I believe there is a whole new circle in writing hell for articles of this very ilk (read, how to find your writing motivation) that pretty much tell you the following: suck it up, buttercup.
Whenever I come across one of those, I am immediately turned off. It’s a personal thing, you know. I am the person who would hit the highway as soon as they encountered a personal trainer who would use what they perceived as tough love as a way to motivate their clients. As a personal trainer myself (that feels like a lifetime ago), I found that accountability and strategy was my preferred way to keep people motivated – the tough love was always an encouragement, never an excuse to tell people they were lazy.
So, if you prefer someone to tell you that you don’t lack writing motivation, but you are just lazy, I am not your gal – you’ll find none of that here.
As someone who loves studying productivity and made the quest for smart time-management part of her mission, I wholeheartedly believe for many the issue is one of willpower. I call this. willpower fatigue, yet the technical term is willpower depletion.
Numerous studies have been made and, for instance, Mark Muraven, PhD, of the University at Albany, and colleagues found that people who felt compelled to exert self-control (in order to please others, for example) were more easily depleted than people who were driven by their own internal goals and desires.
Most studies on the matter seem to agree on the fact that the more our plate gets filled up during the day, the more our decision making will inherently suffer from it. With this in mind, these three tips are aimed at inspiring you to find the elusive motivation, we are all looking for.
Change your approach to writing
This could mean a variety of things – yet, to me, it’s more about shaking up the way you write and/or your environment. One of my favourite tools for writing at home is Coffivity. Available as a website and an app, Coffitivity brings the coffee shop into your living room. You can choose a selection of ambient background noises, including Brazil Bistro and the oh-so-pretentious Paris Paradise as a way to boost your creativity. You can even pop a croissant in the oven to bring back the smell of delicious buttery French pastry.
Another bold experiment could be dictating your own writing. On average, I can dictate 500 words in just about 10 minutes, counting on the fact I am taking my time to get the words right. Recently, we started using a desktop app called Otter.ai for our podcast transcripts, yet I have recently given it a go and transcribed one article I dictated straight into it from my laptop.
The accuracy level of the app is second to none, and it has a variety of features that even shocked me, as someone who has tried far too many tools in her days. I would recommend giving it a try to see if it can work for you.
Find fresh ways to get inspired with new ideas
Not all of us get showered with new ideas daily – this is why an idea bank is so important. There is a multitude of ways you can go about finding new ideas. Asking powerful questions is a great way to get started. My favourite way for example is to take my Sunday mornings to read through my RSS feed and save any interesting pieces, or research studies related to what I love talking and writing about.
Having an easy way for you to jot down ideas as soon as they come to you is a very important and simple trick. If you’re feeling stuck, today may be a good day to invest in a notepad to write down those ideas which will help you during those weeks when you lack inspiration.
Journal reasons why you love writing
If you solely write for the money, the passion will become harder and harder to ignite. When I was desperately trying to fit writing in whilst running three startups, I lost all of my passion for the trade. Let me tell you, for someone who cried when they received the first paperback of her book, it’s quite an unusual turn of events.
Every time I have writer’s block, I spend some time journalling out what I do love about writing. Just like my daily gratitude list, I stop and write down as many positive aspects of writing as I can. Sometimes, I go down memory lane and write about my first ever novel. Or I go to my memory box and get out the first home-bound version of my collection of short stories my mum did for me.
Reminding myself that for 20 years I knew I wanted to be a writer, helps me when I have been stuck in a rut for too long.
Action step: try this today and write down a list of all the reasons why you love writing.
Last but not least, just forget your content calendar
This may be shocking coming from me but some weeks all you have to do is forget what you are supposed to write and just meet a blank page. Let it guide you, for goodness sake. This is why most of us start writing. We see infinite possibilities in a blank page – the chance to talk to hundreds of people in the comfort of their homes, in an intimate and unique setting. There is an infinite amount of magic in there.
I hope this piece helped you to find the motivation you needed, and you’ll try one of these techniques to reignite that fire.