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  1. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Writing motivation

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by skeloboy_97, Aug 8, 2011.

    Greetings,

    Firstly, before I start, I would just love to say, I LOVE writing.
    But, I have spurts of motivation to write. I go through phases of wanting to write, and others where i will hate it.. Any tips for staying constantly motivated to write daily?

    BTW, it's not that i dont have inspiration, I have alot of ideas, i just need a tip to stay on game. Also once i start writing im fine, and will usually write 1-3K words in an hour or so(a usual session for me as im a highschool student)

    Much appreciated,
     
  2. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    Don't force it. But if you really need to write daily, make it a habit to write in a journal at breakfast. Jot down non-sense. No judgement, just writing. If story comes to you, write that, but just vomit words indiscriminately onto paper.

    By the way, that is also a great way to get through college.
     
  3. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, unlike NeverPen I am pro forcing it. Possibly because I am a person who needs to force myself to do anything. If I could, I would spend half the day online and the rest staring at the wall. But yeah, I force myself to write. In the morning I decide a time to write and how many words I am going to write (you might prefer to just decide to write from then to then, but if I do that, I just sit there and wait for the time to run out, I'm weird like that).
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have damn-near the exact same problem. I don't write every day, but I create every day.

    My prose falls in quality slightly when I haven't written for a while, like now (I haven't written for a few days, and before that, for over a week). Then again, if I get into a pro-writing, daft, inspired mood, my prose quality absolutely skyrockets and my work is amazing.
    So if I can get into the right mood (which usually comes when I'm broken and depressed and in a low point in life), I'm good. Unfortunately, I've got a girlfriend, so depression is off the menu until further notice.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Writers write. If you're serious, then you write every day whether you want to or not. It is impossible, in my view, to consistently remain motivated to write each and every day in the sense that you're excited to sit down and do so. Like any other human endeavor, there will be times when you just don't feel like it. These times will separate the amateurs from the pros. If you're a pro, you write anyway.
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    That strikes me as an extremely elitist and bigoted opinion. Professionalism in writing, so far as I'm concerned, would extend more to business dealings. Really, professionalism and creativity don't go hand in hand. They might sit next to each other every now and then, or help each other with their homework, but they're different entities.

    If you're forcing yourself to write, even when you don't want to, it doesn't make you a pro. It makes you a machine.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't care how it strikes you. It's the truth. Professionals do what they need to do whether they feel like it or not - they have to, it is how they pay the bills. Amateurs have the luxury of doing it when they feel like it.
     
  8. Knight's Move
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    Knight's Move Member

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    I absolutely agree with Steerpike. There's just no way you can stay motivated all the time. Forcing yourself to write is painful and difficult and can sometimes feel unnatural, but if you want to write for a living, it's a skill you'll have to learn. You literally can't afford not to. That's one of the reasons I write as a hobby instead of as a job.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. You know, I was just thinking of the word "hobby" to describe the things I do when I feel like it.

    I've had plenty of mornings when I didn't want to write a word, but I've got to get 5000 words out that morning, or more than that by the end of the day. So I sit down and write. And it may be agonizing hammering out those sentences, and nothing is flowing the way it should, but I do it anyway.

    It is one of the hallmarks of a professional in any field, not just writing. You do what needs to be done, and whether you feel like it at that particular moment doesn't enter into it.
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I totally agree with you as well.

    I always feel that the first fifteen minutes are hard, but then everything starts flowing again as it should, regardless of my previous mood. Actually, I have never experienced not getting into the zone again once I just push past the worst.

    If I am completely unmotivated, I just write something else, usually some nonsense, as that too is practice.
     
  11. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys, really helped :)
     
  12. westofthemoon
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    westofthemoon Member

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    I agree with Steerpike as well...and I think that his opinion is true with any creative venture. I'm an illustrator and a painter, and there are some days when I just don't want to draw, but I do. And at the end of the day, I have no regrets. I have a bunch of hand written quotes posted in my studio to keep up my motivation, and one of my favorites is from Picasso: "I don't know what inspiration is, but when it comes I hope it finds me working."
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I completely agree with this.
     
  14. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't agree, Steerpike(I think this might be the very first time). In the context of the original post, I don't think forcing yourself to write would help, especially on a day when you are in no way motivated to pick up a pen or laptop. The OP and most people on this forum aren't journalists or contracted fiction writers, so they aren't compelled to write 5000 words a day. Writing every day doesn't make you a professional writer. But being a professional writer means you might be forced to write every day.

    However, until I'm contracted to another party and have clear deadlines enforced on me, I won't write on a day I have absolutely no inclination to write. I don't think that makes you any less of a writer. I could spend the time finetuning certain plot points or adding more details to an outline or reading more books in the same genre. It's still progress, but it's not actual writing.

    To me it's all about being economical with your time. If you're motivated and enthusiatic about writing then you might produce far more in an hour than you could in 3 hours if you're not. So you wait for the wave and ride it while it lasts.

    If that inspiration wave comes rarely, say once a month, then as much as you LOVE writing, maybe you dont. You might need to reassess why you want to write in the first place.
     
  15. mattrjones
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    mattrjones New Member

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    I've personally found that setting realistic goals for myself can work wonders, especially if you've got the luxury of NOT having to crank out 5000 words before sundown. But then, conditioning yourself to "produce" on a daily basis via goals will mean that on those 5000-word days, you'll be better able to crank it out when you have to.

