This week’s guest post is from online writer Monta. She has a helpful list of tips and tricks to keep up your motivation level when you’re writing.
Tricks to Keep Writing
You know, being a writer sometimes isn’t all it is cracked up to be. I mean, most people think it is a really creative field where ideas just flow out of you like streams of water from a natural spring. However, just like that spring, sometimes our reservoir runs dry. It is hard to be constantly creative and inspired, especially if you write for a job or even every day. You can’t hope to keep up a fast and furious pace nonstop, so what do you do? How do you keep writing? How do you stay inspired and passionate? Well, hopefully I can help you out a bit. These are some tricks that have worked for me. Not all at once and I am not promising any miracles, but try them out and see what works for you.
- Start small – Sometimes when you are burnt out it is hard to know where to start. Well, one place that is always good is to start small. Start with one line or just throw around title ideas. Do some character building. Just write dialogue and fill in the details later.
- Just write – Even if you can’t think of a single thing to write, you can still write. Do free writing. Just throw up whatever is in your brain onto the paper without regards to whether or not it makes sense or flows. Just get those fingers moving. You would be surprised how often this works for me. The action of typing seems to trigger something inside and the words just start to flow. I guess it is sort of like priming the pump.
- Do the hardest first – If you are the kind of person that worries or dread and therefore puts off like I am, then suck it up and do the hardest thing first. A friend of mine puts it this way: “If you do the hardest thing first and it kills you, then you won’t have to do the rest. But if you get through it then the rest is easy.”
- Take a break –If you have been working all day and your fingers feel like raw meat and you can’t spell at all anymore, then by all means take a break. Get off the computer and away from your desk. Go to the bathroom. Have a snack. Chat on the phone. Whatever you do just don’t write or even think hard for a few minutes. If you want to, take a nap. You can lie down right there on the floor for fifteen minutes and perk your brain back up. Don’t tell my boss, but I do that almost every day after lunch.
- Don’t take a break –If you are in the flow but your bladder or your fingers are screaming for relief, ignore them! The flow doesn’t last forever so take advantage of it. When you are in the writing mode feel free to disregard everything else. Don’t eat, don’t sleep, don’t talk, don’t even look away from your screen. It only takes a moment of distraction to lose your mojo, so don’t give it any opportunity. You can do more in one day with flow than a week without it.
- Get inspired –If you are out of ideas then take a look around. Get inspired. Frankly, Pinterest inspires me. I love images. They open doors to other worlds. It is true what they say; one image is worth a thousand words. You can spend all day reading articles and surfing the net or you can spend an hour glancing through Pinterest. What is the best use of your time? Of course, you have to pick your own creative poison, but that one is mine.
- Move around- Sometimes it isn’t enough just to take a break from the computer. Sometimes you need to get the blood pumping and your heart rate up. Go for a jog, take a few trips up and down the stairs, do some pushups or sit ups, whatever it takes to get the blood back to your brain and your thoughts moving.
- Start with ideas –I find it easier to write when I sit down in the morning and line up my ideas for the day. It might be just titles. It might be plots. It might be character movements. Whatever it is, I write it down so that I don’t have to keep it in my mind. If you have to write and remember you are doomed. However if you get halfway through your day and are feeling burnt out but you have your notes from when you were fresh it makes everything so much easier.
- Make an outline –In the same line of thinking, make an outline of what you want to write. It can be plot related or just ideas you would like to include. It can be character names or quiets you want to use. It can be short or long, single words or paragraphs of information. What you write in your outline is up to you, but anything will help trigger your memory later and get your writing again.
- Don’t edit –When I’m tired my spelling and grammar suck. It is like my hands spaz out on the keys and everything turns into gobbledygook. If I stopped writing for every misspelled word I would still be on the first sentence of this article. Sometimes you have to ignore the errors and just keep moving. When you are done writing, then you can go back and fix everything you screwed up. Until then, just keep going. It is like a race, you may stumble but you didn’t fall so you have to hope you can still win.
Writing is a difficult but rewarding occupation. I find myself thankful every day that I can write and make a living doing it. Yet there are some days I wish I had a physical job instead; something which strained my body instead of my mind. On days like that it is important to keep going anyway. You may not be inspired, but you can keep working. Eventually your brain will kick back into gear and your writing will come to life just like it always does. Good luck and happy writing!
About the author:
Monta, the mother of three children, serves as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. She is a regular contributor of “http://www.gonannies.com/. You can get in touch with her at montafleming6Atgmail dotcom.