1. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    What keeps you motivated?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cazann34, Feb 8, 2013.

    I find I have spurted of motivation in my writing and then it tends to peter off until I don't write for days, or even weeks at a time. How do I keep myself motivated and write every day.
    I would be grateful for any tips.
     
  2. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    You're the creator, so you have to do what you really want. If don't, it you can make it with the effort, but just effort makes crap
     
  3. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Even if I don't write everyday, I tend to spend an hour just writing anything. Most times it's just my thoughts on a certain subject, skits involving some of my characters/random characters, or even describing something that I'm around at the time. I'm not writing about stories, but I'm still writing. It keeps me in the habit.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For me, it's two things. First, it's having several projects on the go, so if I get stuck on one I don't despair; there's always another to work on.

    Second, and this is increasingly so as I get older, it's the approach of the Grim Reaper. I'm 51 now, and I'm keenly aware that I'm running out of time. Realistically I can't expect to have a writing career of more than thirty years at this point, even if I keep myself very healthy. And I have a lot of writing I'd like to do in that time. I already have a file full of enough ideas to keep me going for the rest of my life, and more keep coming all the time.

    Arrgh. Where's immortality when you need it?
     
  5. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Sometimes, as in all jobs, there are times when it feels like a chore. I find the only real answer is just to get on with whatever the job needs doing. I'm out of shape writing-wise at the moment and I have no motivation at all. What I'm going to have to do is 'force' myself to block out time each day to be 'in my universe' and hope the inspiration and motivation follows.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Whenever I feel my writing is slagging - I try to get back into the groove by writing a small scene for my characters - something
    that may or may not have anything to do with the story.
    I write them a memory of when they were young, or a birthday party, or I look up vacations on the
    internet and allow him to 'get away' from the story for a while.
    This can refuel my interest in the story and my writing and sometimes I learn more about
    my characters by taking them out of their preset locations.
     
  7. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Fun. If I'm not having fun, I quit the pursuit, whatever it is.
     
  8. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    As others have already said, it's a matter of discipline. My suggestion is to figure out why you're feeling unmotivated (if you don't know already) then fix it. Are you bored with the story? Do you feel stuck and not sure what to write next? Are personal feelings or issues in life getting in the way? Do you have trouble focusing with distractions all around? Or any other reason. Once you have that, you can then take steps to get yourself on the right track.

    I love that advice! I'm going to try it myself.
     
  9. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Coming here has kept me motivated I must say. I have this tab opened at all times. Writing Forums...I'll cruise around and think of ideas and then start writing. So simple yet so helpful. It is that pack mentality I think ;)
     
  10. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    I have the desire to write every day - it's just finding blocks of time more than a few minutes here and there that's sooooo hard for me. But I would agree with those who say if you're feeling unmotivated, just write about something else at those times.

    I like SilverWolf's skits idea!

    @minstrel - ugh - that's a bit depressing. I'm in my 40s and I just got started!
     
  11. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    Yep, it doesn't matter what you write about, the important thing is to write. And just like everything else in life, I found that getting my butt on the chair and starting to write becomes easier when I have some structure to adhere to and some rituals to help me get into the mood. So I've reserved fixed times for writing, mostly in the evenings when I know that I'll usually be uninterrupted, and I start with a cup of my most favorite tea which I enjoy before I start the actual writing. It helps me get into the mood and clear away those extraneous thoughts about day-to-day issues, just five minutes of almost-meditation. And I always have a nice yoghurt or chocolate to reward myself afterwards. Waiting with the sugar rush until the writing is finished is important, but if you set yourself a minimum number of words and reward yourself with something you like, you can successfully become Pawlow and the dog at the same time ;) A good way to keep the ideas flowing is to have a stack of index cards related to all the main characters in your story and containing short descriptions of possible scenes you have thought up for them.
     
  12. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Reading and Routine keep me motivated.

    Reading, so when I come across words that are beautiful enough to make you wonder how they even exist, make it seem so easy to replicate such masterfulness, they inspire you to write that very moment.

    Routine, so I'm used to writing, staying in a groove, so those urges to do other things, whether it be due to mood, stress, whatever, are easier to combat. Writing the same amount every day at the same time kind of trains your brain to go into writing mode around then, anyway.
     
  13. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    Good for you, but you have to understand that for most people who start and quit writing, its the feeling of useless effort main reason. People can swim for fun or go for trips, but once it get into evaluating their priorities, putting them down, the one who can't make it is the loser deep inside, and he really is.

    Its the hardest sport in the world, because what you put down might be about you and you get the risk looking like butthole. Which means the bad idea is to write about yourself, then you as a writer will be ok I guess
     
  14. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    It's like with most other goals in life, they need to be realistic. People start skiing, dream about becoming the next big downhill champion, fall on their bum twice and give it up. You can't become good in anything if you haven't learned that perseverance is always a major part of success. You can't even write good characters until you have learned that, because you'll make them as flighty and unmotivated in their endeavours as you are yourself. But that's not really a problem either, because that's how almost everyone starts and you can learn as you go. It's just putting one foot in front of the other, repeatedly. Like hiking in the mountains, your calves burn, your lung struggles in the thin air, you are sweaty and tired and you haven't even reached the halfway mark to the peak. You can turn around and go back to your car, drive home and scratch hiking from your list of things to do. Or you can struggle through it and enjoy the magnificent view, the wonderful chilly air and the sense of accomplishment. You just need to make sure to pick the right mountain. If you're untrained, you won't make it to Mount Everest or the Kilimanjaro, so start with the big hill next to your home, even if its only 500 meters high, and once you're up to hiking to the peak without breaking a sweat, do it repeatedly. I myself like hiking very much, but I don't get to do it every year, and after a long pause I have to start small and go through all the struggles again. But it only takes a few hikes until it becomes easier and wholly enjoyable.

