Writing on Writing – Motivation

Today’s topic of discussion is that of ‘motivation’, also known as the wily imaginary beast that tends to disappear just when you need it.

Whenever anyone asks why I write, I simply reply ‘because I can’t not write’. And to some respects that is true. Writing is as important to me as breathing, it provides a place where I can express my thoughts in cogent words and wrap my thoughts into metaphors before throwing them out into the world for anyone to see.

However, whilst writing is important to me, I do struggle with motivation. Normally, the second question that people ask after ‘why do you write’ is ‘how many words do you write’?

This is a stupid question. All word count questions are stupid questions. Mostly because they all involve the huge guilt trip that comes with the answer of ‘zero’ or ‘under 100’.

Obviously, everyone has different constraints on their time and what people consider ‘not much writing’ is what others call ‘a writing success’.  Likewise, everyone has different motivational methods that get them creating or doing whatever it is they love when the bottom of their soul tells them oh you don’t have to do that now.

Music, I find, is my sword against lack of motivation. The right music acts as a catalyst for my writing, especially for longer pieces. I can listen to the same song or album repeatedly until everyone in listening distance has grown bored of it, trying to eek out every feeling I can into the writing on my screen.

The right piece of music will carry me through the tough parts of a writing project, providing me with a harmonious encouragement to just keep going when the words struggle to appear. In my experience, I have found that this helps hugely with writer’s block, as just continuing to push through the pain of knowing that your words aren’t quite singing with the same lilting tune they should have until everything clicks into place.

Motivation is one of those things that can magically appear along with inspiration. However, whilst inspiration fades as I get my teeth into a project, I keep developing new techniques to motivate myself to get writing again. Even if it involves simply listening to the same piece of music repeatedly until I’ve written 10 words, then I count that as a small success.

I can build upon successes. One day, I might write 10 words, then the next day 15. After a week, I might be able to scrape together a mere 100 words over 5 days, and before I know it my wordcount for the month is hitting the 10,000.

And then I go back to square one again because I get writing fatigue.

This is the life of a writer, constantly battling against oneself to forge the words that you desperately want to send out into the world. However, that battle has helped me grow into a better writer overall, and taught me a lot about my own approach to writing.


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