If you ever find yourself dreading the idea of sitting down to write or struggling to keep working even though it has only been thirty seconds, you’re not alone. For many writers, the struggle to write is a source of guilt. After all, how can you call yourself a writer if you have to force yourself to do it kicking and screaming? The good news is that you’re not alone in the struggle. Even the people who will say writing is pure joy and takes no effort at all have had days when it was not easy, even if they won’t admit it.
Why Are You Writing?
Before I get into a tip to help with your motivation, I think it’s prudent to first ask you to do a little self-evaluation. Ask yourself why you want to write. I’ll differ from some of the big names here because they will tell you the only acceptable answer is because you must or something equally all-or-nothing. But that’s bogus. Writing is a form of entertainment. People like to call it an art, but that is misleading. After all, the crayoned catastrophes churned out by three-year-olds every day are art. And so is this (which sold for millions).
The point is that your goals for writing can be small or large. And it’s okay to say you want to make a living from it, because money is just another form of validation—a way for us to know we are doing something worthwhile.
Writing is difficult. It’s often not rewarding. So if you have ever tried it and then decided to try again, you can call yourself a writer.
Making It Easier
Do you do all your writing in one location? Is your story saved as a little word document on a single desktop computer in a cluttered corner of your house? Even if you use a laptop and sometimes write on the couch or at the table or in the pantry, you’re missing out. There are two reasons you need to try writing outside your house.
One is that writing is a creative process, and you would be amazed at how a fresh environment and atmosphere can charge your work. It can be extremely helpful when writing dialogue to just listen in to a few random conversations and measure real speech to your version. If you’re writing a new character and struggling with a description, you can just pick a random person if you’re writing in a public place.
Some of my suggestions for outside-the-house writing spots depend on your personality. A great deal of adults have a degree of un-diagnosed attention deficit disorder (ADD). And the counter-intuitive thing about ADD is that it’s often harder for people with ADD to focus in stimulation-free environments. The key is to create a sort of stimulation “white noise”. Just the right amount of chaos is the perfect atmosphere for someone with ADD to focus. And for someone who has no attention problems, it’s still a great jump-start for creativity. It’s also similar to going to a brick and mortar gym versus working out at home. Something about putting pants on and leaving the house gears your mind up for a commitment of work.
Two is that you may not realize just how detrimental distractions are to your writing. If your house is like mine, ten minutes rarely go by without an animal, baby, or a wife demanding even a few seconds of attention. And if your mind works like mine, being broken out of the “trance” for even a second can spell the end of a writing session. So another type of place that’s great to sneak away to is somewhere outside or somewhere quiet. You could go to a public library and use one of their computers (just save your story to a google document so you can access it anywhere) or you could take a laptop or tablet out to a park if the weather is decent and try that.
For me, the best method is a combination of writing at home, writing in public, chaotic places, and writing in quiet, distraction-free places.