7 Ways for Writers to Keep Motivated

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Do you ever think it isn’t going to happen? That your dream to be published is just that, a dream? Does the list of necessary steps to holding your own brass ring just keep getting longer and more fraught with disaster?

Or are you totally focused, never frustrated, always sure of yourself, with nary a misstep to cause you to doubt?

If that last is you, go to the comments section and tell the rest of us how you do it. Please.

But if not, if hard work and teeth-gritting determination sometimes need help, read on.

Here are 7 things I do when doubt and lethargy come hand in hand to edge me away from my goals.

1. I imagine my book finished and sitting on a shelf, not just in my house but in the houses and apartments and condos of my friends and my dear family. I see down through the generations my progeny saying, “She was a writer, you know.”
2. I pick the task of the day which seems most likely to give me an immediate reward, once finished. For instance today I picked up a well-researched and referenced book about my own family origins which, coincidentally, is about the time period of The Loyalist’s Luck, the second in my trilogy. Reading about my ancestors, reveling in the minute detail of their daily lives, I found reams of information which set me into my time period. The time flew by. Then I was more than eager to get down to some actual writing with this weekly blog post.
3. I pick a good historical novel off my ample shelves and lie on the couch reading. After a half hour or so of soaking up the winning words of one of the best writers in the world, my brain says, “Go and do likewise!”, especially if I’ve had an epiphany about one of my own writing roadblocks. This is not to say I copy what I’ve read, but my subconscious keeps ticking along behind the scenes while I’m enjoying myself and not working. Bit of a conundrum, that.
4. I go for a walk in the fresh air. Such a well-worn solution, but it really helps. Maybe it has to do with The Secret and walking is just a good way to encourage positive ions to attract (whatever they are!).
5. I email my daughter, my very good listening ear, and she makes me laugh, tells me a funny story about her daughter, or gives me a figurative kick in the pants. I have been known to do the same for her.
6. I go back and read some of my earlier writing and I am pleased. Not that it’s perfect, but that I started and I am constantly building a body of work with my name on it. To others this may not seem important, but this writing connects to my soul and this window inside tells me and, I hope, others who and what I am. Things we cannot say in person speak boldly from the written page.
7. I take a day off. I give myself permission to go fill my cup with other things, with life and love and, with luck, I’ll find inspiration enough to carry on the next day.

And I forgive myself. Being a perfectionist means this is necessary. I must remind myself people are meant to be happy in life, not perfect.

Staying motivated is tough for many people, not just writers. Consider leaving a comment with your tricks and taboos.

Download your free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing from the link in the side column.

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10 thoughts on “7 Ways for Writers to Keep Motivated

  1. Hi Elaine,
    What terrific ways to renew your muse. I especially enjoy reading and walking and have to remind myself sometimes that while it may seem like I’m wasting time, I’m actually making my writing time more productive.

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  2. Good ideas, Elaine. “Or are you totally focused, never frustrated, always sure of yourself, with nary a misstep to cause you to doubt?” That made me laugh. 🙂 My writing efforts seem to be limited these days to commenting on other people’s blogs. I really do need to get down to the business of writing seriously again.

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  3. I enjoyed the post and knowing that I’m not the only one who needs inspiration.
    One distracting thing about this post: I found myself trying to read the first page of your manuscript. I know. I’m crazy.

    Thanks for leaving the comment at Friday Firsts. I’m late here at your place. It’s a week where I can’t seem to catch up!

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  4. Hi Dear,

    I have been this route so many times. There are times when I am up and so confident, and then I wake up one morning asking myself, when will it ever happen. Yes, I do read paragraphs of pages of my book that I have submitted. When I read them, I say to myself, this is a fantastic book, because it really is.

    I also talk to a girlfriend who lives not so far away and skype with my sister in Alabama. Thank God for Skype because we can Skype for four hours and still talk.

    And like you I look at my articles I am publishing in three of my series on my blogs. One of them, The Champions Who Walked Among Us, give me so much encouragement. That is why I love researching the ladies, I write about. When I read what they went through, I say to myself, Come on, Patti. Get up, keep swinging, you can do it.

    Thank you for this very uplifting article. I needed to read it this morning, because I was a little down. By responding to your article, I was able to leave the basement and look up and see the sunshine.
    Ciao,
    Patti

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    • Sometimes I think you are my twin, Patti, as your words could very well be mine. We just need to keep our eye on the prize, even if it’s only a few people seeing and appreciating our work. Seems to me you’re doing a great job of that, my dear.

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