Ensign’s Log, Entry 3: When motivation isn’t there

There are days when I wake up and am ready to start writing the minute my eyes open. I dive for my computer and am typing almost before the Word document finishes loading. Those are good days.

Then there are days when I drag myself through the day without feeling motivated to do anything at all, much less work on my story. Days when my inspiration feels like it will never come back, days when even listening to music can’t quite cheer me up. Sometimes I manage a few words or a sentence or two, but at the end of the day I have little or nothing to show for it.

There are also stretches of time when I simply don’t write at all, for one reason or another. There’s always some excuse, some reason I didn’t sit down in front of my computer and write a page, a paragraph, even a sentence. In the end, though, it didn’t matter, because I always had the same thing to show for it: nothing.

Lately, I’ve been getting back into the swing of things. Some days it still feels like I have too much to do and not enough time, and my writing suffers, but other days I’m all but bouncing with excitement to finish work and get home and write.

When mood, and motivational music, and weather (I love writing during thunderstorms, rainstorms, foggy days…but these are weather-dependent motivators) fails, though, I have several other things to try. First of all, getting away from the computer screen altogether and spending some time outside. Running. Baking. Spending time with friends. Reading through old writing, reading a favorite book, reading reviews on my fanfic… I have many options to choose from, and invariably one always works in the end. I just have to keep trying.

So that’s my advice to you. When you look at your screen and don’t feel the story at all, when you don’t even want to walk over to your computer and open the word document, when you can’t imagine ever wanting to edit another chapter in that novel, take a deep breath. Then another. Then walk away from the story and do something else for a bit. Then come back and write a sentence. Edit a paragraph. Every step counts. And at the end of the day, don’t look at what you’ve done and think “That’s all I did? Why do I even bother?” Instead, tell yourself, “I made progress today. I really like this sentence/revision/dialog/etc. I wonder what I’ll write tomorrow?”

What sort of motivational techniques do you use when you don’t feel like writing?

6 Comments

  1. Just popping in from Scrib. I always find that the days I wake up motivated are the days that are jam-packed and I can’t write. But give me a day to myself with my laptop… nothing!

    1. That happens to me at times, too! Thankfully with my new job I can usually work around my times of inspiration… But there are still other things that come along and interrupt the creative flow. Sometimes I’m not sure if the universe or my muse is being cruel…or if they’re both conspiring together!

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