Writing Problems: Motivation

I sometimes find it hard to really motivate myself to get writing. On some days, especially days that are busy with work or insane crazy-people activities (like planning a wedding — who does that?), it’s really easy to ignore my pen and paper and lie face-down in the couch instead. Other times, motivation streaks through me like lightning, and I suddenly have the urge to get things written and make someone publish me.

Where does this motivation come from? And how the heck can I get it to stick around? I have a couple of theories.

School. Wow, I mention my MFA program a lot. But it really does help. I can think of so many times where I would have put of working, only to remind myself that the due date is coming up and boy do I have a lot to get through. Added to that is the awesome support network I’ve gained, which leads into my next motivator…

Other People. Knowing that other people are reading my work pushes me to make sure I get out the best I can do. Their comments can be either praising or critical, but it’s always encouraging: that I either really do know what I’m doing, or that I could actually eventually get out a piece of prose that works. Also, when they manage to succeed, it reminds me that I want to succeed like them — and also shows me a path I can take to get there myself.

Awesome Books. Sometimes this backfires. I read a great book and a sinking dread forms in the pit of my stomach. I can never write that! What do I think I’m trying to do?! But, usually, it just think, wow, I want to write this, too. Then I reread it and figure out how I can steal their technique.

Just Writing. Sometimes the best way to get myself writing is to simply sit down and do it. Even if I don’t feel like it, chances are I’ll get something out that will make the minutes worthwhile. Even if it’s going to be a horrible, awful, busy day, I try to sit at my computer for at least the duration of my coffee and see if I can’t punch something out. By doing that I’ve created something resembling a routine, and, being a creature of habit, that’s something that’s difficult to break.
Those are some of the things that help keep me motivated enough to keep writing. What about you — what are some of your motivators? And what can happen to just punch your motivation in the gut?

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