Showing posts with label schedule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label schedule. Show all posts

Saturday, February 9

8 Tips For Finding The Motivation To Write

8 Tips For Finding The Motivation To Write

Sometimes we don't want to write.

Perhaps you've hit a rough patch in your work-in-progress, perhaps you've come back from vacation or--like myself--taken time off to heal an injury.

Often getting back into the swing of things can be daunting and there's the guilt of having taken time off, for not having written (or edited) for a few days.

Deadlines loom--and perhaps pass, unmet.

It's natural to want to give up, to push the anxiety-inducing project to the side.

That's where I'm at now, and I'm looking for ways to pull myself out of this funk and WRITE.

So, in that spirit, here are 8 reasons to write, even if, like me, you don't feel like it.

1. Reward yourself

Give yourself something, a reward, when you finish your writing goal for the day.

For some, this might be a glass of nice wine, for others this might be a piece of fine chocolate--or perhaps a cup of hot coco with masses of miniature marshmallows dissolving into white foam on top. (You can perhaps guess what my preference would be! I'm a sucker for hot chocolate.)

Or perhaps you could get some time to yourself. For instance, if you have children, perhaps you could arrange for someone to mind them for 15 minutes or so while you take a nice hot bubble bath.

Or, if neither of those excite you, perhaps give yourself permission to watch a movie or an episode of your favorite TV show.

In the article How to Find Your Daily Writing Motivation James Chartrand writes that there are three things to keep in mind when choosing a reward:

a) The reward must be personal

It has to be something you want and something you're not going to feel guilty about afterward.

b) The reward has to be immediate

In order for the reward to work you need to give it to yourself as soon as you accomplish your daily goal. This way the reward will be associated with the stimulus (meeting your goal) and unconsciously you will feel that much more motivated, next time, to sit and write.

c) It has to be special

If your reward is something you regularly indulge in it won't motivate you to write because you'll be able to indulge in it regardless. James cautions that it may take several weeks for this method to reach its peak effectiveness, but it does work!

2. Set up consequences

Jody Calkins in her article 3 Keys to Getting Motivated to Write recommends also setting an extreme consequence that will befall you if your writing goal goes unmet. For instance, 50 pushups or crunches.

Or babysitting the neighbor's kids.

3. Warm up with a writing exercise

You wouldn't start exercising without warming up first, the same goes for writing. Do a writing exercise for 5 or 10 minutes to help get your creative juices flowing. But be sure to keep it to under 15 minutes or so. The goal isn't to start a whole new project (unless it is, then go for it!) it is to get you back into a writing mindset so you can work your way back into your old project.

4. Re-read a few pages of your previous work

Trish Love Elliott in Ten Ways to Find Motivation to Write recommends re-reading your previous pages as a way of working back into--and renewing your passion for--your project. She adds, though, that one should guard against getting so caught up in editing that you don't move on and write new words.

5. Write in a new place

One thing that sometimes works for me is going to my local (overpriced) coffee shop and treating myself to a decadent beverage--the more decadent the better! It helps if you surround yourself with all the accoutrements of a writer. The idea is to put yourself back into the mood, so play the part of the writer hanging out at the coffee shop, channeling her muse.

6. Read

To start yourself off, read for 15 minutes. If you're having a hard time believing you can actually do this thing, that you've got to be crazy to even think you could write, and so on, get a bestselling book from a second hand store or from the library. Pick one you think is horrible. The idea is to find a published book that sold well but makes you think: Hey! I can do this!!

Because you can.

7. Get your friends involved

Ask one or more of your friends to phone or email you and inquire whether you wrote. Be honest with them!

If you don't have anyone you feel comfortable asking to do this for you, set up your calendar program (I use Google Calendar) to send you an email reminding you to write.

8. Start small

In the beginning, when you're trying to ease back into a project, it's best to start small. Rather than demanding of yourself that you work for three hours, try 15 or 30 minutes. Once you're back in the groove you can increase the amount of time spent writing or editing.

Here are a few tips on how to, once you get back into a daily routine, keep it going: 12 Writing Tips: How To Be A Writer.

Do you have any advice, any tips or tricks, to share? How do you help yourself keep to a daily writing schedule?

