Dreaming up stories and watching them come to life on the page is pure magic. It really is. I love being a writer. So why is it that some days facing my manuscript is the hardest thing to do in the world?
Because writing good books is HARD.
Writing and editing can feel like wading through quicksand. Life’s distractions can pull so hard away from the writing desk that it feels impossible to muster the mental energy to write.
That’s when I pull out the big guns.
When my writing resistance is at its highest, I take out my writing motivation checklist. If I’m lucky, I’ll only need to do a couple of items before I feel pumped enough to write. Other times–when writing-resistant inner me throws a particularly nasty tantrum–I might need to hit all ten items on the darn list.
Ultimately, the list helps me overcome resistance to writing. Maybe it will help you, too. And if you’ve discovered other effective ways to motivate yourself to write, I’d love to hear about them in the comments! 🙂 — Eve Messenger
CHECKLIST FOR MOTIVATING YOURSELF TO WRITE
by Eve Messenger
So simple yet so effective. You’d be amazed how much the simple act of focused breathing can perk you up to write.
#2 Get your energy up.
-Listen to a song that gets you pumped.
-Do jumping jacks.
-Flap your hands.
#3 Make sure your physical needs are met–hunger, thirst, room temperature, etc.
I’ll admit, sometimes I’m not that self-aware. I might think I’m resisting writing but am actually hungry, so I grab a quick bite and then I’m good to go.
#4 Acknowledge your emotions.
We’re writers; we get down about things, but we can’t let that hold us back from our dreams. If emotions are dragging you down, acknowledge them, call a friend for a quick “attagirl,” then move on.
#5 Set a specific time to write.
Make sure it’s a block of time that works reasonably within your schedule. When the clock strikes that hour, sit your bottom down in a chair and write. No matter what.
#6 Give yourself a goal to work toward.
-write 500 words
-edit for one hour
-edit X number of manuscript pages.
#7 Promise yourself a reward.
A bowl of ice cream, a nap, Netflix (and chill?), a new pair of shoes, even a sticker will do. Give yourself something special to look forward to after you’ve tackled your writing goal.
#8 Reassure yourself it’s okay to write badly.
As John Greene puts it: “I give myself permission to suck.” What a freeing notion! Even if your first pass at a daunting writing task turns out to be weak, at least you’ve managed it, and more often than not, your efforts won’t turn out badly at all.
#9 “Sprint it out.”
Tell yourself all you have to do is blaze through as many words as you can during a five-minute word sprint. Even if all you get out are those words, you’ve accomplished writing for the day. More often than not, you’ll find that once the momentum has started, more writing will come.
#10 Block distractions.
-Block social media.
-Shut off your cell phone.
-Turn off the TV.
-In a noisy environment, use earplugs or noise blocking headphones.
-If your home is one big distraction (AKA kids, chores, bills), get thee to a library or coffee shop. If you can afford it, trains are a super fun place to write. Writing in different locales reduces distractions and can add adventure to the writing process.
#11 Visualize your ultimate goal.
If your passion is to get your stories out into the world, then visualize fans tweeting and emailing to say how much they enjoy your writing. If your dream is to have a successful writing career, see yourself as a successful, published author. Remind yourself you’re worthy of happiness and success. Say your affirmation out loud. Then sidle up to that computer and write your dreams into reality.