    Set a goal for yourself, something that's relatively easy to reach... like 1000 words in a day. Sit down and DO IT. If you crank out those 1000 words in a half-hour, hooray! If it takes you two hours, stick with it and do it anyway.

    Then do it again the next day. And the next. And the next. Keep at it for a few weeks. Though you'll have days where it's harder to get started than others, you'll have an easier time reaching that goal than you did when you started.

    There's something about reaching the goal itself that ALWAYS does it for me, it gives me an extra push to be creative and to produce. Especially on those days when the writing's harder -- I know that once I reach the goal, I can get up and walk away, then come back the next day, when I'll likely be more motivated. Plus, reaching the goal on the "hard" days makes me feel good that I gutted it out and did what needed to be done, and that's great for the confidence!

    Then when you can easily reach that first goal every time -- or at least with a minimum of struggle -- up it. Go for 1500 words instead of 1000. Repeat the process. Then up it again. Keep doing that until you're able to crank out as much a day as you feel you "should" be doing... or NEED to be doing. It won't always make the writing process easier, but it'll help give you an extra push when you need it.

    Plus, when I'm writing a certain amount every day, it seems as though my mind becomes accustomed to "producing," and the creativity switches on much more quickly. It's as though my brain says, "Okay, here's where I've gotta give this idiot 2000 words to write down. Let's get this over with and then he can go back to killing me with cartoons."

    I'd also like to note that I write as a labor of love, and am not doing it for a living, so my perspective will differ from the folks who do it to pay the bills. But goal-setting has worked beautifully for me and others that I know, so give it a shot!
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i interpreted his post as something like "if you wanna be a professional writer you will have to learn to write everyday, so why not start and create good habits right now?" I don't think he means that everyone have to write 5000 words or at their limit of possibility, just sit down for a certain time each day, say even an hour or two when you don't think of or do anything else than writing and your story.
     
  17. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes that's the point I don't really agree with. At this stage why force yourself to write? If your state of mind is such that you have no interest in writing that day, then I would say don't write. Spend the time reading maybe? Tomorrow might be more conducive to writing. Or the next day. Turning writing into a daily chore is hazardous to your outlook on writing itself.

    If you want to be a professional writer and a whole week has gone by without you feeling inspired to write, then the solution is not to make a timetable that designates 2 hours each day to the task of writing. The solution is to question why exactly DO you want to be a professional writer?
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, if weeks pass by without someone wanting to write then that person might not want to be a professional writer. i don't know if the writer of the original post wanted to or not... it might even be a timing issue... maybe right now there are other things that feels more important and there will be a better time to dedicate to serious writing, if one wants to do that.
     
  19. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Steerpike in a way. But still, I'd venture that even a professional could have days where they don't write & then catch up later. We wouldn't know that.

    It's a bit like 'work' work, yes it's gotta be done, but sometimes people throw sickies...

    I think you need some kind of routine/perserverance to get anywhere, but there's space for some leeway, imo.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    you just have to make sure that the leeway doesn't turn into a rule rather than an exception, ;) I think if you want to become a professional you have to treat it like work, as you would have with any career option.
     
  21. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with everything Steerpike has said except for the "amateur/pro" comment.

    It doesn't matter whether or not you're feeling motivated - go ahead and write it anyway. A few years ago I used to be in contact with an elderly fantasy writer who taught me that, even if it's just a hundred words, you should make sure to be writing every single day.



    I've been unmotivated the past two days. However, I also have a deadline for a short story (Aug 15th) and I'm mega behind. If I don't make the deadline I don't get paid so I'm going to be spending all day tomorrow catching up. Not fun.
     
  22. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^
    Of course, just as I wouldn't be able to throw a sickie every day ;)

    I do my best, considering it's not my day-job...
     
  23. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Well, yes at the moment, i'm only in high school, so my aim is not to become a proffesional, i am just doing it as a hobby for a while, then possibily taking it up as a proffession later in life.
     
  24. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    If this is your aim then it's good to get into the habit now. I started writing for fun at age 9, began taking it seriously at age 14, and I'm now publishing several short stories a year while in college. :)
     
  25. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure I agree, given that I have actually gone YEARS without writing. Mind you, that was a time when I had my writer's block.

    But even outside of my writer's block - I've still gone a number of months without writing. Without even an inclination to do so, it doesn't even occur in my mind to do so. And only after many months I might think, "Hmm I haven't written in a long time." And often even that doesn't do it for me - I'd go on, NOT writing.

    But do I wanna be a professional writer? Yeh. I've dreamt of getting published since I was 9 years old (as I'm sure many of you here have also) - that dream hasn't faded. I've ignored it, deliberately steered away from it, played it down, mocked it, laughed at it, laughed at myself, tore it to shreds, cried over it, stopped it, became paralysed by it. And yet it remained. It lives, and it just. won't. die. So do I love it? Yeh, There're few things I love more than playing with words and poetry.

    When I finally do write, it's always like a breath of fresh air. Why do I wanna be a writer? Truth is, I don't know. I can't answer that. I just can't stop, I can't imagine stopping, and I think it'd kill me if one day I realised I'm a bad writer (but by God's grace I do think I'm at least average with a bit of hope). It's just what I do. I don't wanna so much "become" a writer - I AM a writer, just an unpublished one, that's all.

    Haha rant over :p I've recently got quite emotional over writing, hence the long-winded burst of expression haha.
     

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