How do you fight through unmotivated feelings to create productive writing?
Productive Writing: The Motivation Struggle
You wake up in the morning, have your coffee and breakfast, then make a mental note of all the things you’re going to write about today. Then, you pick up your phone, scroll through Instagram. Do some laundry and cross off a few other errands. Once you sit down at your computer to write, your mind goes blank…
If you’re like me, you may start having thoughts like “I don’t know how to do this”, “I don’t have any ideas”, or “Where do I start?” It may seem overwhelming when these thoughts flood your brain, but there is a way around this. It all comes down to mindset and taking small steps to getting words on the page!
What Do You Do, Kirsten?
It begins with refreshing my memory. I’ll go to the end of the current manuscript I’m working on and read a few sentences of the point where I left off. This helps me get back in the moment of the story, then I can decide what the next sentence will be. Once I’ve typed a few sentences, most of the time I can find my rhythm again and crank out several more paragraphs.
One of the most helpful things is making a word count goal. If I know there is an end in sight, it helps me not be so overwhelmed and gives me a sense of accomplishment once I achieve it. If I find myself getting distracted, or wanting to check my phone, I tell myself to reach at least 500 words of non-stop writing before doing anything else. You can choose the number that works best for the amount of time you have to write. Or I’ll make sure to finish the paragraph or fill up a certain page. As long as I’m taking a small step forward, I reward myself with that small break before getting back into writing.
When you’ve reached your word count goal for the day, that’s one less thing to worry about! If I’m feeling especially energized by my progress, I may even do a little extra. If I haven’t quite reached it yet, I push on and keep talking to myself. Tell myself that I’m almost there or that my words don’t have to be perfect right now. Reaching 500 words, or even 200 if that’s all you have time for, can make a huge difference in your progress!
Productivity and Break Time
There are times when I find it hard to get back to it once I’ve stopped for a quick break. A way to combat this is by using a timer! If you want to go on social media, or chat with a friend for a bit, set a timer. I would advise that if you’ve spent ten minutes writing, only take a break for half that amount of time. If you’ve got all day to right, equal amounts will work okay.
When you get in the zone, you want to hold onto that energy! Listen to yourself and check in to see which times of day you feel the most productive. If that is not possible for your schedule, train yourself to work at the same time every day to work yourself into that routine. Balance and routine have always been great organizers for me.
Find what feels good to you and remember that every new written word matters! You don’t have to write 10,000 or even 1,000 words a day to feel accomplished. Still find yourself staring at an empty screen or piece of paper? Start writing something random. Thoughts. Emotions. What’s outside? Go through the motions until you spark ideas that will work with your story.
Another tip is to go to another section of the story. It doesn’t always have to be written from Chapter 1 straight to the end. If you have more ideas for the ending than the beginning, start there! It’s not productive to sit and stare at the computer, so catch yourself when you do that. Work on a different task to spark your inspiration.
Motivation, even for a short while, can be conjured if you stay calm and try out these tricks! Good luck and happy writing!
Thank you for reading about productive writing!
The idea for this post came from author Ligia Carvalho (@ligia.carvalho.author) on Instagram. Check in with my blog on Wednesday for more bookish fun! Have any questions about productivity or comments of your own experiences? Share below!
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