For many of us the demands of daily life rob us of time when we wish we could write. This can lead to what I like to call Writer's Rage, when we lose our temper because we JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE to gather our thoughts and get them down on paper or keypad.
However, when I have the time to write I procrastinate. Suddenly everything but writing becomes endlessly fascinating.
So here are five tricks and techniques I use to stay motivated:
- Set a daily word count: During an intensive project such as National Novel Writing Month, in which you're required to write 50, 000 words in one month, most writers set a daily word count of 1, 667. This is measurable and achievable (honestly, I've done it twice). I recognise this as extreme so my daily word count is just 500 words a day.
- Make yourself accountable to others: I have two readers waiting for my work. Whether you have them to proof-read, or a paying fan of your work, tell them when to expect your next project. Knowing that someone is waiting on you is very motivatiing indeed! At Writebulb all of us state our goals and report back on progress at each meeting. It's a bit like Weight Watchers but you can eat all the cake you like!
- Imagine that someone else had your idea: Could you cope with the horror of discovering that someone had exactly the same idea as you but beat you to publication? When I'm feeling lazy I imagine that the alternate-universe me is busy at his desk, hammering out my story (which will then go on to win critical acclaim, sell in the millions, and be optioned for a movie). Noooooo!
- Be around other writers: Feedback from Writebulb meetings shows that some feel isolated but being around other writers can kick them back into gear. Sharing the love, and the pain, of writing can keep you going. I always come away from meetings feeling like I could take over the world.
- Plan, plan, plan: There are Plotters and there are 'Pantsters'. Plotters know where they're going, Pantsters are all about the journey and discovering new things. I'm both. I'm a Pantster for the first draft but I come back to being a Plotter when the second (third, fouth, fifth) draft is required. It helps me to know where my characters are going.