Well, we’ve all been there at one time or another. Needing to write, or haven’t written in a while, or gotten the glimmer of an idea that really should be put down in words – but the actual motivation to really sit down and write has gone completely AWOL and shows no signs of returning any time in the near future. I’ve dealt with this issue many of times (and I’m actually going through it right now, as a matter of fact – probably this darn heat), and I’ve learned a few tips to get me writing again, even though the process is quite laborious and difficult to work through. Anyways, I thought I’d share some of these methods with you today. Enjoy!
First, relax. One of my major reasons for lack of motivation is either dealing with stress or just coming to the end of a stressful situation. When this happens, I find a way to calm down and just relax. For some people, it’s a bubble bath (I’ve never liked those – they tickle too much) or a romantic movie or just a great deal of sleep. Me, I either go to the gym to work out for a couple hours while listening to Evanescence and Within Temptation, or I watch TV. My current shows fulfilling this purpose are Firefly, Dexter, and House, in case anyone was wondering. Working out while listening to music relaxes my body and calms my mind; watching TV refocuses me and keeps me from rehashing whatever stress has happened/is happening. Once I’ve sufficiently relaxed (last time it took 6 episodes of House), I sit down to write. The actual motivation may still not be there, but I’m calm enough to have the discipline to make myself sit down and get something written, however long that may take.
Another method that works for me is the reward system. Whenever I would get swamped with homework during undergrad, I’d help myself get the work done by breaking it up into sets and treating myself at the end of each set. Getting my Homer paper written and my Spanish vocab done meant that I could read a chapter from my new book of Edgar Allan Poe stories, for example. Then I’d do the next set, and at the end, when all the work was done, I’d give myself a real reward – ordering pizza or watching Wrath of Khan or something like that. I’ve discovered that similar things work with writing. This one actually provides motivation, because there’s something waiting at the end. I’ll reward myself with something small after every 500 words or so, and then when the story is finished, I’ll turn off my computer and go to Sweet Frog or catch a movie at the Dollar Theater. This is the one that works for me the most, because it provides a tangible reason for me to stick to the writing until I get enough done.
Finally, I’ve found that a change of scenery can often help. When I lack motivation, I’ll sometimes pack up my computer and go elsewhere: the local library, Starbucks, campus, anywhere other than my house. Occasionally, even just sitting on my front porch helps as long as it’s evening and relatively cool outside. A location change very rarely actually fully motivates me, but just being somewhere else often makes me feel like I at least have the energy to get something done. Failing that, I tell myself that I can’t go home until I get a certain amount written. That usually does the trick, and stuff gets done!
I hope that this helps someone trying to push through a lack of motivation. It can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it to get some writing accomplished. What are some ways that y’all use to keep writing even when you don’t feel like it?