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Motivation (of author, not characters)

afraclose asked, "What do you do to motivate yourself when you don't feel like writing?"

Which is an excellent question, as I suspect all of us who write have to deal with this!

For me, I've come to realize that I pretty much always feel like writing... I just sometimes feel even more distracted by other things going on/nervous that what I'm about to write won't turn out well/etc., which overwhelms the wanting-to-write feeling. But once I get myself in front of the laptop and get to it, I usually feel a heck of a lot happier than when I was procrastinating before. So the trick is getting myself to sit in that chair and open up that laptop.

Sometimes all I have to do is remind myself that I will probably feel happier once I do, and give it a shot. (This is even easier to manage when I have a limited amount of time to write in, because I have guilt--the thought that I might not get any writing done at all--motivating me as well.)

Sometimes I can't quite manage to just convince myself right off, so I putter around my apartment. If I'm not going to write yet, at least I want to be productive, so I get myself doing chores or other things that need doing. I do not let myself turn on the desktop computer with the internet. Once I get on the internet I can procrastinate for ages. I also do not let myself pick up a novel. If I do I may not want to put it down until I'm done. But as long as the internet is off and my books stay on the shelves, it doesn't take too long before I get bored enough of puttering and chores that I can get myself into that chair.

I think one of the keys is knowing the things that make it easiest for you to procrastinate, and making sure you have access to as few of them as possible when it's your writing time.

For the occasions when I sit down with the laptop, open up the story... and still don't feel like writing?

I read through the stuff I wrote the day before, and/or the earlier draft of the story, and/or my outline notes, to remind myself what scene I'm supposed to be working on and get the story gears turning in my head.

I listen to the "soundtrack" I've made for the book. Sometimes I'll put on a particularly relevant song, close my eyes, and imagine a TV opening or fan music video for the story. That can get me both in the story mindset, and excited about writing it.

I force myself to write. One sentence at a time. As long as it takes. Frequently after a paragraph or two like this, the words start flowing again.

If I absolutely still feel completely wretched after about an hour of forcing it, and all of the words I'm forcing out still seem like garbage, I let myself stop. Doesn't happen often, but there are the occasional days when the writing part of my brain apparently needs a break.

How about the rest of you? How do you get the creativity flowing when you're just not feeling it?

(P.S., I continue to be open to questions and topic suggestions over here.)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
Very nice -- now if only I could do it :)
Mar. 13th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Aw, Robin, you're probably the most productive writer I know! :)
Mar. 12th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for addressing my question. I've had a lot of trouble getting myself to sit in the chair lately. <~~>
Mar. 13th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
This may sound silly, but when my brain is really balking at getting in the chair, I nudge myself closer and closer and don't let myself do anything other than think--preferably think about the story I want to be working on, though minds do wander. So I might start on the living room couch, and then shift myself to the bed (my writing chair is in the bedroom), and then finally get myself into the chair when I just can't stand sitting around doing nothing any more. ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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