15 Ways To Stay A Motivated Writer
As some of you may know, I host a livestream every Thursday on my facebook author profile and group called Thoughtful Thursday. This week's topic is Burnout: How to Recognize and Avoid it. I thought this post would tie in nicely, since staying motivated through or after a burnout stage is equally important! If you implement at least some of these suggestions, I promise you won't suffer from burnout for quite so long or as often. :)
1. There is never the "perfect" time
Don't wait. If you want to do something, you have to start. People like to stall with excuses, waiting for the right time, the right opportunities, and then never accomplishing their goal(s). Starting is the hardest part, but then it's started and you can continue.
2. List the reasons you want to accomplish this goal
Maybe this goal is more important than you realize. Or less important. Writing down why you want to get something done can often kick your brain into gear and get you pumped to either get going or move on to the next thing.
3. Have a space you look forward to working in
I used to write from bed and dread writing because of it. I became lazy because I associated it with sleep and then I would only get a fraction of my work done. Making a space specifically for writing tricked my brain into associating my desk with writing, so every time I sat down I knew why I was there and what I was supposed to do.
4. Schedule or plan
You don't have to go as crazy as me with planning. Get yourself a cheap dollar store agenda or a desk calendar and write out all the things you want to do that week/month and if you want to get crazy, how they relate to your goal(s). If you like looking at pretty things, get some stickers and do it up. Much like the space concept, a planner or calendar or even a to do list should be a place you want to come and are excited to look at.
5. Reward small victories
I'm not saying you should buy yourself McDonalds every time you answer an email. You know what big milestones of your goal is, and when you hit them, you should treat yo self. Personally, when I reach the halfway point of a rough draft I go out to eat with friends and when I finish a book I celebrate in some small way. If nothing else, it's something to look forward to while you're working.
Everyone wants to live in the bohemian place where time doesn't matter--writers and people who work from home know this more than anyone--but that doesn't get things done. Wake up at the same time. Schedule your stuff and stick to it. Doing the same thing every day can be monotonous of course, but it also helps you accomplish junk you wouldn't have otherwise because you were distracted by Facebook (which is not on your schedule, fool!).
7. Go to an event
I am never more inspired to write than after I get back from a signing. I always leave feeling recharged and refocused on what I want to do. Being around people who are doing what you want to do is the best motivator. Do you like music? Go to a concert? Wanna get better at yoga? Go sit in a class. It's really crazy how much it helps.
8. Get dressed/shower/put on gym clothes
I have such a hard time doing this, but getting dressed is essential to putting your mind in the right space. When I sit wearing my pajamas all day, I still get work done, but I find that I hate it and just want to go back to bed once I'm finished. If I get dressed, going back to bed is not an option because I would have to change again. No clue why this works for me, but it does. Same thing with gym clothes. I don't go to the gym until the evening and it makes it easier to back out after a long work day. If I'm already wearing the clothes, it takes away one more excuse not to go.
9. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Like I said with going to an event, being around people who want to do what you want to do is the most motivating things you can do. You cheer each other on, you learn from each other, and you are held more accountable when you aren't doing things towards your goal(s). For writers, I recommend forming a workshop group with people who are serious about it. You get so much work done with the added plus of constructive criticism!
This is especially important for writers, but I think anyone can benefit from reading (of course lol). The more you read, the more you see what you want to do in front of you. Think about it: you are holding something that was once someone's goal to create. You can be that for someone else one day. Mind. Blown.
11. Take a short walk
Fresh air, exercise, and sunlight. Most of the time I hate all of these things, but A lot of my ideas come to me when I'm either on a walk or driving. I don't recommend driving and thinking about complex things, but walking is good. It helps clear your head of all the clutter of whatever space you're in and if it's in nature, it's a plus.
12. Watch a TED talk or inspirational video on Youtube
A lot of people like to start their day scrolling through their phones or checking their likes/followers, etc. If you can't stay away from the all powerful Internet, use it to your advantage. Take 10 minutes out of playing candy crush and watch something that inspires you. I suggest Deepak Chopra or Abraham Hicks, but there are a TON of them to devour. Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking is also great for any creative person alive.
13. Use a timer
I use this method for virtually everything. If I want to get words in, I set a timer for ten minutes and write, then another for ten minutes where I can do whatever I want and then write again for ten minutes until I reach my word count. If I want to relax, I set a timer for 30 minutes during a busy day and read or take a bath or just watch nonsense on TV. I come back ready to work and I don't feel like I've wasted time.
14. Special rituals
Whenever I sit down to write, I drink peppermint tea. Whenever I want to work, I drink earl grey. Do you have a special notebook? A candle you like? Make it part of your routine when working towards your goal and your brain will associate the act with it.
15. Recognize your own progress
People--myself included--tend to only focus on the negative aspects of things. When you're knee-deep in trying to accomplish something, you don't look at what you've already done and instead zero in on what lies ahead and how daunting it is. Stop doing that. Take a step back and recognize how far you've already come and then go back to the task at
hand with a new mindset. It really helps me when I'm thinking negatively.
These are just a few things I do in order to stay motivated. Do you do any of these things, or do you do something completely different when you want to get stuff done?