Motivation is defined by Merriam-Webster as a force or influence that causes someone to do something.
Motivation is abstract. It’s not something you can see or touch, and it’s different for everyone. Speakers make a living selling it. Drill sergeants instill it. Some people wake up in the morning filled with it, while others never can seem to find it. But one thing is for sure, writers need it.
Many articles describe ways for writers to get motivated. I’ve included a few at the end of this post. Some of the tips in these articles work for me, but just as many don’t. Here are ways I’ve found to get in the right frame of mind to write:
Switch Gears - My blog is called Thoughts, Stories, and Novels. I post thoughts to my blog two or three times a month. I’ve written dozens of short stories and maintain an inventory of ideas for the next one. When I get bogged down on my current novel, I’ll switch gears for a day or two, diverting my attention to writing a blog post or possibly beginning a short story. I find the diversity helps stimulate ideas.
Brainstorm – If I’m stuck at a certain point in a novel or story, I’ll try breaking away from the manuscript and brainstorming. I might jump to the conclusion and jot down ideas on how the book might end. Sometimes I’ll go back to visit a particular character to see what improvements could be made. Was I consistent in building the character? Could I make the character more compelling through dialogue and actions? Other times, I pick a chapter in the book I thought was particularly exciting and well-written and re-read it, hoping to rediscover the motivation that helped produce it.
Find the Best Time of Day – Early morning (and I mean really early) is the best time for my mind to be clear and ready to produce my best writing. There is something about getting an early jump on the day to make me feel more energized. Other writers may produce better work at different times of the day. The key is to know what time works best for you.
Hit the Trails – Exercise is a great way to shake the cobwebs loose. For me, there’s no better exercise than hiking the mountain trails around our home. An hour or two on the trails, and I’m usually in a better frame of mind to write.
Envision Success – Reading about aspiring writers who’ve found success is very motivational. Writer’s Digest is a good source for these articles, but there are several websites, blogs, and Facebook pages featuring authors who’ve broken through.
Be Happy - It’s always easier to write when you’re in a good mood. Take a break and do whatever makes you feel better. Listen to uplifting music, play catch with your dog, or check out this YouTube video on motivation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh5arV2cut0
These are just a few ideas that work for me. I’m sure you have others. I’d be interested in hearing them.