Motivating an Unmotivated Writer

Writing Quote E.B. White I’m going through one of those seasons of life where I’m not feeling motivated. My mind could go in either one of two directions. I could wallow and give up — allowing myself to succumb to fatigue, discouragement, and fear due to circumstances beyond my control. Or I could remind myself that I am an author, and as such, absolutely everything is potential writing fodder. I’m choosing the latter.

Writing is Harder for a WriterTo maintain any productivity, my way of putting words on the page has changed over the past month. For instance, instead of scheduling hours at a time for writing, I’m snatching snippets and seconds. Scrivener is my friend, as I drop ideas, research links, and summaries of real-time happenings for anecdotal use into project files. Life has required I do things differently, but I refuse to let it stop me.

Writing the WorstI’m also offering myself an extra dose of patience and forgiveness. If I expend emotional energy on unreasonable expectations and unhealthy guilt, I will pay for it in wasted physical and mental energy. It’s taken me years to learn this about myself, but now that I know it, I can approach writing with a healthier perspective.

Writing Quote by Stephen KingAnother motivational boost comes from reminding myself that I am a professional. This means I don’t just think about writing, dream about writing, or talk about writing — I do it. A professional writer puts the same integrity, (doing the right thing whether anyone else can see or hear them or not), into their craft as the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. I refuse to be the amateur Stephen King talks about.

Writing What Others Can't SayMy past and present circumstances are more than writing fodder, they are also qualifiers. My unique experiences qualify me to speak about subjects, while my role as a professional writer enables me to say what others cannot due to willingness or ability. This is why writing is both privilege and responsibility. This thought alone motivates me to action when I feel unmotivated.

In speaking with many of my author friends, I find I’m not the only one who needs the occasional reminder to move my fingers across the keyboard when I feel like pushing buttons on the remote. The truth is, writing is hard under ideal conditions, but it can feel excruciating when life batters you with tough situations. This is where my writing mettle is tested.

  • Am I serious?
  • Will I resolve to follow through no matter what?
  • Can I motivate myself when I’d most like to bury myself in bed and pull the covers over my head?

Writer at WorkThe answer is yes. After all, I am a professional. And professional authors get to work — one intentional word at a time.

Does your writing come easy, or do you require a motivational push to do the daily word grind?


7 Replies to “Motivating an Unmotivated Writer”

  1. I really needed to see this today. Thank you, Anita! I’ve been dragging my feet on a proposal and just need to GET IT FINISHED. I especially like the Thomas Mann quote you provided. Writing is hard for me and I’ve believed that to mean I’m either not very good at it, or not meant to do it period. I truly didn’t know other writers struggled with this too!

    1. I’m so glad I could offer you encouragement today, Barbara. Believe me, you are not alone in your struggles — every professional I know has them.

      The inner conflict you feel may be exactly the “thing” that confirms you are meant to write. If you didn’t care so much, it wouldn’t present so much challenge. 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Anita! I needed this as well. This statement resonates for sure…”My unique experiences qualify me to speak about subjects, while my role as a professional writer enables me to say what others cannot due to willingness or ability.” Good stuff. Thank you!

    1. You are very welcome, Micky. It is an amazing honor to offer hope and encouragement to other writers. But oddly enough, my own words lifted my spirits today as well — so I received an added bonus in addition to the joy of know I helped you. Write on!

  3. Aloha Anita,

    According to Thomas Mann I am a writer.

    Definitely not the best writer on Earth – not yet. But I’m working on it. Some days my stories get longer, other days they get better. My goal each day is to become a better writer. It’s not easy, but I believe I am accomplishing the goal – and that keeps me writing.

    A Hui Hou (until next time),

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