IWSG – Pep Talk

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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.

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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.

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9 thoughts on “IWSG – Pep Talk

    1. I’m usually so good about walking in the Spring and Summer time. It’s so much harder for me to get out there when the cold months get here! Brr! Thanks for reading, Arlee!

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  1. Good tips, I think. And sometimes–I think that granting oneself a break is what’s needed. I’m contemplating NaNo and thinking that maybe, just maybe, working 7 days a week is not sustainable. If it’s hard to let go of (and it is, for me, when I in 1st-draft mode), then saying that one day/week it’s just 350 words.

    Those 350 words can work the other way, too–as a minimum, something you can always squeeze in to be able to say “yes, I’m working on the book” even when life is going to bits about you.

    And walking is better for this than going and swimming a mile as fast as you can, which is what I did today. Sleep city!

    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

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  2. Rebecca,

    Sounds like you were pretty busy!! I hope sleep city treated you kindly. 🙂 The smaller word goals are what I decided to focus on for this project, mainly because writing around the holidays always seems like such an insane idea. As though we aren’t already terribly busy in any normal part of the year! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    ~Shannon

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  3. “Not Awesome.” Yeah. Totally. Of course, I’m in Fairbanks, Alaska, and “not awesome” weather doesn’t give me any excuse for not getting outside, as I deal with less than awesome weather for about nine months out of the year. And the forecast for the next week looks a bit on the cool side… (mostly subzeros) Ugh. Anyways, that’s a rabbit trail.

    Great tips for getting yourself motivated. I try to get out and walk/run or just get out of the house (I’m a stay-at-home mom) at least a little bit every day. But on those days when I’m gifted with time to write, sometimes I have to put these things into practice just to get the words on the page. I hate “wasting” time not writing, but sometimes when I’m so braindead, I do take a break too, which I had to do over November with NaNo. For a couple of days I just read a few books and didn’t write much at all. When I came back to my story, I was motivated again and ended up going over my word count goal. 🙂 So sometimes that break can be more productive than sitting there & staring at the computer screen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure I would die in Alaska! (I’m probably not dramatic or anything, ha!)

      It’s good to see that my tips work for others, too! Nothing like reading to jump start your imagination!

      Liked by 1 person

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