It’s the first Wednesday of the month and I skipped November in my attempt at NaNoWriMo, so here I am for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.
The last couple of times I’ve posted it’s been about my own insecurities, but I think this time I’d like to be a bit more focused on how to overcome those insecurities. Or, maybe more accurately, how to get motivated. This is by no means a comprehensive or official list, but just things that I’ve found help me personally.
If you’re like me, you struggle with motivation to write. I want to write. The story is there and I know I want to get it out, but for some reason the execution seems impossible. When this happens, the best thing I can do for myself is to get my brain thinking about it. But how?
Go for a walk. It’s December and the weather is what I like to label NOT AWESOME. Freezing, in fact. I hate being cold more than anything. But there’s something about going on a brisk walk (even in the cold) that lets my brain wander. It might not always wander to the story I want to write, but letting it wander helps me get all those other thoughts out of my head so that when I do sit down to write, it’s a little more clear of those extraneous thoughts.
Take a shower. Showers have a great rejuvenating effect. They help you get toasty warm, for one. There’s also something about the motions – they’re repetitive and take little thought to carry out – that helps your mind focus. It could also be the hypnotic hum of the water. I find most often that my thoughts in the shower help get my mind on my stories. The only problem is remembering all the things I thought and trying to get them down afterward!
Take a break. How long have you been at it? Are you still struggling? Have you been staring at your computer and still the inspiration won’t come? When’s the last time you read a book? Reread one of your favorites and get inspired. As the weight of November and NaNoWriMo started to crush me I used my evenings to reread The Hunger Games and now I feel like this is something I can do. Let someone else’s story carry you on the wave of imagination so that you can remember what it’s like to fly.
Treat yourself. If you respond to bribes, give yourself a reward system. If I write 500 words, then I’ll do something fun. If I get to 25K words, I’ll take myself to a movie. If I finish this book, I’ll make a big purchase. Something, anything that gets you moving toward that goal.
Be kind. The golden rule applies to all people in all situations, but most especially to yourself. When is the last time you said something nice to yourself? If you didn’t make that word goal for the day, do not be mean to yourself. Would you be mean to your best friend if they didn’t make it? If you’re struggling with encouraging yourself then take a moment to imagine that it isn’t you who is the writer, but your very best friend. The person you love most in the world. Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things you would tell your friend about why they shouldn’t be upset that they’re not exactly where they want to be.
I’m not always great at practicing these tips, but writing them all out definitely makes me want to get better at it. If I’m struggling with motivation, I know there are others that must be, too. Just remember that you’re not alone in the struggle and that you can do this. Baby steps are okay. If you write 100 words a day and that’s all the energy you can spare, you will eventually reach your goal. You will not reach your goal doing nothing. So celebrate the successes – most especially the small ones, for they are progress in action. They represent growth.
You can check out other writers’ blogs and what they have to say about the struggle here.