another boundary you have to set is keeping other sites beyond Google out of your browsing history while you’re writing. Sure, you can tell yourself you’re just going to check social media real quick but before you know it you’re down a rabbit hole and embroiled in some debate on a page you follow. And no one takes just a minute or two to browse Amazon. That place is where inspiration goes to die and is the mother of all time-suckers.

Number Five: Have your Squad
Support and motivation pair as well together as steak and french fries. When people have your back and you know it, you’re able to accomplish a lot more. Especially when your squad encourages you to get your crap together.
Keep the squad simple though. Have your supporters but know that too many supporters can start to make you feel overwhelmed and like there’s an opportunity to let people down that really messes with your head.
And if your kiddos want to be part of your squad, let them in! My oldest has gotten to the age that I’ve started getting comfortable with talking to her about my writing. She’s genuinely interested and now is even more ready to give me that writing time that I need. When she talks about my dream to become published, it’s always “When you become a famous writer” not “If you become a famous writer.”
It gets a little intimidating at times – the idea she has of me as a writer – but it also gives me the boost on rough days to push for the goal she wants me to achieve.

So, there you have it guys! Just a few ideas to keep yourselves motivated when it comes to writing.

What do you do to stay motivated?


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