By: Karen Einsel
Motivation is a funny thing. Here you are 25,000 words into your latest novel and Bam! You hit a brick wall. You become speechless, or maybe wordless. Your muse is playing with the dust bunnies under the bed and you think you have writer’s block. But what if it isn’t? What if the words are there but you just cannot seem to get your motivation revved up to move forward. This happens to everyone from time to time, in all lifestyles, no matter what your job is. Therefore, I have come up with a few ideas to help you find your motivation and get back on track.
Goals: we all set them and, like New Year’s resolutions, sometimes they are unrealistic. The problem with unrealistic goals is that if we don’t achieve them, we slip into a funk, and then it’s even harder to find the motivation to move forward. Set mini goals. Take baby steps. Instead of saying, you will write 5,000 words today, say you’ll write for just 10 minutes, but don’t set that as your goal everyday. Mix it up. Ten minutes today, a sentence tomorrow, and a paragraph the next day.
Your best time: We all have a certain time of day when we are at our best. I’m a morning person. If I haven’t accomplished anything by noon, the rest of my day is shot. However, if I have accomplished things, my motivation carries over way into the evening. Find your best time. Whether it is after everyone goes to bed or at 3 a.m. it doesn’t matter, as long as it works for you.
Listen to music: If there is certain music that you associate with your story, crank it up! If not, find songs that make you feel good. Feeling good keeps motivation up!
Research: You say your novel is not historical so why should you do research? The first book in Chris’ Journey takes place in the 70’s and one reader asked me, “Why are they having financial problems?” Well that was one thing I didn’t feel was relevant to the story, but evidently someone feels it is. Even if you just research what kind of clothes they wear, or the cars they drive, do some research.
Work on your cover: Even if you are planning to hire a cover designer, you should have some ideas about how your cover will look. Search for photos of how you envision your characters or settings ( http://morguefile.com/ and http://www.dreamstime.com/
are good ones to try). Go out and take photographs that could be used for the background. Clouds and scenic photos are great for those, and you get some fresh air.
Challenge yourself: Ray Bradbury said, and I quote, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” I haven’t quite mastered this, but I have been trying. Google Ray Bradbury, he has many great writing tips to help keep you motivated! Another way to challenge yourself is to write outside your normal genre. If you write romance, try writing a short mystery story or a child’s picture book.
Last but not least…
Take a break: I know you have a deadline, but writing is hard work. You need some down time. Get up and go for a walk, take a nap, lift weights, or… What you do really doesn’t matter, but your body and mind will thank you.
Well those are some of my ideas. What do you do to keep your motivation up or jumpstart it when it feels that you don’t have any?
About Karen: The idea of being a writer never crossed Karen’s mind, but after closing her gift shop in 2011 she found herself with too much time on her hands, and a story in her head. Taking pen and paper in hand she found a whole new world open up to her and she’s enjoying it immensely.
Karen's Blog: karensdifferentcorners
Karen on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Different-Corners
Karen on Twitter: @K_Einsel