Really Useful Links for Writers: Motivation

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Paul FitzSimons

Writer’s Block has always been a bone of contention in the writing world. To those of us afflicted, it can be a daily challenge. To others, it’s a fallacy – that great excuse we creative types use when we’re caught in a coffee shop on a Tuesday afternoon or when we’re forced to admit that we’ve only written two pages in the last month.

Fear of The Block is a force almost as strong as the block itself. The fear that, even though the magic is happening today, the words are flowing right now this minute, that we will wake up in the morning and there’ll be nothing. Sure, there’ll a ton of chapters or scenes to write but we’ll have no clue how to make that happen.

We all regularly complain about our day jobs, the people we work with and especially the people we work for. But the fact is, being answerable to someone or something can be a good thing. Whether it’s a boss breathing down our neck, our publisher breathing down our neck (maybe someday) or a specific deadline that cannot be missed, external pressure gives a writer one very inportant thing. Motivation.

We‘ll have been especially un-inclined to sit at our desks in recent weeks, with the Irish weather giving us a brief respite from the norm and encouraging us to be all-outdoorsy. Armed with laptop, I personally decamped to my parents’ garden for the few days of sunshine but I’m not under any illusion that I was at my most productive.

Writer’s block most often hits us when we’re on a first draft, staring at a blinking cursor when we’re sitting in front of our computer after a long day’s work (which, for many of us, also involves sitting at a computer). We have 100 or 200 or maybe 400 pages ahead of us. Who could blame us for getting de-motivated?

James Chartrand at writetodone.com, the online collection of articles all about writing, recognises the dangers of de-motivation and suggests that, to combat it, we need to get into good habits and rid ourselves of bad ones. He also tells us that the reason we ‘run out of good ideas’ is tthat we don’t stock up on them properly in the first place.

Also on writetodone.com, Australian travel writer Annabel Candy tells us that one of the reasons we lose motivation is that writing is not generally perceived as a profession. This is due to, among other things, the relative untangible nature of writing – we can be ensconsed away for weeks or months but at the end of that time, might not have a lot to show. Annabel also offers tips to help us stay motivated, including committing to specific and realistic times for writing, removing all distractions and engaging in co-motivation with other writers.

Although they’ll make us feel like we’re procrastinating (shur what doesn’t?), there are a number of non-specifically-writing tasks we can try to help clear our minds in order to get writing. On futurismic.com, science fiction writer Luc Reid suggests that activities like exercise and meditation will help us focus on our writing projects. Luc also tells us that one way to get writing is to ‘just start typing’. Writers are the most self-critical people and often we are paralysed because that brilliant sentence or line of dialogue isn’t coming naturally. We need to shake off this fear of bad writing and just get going, Luc suggests.

Most of us have to juggle writing with that all-too-necessary day job – we gotz to get paid – and it’s the time demands and stress from that job that often robs us of our motivation to write. Aine Greaney’s book Writer With A Day Job includes ten invaluable tips for getting some writing done after a hard day down the mines. She shares these tips with us on the Writers Digest website.

Author Ollin Morales also offers some tips on how we can motivate ourselves, tips he picked up while writing his own first novel. Ollin suggests that we should reward ourselves for our efforts, not just our successes, and tells us that a strategically-placed brownie beside the keyboard keeps him writing for a whole night. Ollin knows too that writers are not just self-critical, we can also be self-loathing and he advises that self-punishment should be avoided at all costs.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain.

 

Get Stocked Up.

Writetodone’s James Chartrand tells us that keeping motivated is all about having good stock of ideas to work from.

“Writing motivation doesn’t come from within. It comes from your secret stash.”

http://writetodone.com/how-to-find-your-daily-writing-motivation/

 

Writing’s A Real Job, Honestly.

Travel writer Annabel Candy talks about some of the reasons writers lose motivation.

“That small book, an object you can hold in one hand, isn’t a good indication of the many hours, months or possibly years of work that went in to actually writing it.”

http://writetodone.com/motivation-tips-that-actually-work-6-sure-fire-ways-to-get-writing-and-keep-writing/

 

Just Get Going.

Author Luc Reid gives us some tips to get us fired up and writing.

“There’s strong evidence in psychological and neurological research that we can change our moods, focus, and motivation.”

http://futurismic.com/2011/06/08/emergency-writing-motivation-techniques/

 

An Astronaut And A Writer?

Aine Greaney tells how to have a day job and be a writer at the same time.

“You deserve a writing rendezvous with yourself. So make a date and keep it. Oh, and show up on time.”

http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/make-time-to-write-10-tips-for-daily-writing

 

Go On, Have A Treat.

In his ten motivation tips, novellist Olin Morales reminds us that we should reward effort, not just achievement.

“Rewarding yourself for trying also means not demanding that your work be brilliant every day. It won’t be.”

http://ollinmorales.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/motivation-2/

 

(c) Paul FitzSimons

About the author

Paul FitzSimons is a screenwriter and novelist and has written the novel ‘Burning Matches’ and a number of scripts for film and TV. He has worked as a storyline writer on RTE’s ‘Fair City’. His short stories are published in ‘Who Brought The Biscuits’ by The Naas Harbour Writers. Paul likes crime thrillers, good coffee and Cadbury’s chocolate. He doesn’t like country-and-western music or people who don’t indicate on roundabouts.

Paul also runs the Script Editing service Paul | The | Editorpaulfitzsimons.com

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