A guest Post by Annabel Candy of Get in the Hotspot
Have you noticed how effortless non-writers think writing is? When you’re a writer that can be frustrating.
There are three main things about writing that make it lack the social proof people expect of professional activities.
- It’s intangible – Many people don’t seem to consider writing a decent job, maybe because often writers type away for days with evidently little to display for it. Yes, there may be the occasional article in a newspaper, possibly even a published book you can actually demonstrate people. But even then that petite book, an object you can hold in one arm, isn’t a good indication of the many hours, months or possibly years of work that went in to actually writing it.
- It’s unpaid – This is true even of successful, established and published writers, people like Zen Habits and Write to Done founder Leo Babauta who still regularly give away his writing on his own blogs and elsewhere. Many writers have blogs they write unpaid and if you’re not paid for something then other people tend to see it as a hobby and an unnecessary indulgence when for most writers creating a blog is a cautiously planned career budge.
- It’s intellectual – People see hard work as being physical like laboring, or stressfull like being a fighter pilot. They don’t realize the kind of mental determination that writing calls for, the inward motivation that’s required to get you writing and keep you going until you actually finish the work.
No wonder writers often fight with motivation.
Writing is a common desire for people. Yet most people who wish about writing don’t actually do it. Some of them hardly even read. Meantime writers who do actually earn a living from their work still fight to stay motivated and keep writing.
Faced with all this opposition, both outer and internal, how can we motivate ourselves to get writing and keep at it?
Here are six ideas that work :
1. Get motivated
Accept responsibility for you own deeds. Acknowledge that you’re the only person who can do this. That if you don’t glue your backside to the chair and very first commence, then finish writing your article or book, no one else is going to do it for you.
Two. Create taut imaginary deadlines for yourself to spur you on.
Attempt pretending you only have one hour to write today and that can be a good incentive to get on with it. Or ask yourself what you’d embark or finish writing if you only had a month to live.I motivated myself to write a 70,000 word manuscript by telling myself that if I didn’t write it that year I never would. These scare tactics do work and best of all no one has to die in the process.
Three. Commit to your writing.
Work out how much time you can give to your writing and when. Schedule it in your diary it. Make it a part of your routine and keep at it until it becomes a true habit.Now stay focused. If it’s a book you need to be able to maintain your concentrate for months. For a shorter lump like a blog post or an article you need to concentrate for one or two hours.
Four. Liquidate all distractions .
You know what they are. Unplug the phone, turn off your router, find a place where you can write away oblivious to the household duties which are being neglected.Attempt using a kitchen timer to keep you seated and writing. Set the timer for an hour and write away. When the time’s up have a five minute break then repeat until the chunk is finished.
Five. Use motivational instruments.
Don’t dismiss Twitter as a waste of time waster or, at best, a elementary networking implement. I’ve found it a powerful way to motivate myself and other people. It astonished me too but here’s how it happened.I followed a well known novelist and journalist called John Birmingham @johnbirmingham on Twitter.I noticed that he permanently tweeted how many words he’d written on a project and how many he was about to write. He’s prolific and his word count put me to shame so I determined to attempt his tactic and see if it helped me.Very first thing in the morning, I’d tweet:»Three jobs: edit chap two of fiction manuscript, finish brief story for the competition, write blog post for Get In the Hot Spot.»Then I made updates on my progress via Twitter, as the day went on, such as:»Chapter two edited and looking good. About to update my blog now. Hope you’ve had a productive morning too.»I know this sounds ridiculously ordinary and unnecessary too, but if it works as a motivational device, that has to be a good thing.
6. Attempt co-motivation
Sometimes on Twitter I’ve challenge other writers or bloggers to a word race if I know they’re in the same boat as me. As we both write more than we would have otherwise, we both end up winning. I’ve found that virginal bystanders who’ve seen my word count tweets are motivated and inspired by that just as I was by John Birmingham.This type of motivation even has a decent name. Appropriately enough for writers it’s called «bookmarking».Basically, you tell someone your objective and then update them regularly on your progress. It may be a friend, but it can be anyone, and it can also be done on the phone, with a text message, face to face, or on Twitter where you don’t even need anyone specific to report too.One brilliant side-effect of this is that as well as John Birmingham motivating himself and me, my progress reports have motivated other people too.One man told me that my tweets about writing and my word count have inspired him to begin writing again. Another Australian writer Peter Moore @travdude who’s published six travel books, emailed me saying»I’m amazed that you’re knocking out those kind of numbers in a family environment.»
Final word on motivation
Who cares if writing’s intangible, unpaid and misunderstood? We mark our progress in words written and don’t worry that most of them will be liquidated in the end. We pay ourselves a favor each time we put pen to paper and practice our craft. We wage a war against lassitude and writer’s block on a daily basis and we win.
We just sit down to write no matter how hard it is, because no one else can write it like us.
How do you commence writing and stick to it even tho’ it’s lighter not to? Please share your tips in the comments.
On the Internet it’s just the same as in real life
if you spend time with positive, inspiring people, you’ll be motivated to improve yourself and work firmer.
Brrng, Brrng! Got to go now, the timer’s ringing. Have a super duper and very productive day everyone.
Annabel Candy writes about self improvement at Get In the Hot Spot. She runs a web design company with her hubby and manages to stay mostly focused on her writing despite the general mayhem created by their three children. To have as word count race or boast about how much you’ve written, tweet her @inthehotspot