    In writing that means: pick achievable goals like a scene a day, however small it is, and don't care for quality in the beginning. Or make it 500 or 1000 words. Pick a random character a week and write two pages of back story. It's up to you, thousand roads lead to Rome. If it involves creativity and has a measurable goal, its good.
     
  15. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    I don't know, it looks like you got it right, but still I miss the fun that is coming from stuff like sports. Look at this. One theory says that if you feel like you can manipulate the world, it keeps you motivated. Other theory says that if you can't take critics and rejections, you can't survive on your effort. I think the point might be much simpler, you just have to be the pervert and like what you do. Like looking at boobs everywhere you go, accept that you are freak and love it.

    The world out there is complicated and most of the people never stops looking at their hobby from the wrong perspective. But the reason they can't do it is because they actually realize it is crap. So instead of quiting, you have to start think other way. I don't see practice in writing short stuff as a good idea. I never wrote almost anything besides stuff I wanted to and I feel well-practiced.
     
  16. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I often lack motivation. It's just a case of writing anyway even when I would rather be doing other things. I'll deny myself sleep or entertainment until I finish the day's goal (4 pages/day). Thursday night I turned down a movie and drinks because I'd been slacking off on my writing.

    My current WIP has a deadline so that is the key push on this story: if I don't finish on time I'm going to be letting someone other than myself down. When I write 'for fun' it is stubbornness that keeps me going, e.g. if I can successfully hit my goal for 3+ consecutive days then I won't want to break that chain.
     
  17. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tip No. 38 to staying motivated: Learn to walk away from the teardowns of your work. (and I don't mean the honest critiques with good advice but rather the brutal and soul-crushing TEARDOWNS. haha :p If you can shake it off and move on, you're good for staying motivated.)
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    imo, motivation to continue to practice an art or engage in athletics, or anything else is something you either have, or you don't...

    you can force yourself to keep doing it, for this or that practical reason, but that's not being motivated imo, only exercising will power... being motivated means you have an inner drive, a passion to do whatever that can't be stilled...

    i don't know of any way one can produce motivation that isn't coerced by some outside force... to me, it's like a 'talent' one either has or doesn't... something you can't just 'get' if you don't have it already...
     
  19. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Me too. Thanks Peachalulu.
     
  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am struggling with it too, but recently I've been doing much better, writing every day including weekends. I realised that I was wasting too much time doing things I didn't want to do, so I made sure that I write first thing in the morning, not last thing after a busy day.
     
  21. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    You're simplifying things quite much here, and you don't do the facets of life justice with it. If all the famous authors out there only wrote once their natural motivation urged them to put the tip of the pen to the paper, we'd probably be able to browse amazon's whole booklist in five minutes. Motivation is never a constant thing, it flares and burns but also sputters and smolders. All kinds of different motivations fight for dominance as a normal day progresses, and we have to make decisions which we will give in to - the easy, short term ones like wanting to see the new movie, eat good popcorn and have a lazy evening, or the longer term ones, like running the risk of offending our friend that called about the cinema but staying at home in our writing chair, getting that damn idea to paper about the old man who paves a whole valley with wooden posts in a somewhat crazy attempt to find the sister bomb to the one which killed his wife. Will we see another mindless movie or end up with our best short story so far and even win a contest with it? It's true that we often rely on outside forces to give us proper motivation for things we'd not easily manage otherwise, but knowing about ones own motivations and aligning those with our goals in life gives us the free will and force of mind to decide in favour of some and let others become secondary.
     
  22. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    Hey, did you heard about "hooray effect"? Its the urgency when you figure out something and have to put it down. Unless I don't have it, the work just fucking hurts
     
  23. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    It, luckily, hits me every so often, otherwise I'd scratch my head and wonder what this writing stuff is all about. The times between can be a pita, but regular and organized writing makes the hoorays visit me more often :)
     
  24. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    The O'Reilly Factor interviewed Tommy Mottola and his book "Hitmaker." He opined the same thing. The drive that makes you want to see your dreams come true evolves after you've attained them.
     
  25. CodyThomas
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    CodyThomas New Member

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    I am having the same problem

    I've been having the same problem. The only thing I've been able to do is start a new project. I always feel motivated when an idea is fresh, but a few thousand words later the motivation tapers off. This, of course, raises new problems. I have somewhere near 10 different novels started, and unfortunately I don't think anything will ever get finished.

    Honestly I think it just takes work ethic. I'm trying to make myself write at least 1000 words a day, no matter what I am writing. Hopefully work ethic will come on it's own and I won't need to depend on motivation as much.
     

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