I always find that it is difficult to talk about losing steam in my writing, because there is a certain amount of shame that I associate with losing motivation. The phrase ‘losing steam’ is horribly cliche, and yet it is such an accurate description of how I feel when I begin to lose motivation that I can’t help but use it.
Staying motivated, and focused on writing is one of the most difficult aspects of the writing process. At times I am inundated with inspiration; ideas seem to come too fast. I scribble my thoughts down furiously, afraid I won’t get them all out of my head in time. I can sit at my computer, writing for hours, lost in imaginary worlds.
Other times, I sit at my computer for hours, just staring at the blinking cursor on an empty page.
Part of my fear comes from a rather misplaced idea of perfection. If an idea isn’t flowing as gracefully and articulately as I would like, I’m reticent to write it down. What if someone were to see this imperfect blotch of words on the page? What if I have to see it? Rationally, I know that these feeling are unreasonable.It’s a first draft, after all. And yet, there is still a nagging doubt that persists. Some days, I procrastinate so much, that I don’t even open my Word Documents to write at all; telling myself ‘I’m too busy to write today.’
And therein lies the true fault. There are no days when I am too busy to write, because even if I only have ten minutes, I could still sit down and write a paragraph. And no one is going to see my first draft, except me, so why does it matter if it comes out as an imperfect mess?
At times like these, it helps me to analyze the reasons behind my lack of motivation. It is not enough to feel unmotivated – I need to know why. Sometimes other aspects of my life are causing me stress, and impinging on my creativity. Other times, I feel stuck on a certain aspect of my novel, and it feels like an impenetrable wall I cannot break through.
At these times it helps to get out of my head, and into the world. I try to go outside, and be open to new ideas, and a fresh perspective. I also like to go back to my ideas on Inspiring Creativity, and work through them in a systematic fashion. This can feel infantile, as though I’m in grade school again. And yet, bringing my writing back to the basics can also feel like I’m hitting the refresh button.
Suddenly everything is clear again. There are steps to follow; goals to set. There is more than one way to get this writing finished.
Writing is a discipline, and so disciplined I must be.
So, how do you get motivated to continue writing? Tell me in the comments below!
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