Other articles you might like:

- Describing Character Reactions And Emotions: She Smiled, He Frowned
- Tags, Traits And Tells (Podcast)
- Good Writing: Using The Senses

Photo credit: "Untitled" by eflon under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, December 19

The Cost of Balance

The Cost of Balance

"The point is to have balance in life."

I've heard that often enough and I've even said it a time or two, but is it true? Can we have a balanced life and be a success as a writer?

The Unbalanced Life

I'd like to think so. Sure, when I was in university the cost of earning good grades was not having anything even vaguely resembling a balanced life. I would stay up all night studying, guzzle coffee and eat junk food.

Also, it was difficult keeping in touch with old friends because I was too busy studying to spend time with them. The only friends I had were my study partners!

Is that what is required to be a professional author?


Or at least I hope not! There's another expression: Older and wiser.

The Key To A Balanced Life: Prioritizing

The number one thing a writer must do is write. Anything that is not writing takes a backseat. Even editing. 

Editing is important, absolutely, but one needs to write to have something to edit.

Over the past couple of days I've started to record the amount of actual writing time, as well as editing time, I put in. The results were sobering. I spend more time doing other writing-related tasks than I do working on my stories. (See: Getting Ready for 2013: A Writer's Guide)

I need to streamline my schedule so that I can accomplish the same things but in a more efficient way. I need to prioritize, accomplishing the most important tasks first and leaving the less important for the end. That way I'll at least accomplish the most important things.

Have you made any writing resolutions for the new year?

Other articles you might like:

- If Instagram Can Sell Your Photos Without Your Permission, What Is Next?
- 19 Ways To Grow Your Twitter Following
- How To Design A Great Looking Book Cover

Photo credit: "Kindness is like snow" by Lel4nd under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Monday, August 13

Amanda Hocking's Unusual Writing Schedule

Amanda Hocking took the self-publishing world by storm in 2011. She "sold over a million copies of her nine books and earned two million dollars from sales, previously unheard of for self-published authors. In early 2011, Hocking averaged 9,000 book sales each day" (Wikipedia, Amanda Hocking).

In 2011 Amanada was in her mid-twenties and had already written 17 novels! Here's how she does it:
"I get up around 7:00 in the evening," she explained. "I eat something and then I'm on the computer answering emails and doing business for a while. I start writing later in the evening and write between six and twelve hours." (Amanda Hocking in town for LeakyCon)
Perhaps I should try being nocturnal. In the summer it would probably be much less distracting!

Further reading:
- The Secret of Amanda Hocking's Success
- 5 Points To Ponder Before You Self Publish

Photo credit: Unknown

Wednesday, June 27

Henry Miller's 11 Writing Commandments

I love learning from the greats how they worked, how they thought of their art/craft, this thing we call writing (such a drab name for an act so often fraught with terror and yet having the power to create ecstasy).

Courtesy of Brain Pickings, here are Henry Miller's 11 Commandments:
  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

I find (1) and (10) the hardest. It seems as soon as I begin work on one book I can think of at least 2 others I want to write more than the one I happen to be working on.

My favorite is (5), "When you can't create you can work." I wonder if Henry Miller ever woke up  up feeling like cotton batting had replaced his brains and he just wasn't up to stringing two coherent words together. It's strangely comforting to think he may have.

But that's not all! Here is Henry Miller's daily schedule:

- If groggy, type notes and allocate, as stimulus.
- If in fine fettle, write.

- Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.

- See friends. Read in cafés.
- Explore unfamiliar sections — on foot if wet, on bicycle if dry.
- Write, if in mood, but only on Minor program.
- Paint if empty or tired.
- Make Notes. Make Charts, Plans. Make corrections of MS.

Note: Allow sufficient time during daylight to make an occasional visit to museums or an occasional sketch or an occasional bike ride. Sketch in cafés and trains and streets. Cut the movies! Library for references once a week.
I think that's a great schedule. As always, the trick is sticking to it, as Mr. Miller did. I think there's a lot of truth to the saying, "Success is 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration".

I hope Henry Miller's schedule/work ethic inspired you to write, it has me!

Cheers, and keep writing.

Other articles you might like:
- Stephen King: 15 tips on how to become a better writer - Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management
- Pixar: 22 Ways To Tell A Great Story