4 Ways to Self-Motivate (Author Toolbox)

For my return to Author Toolbox, I want to share with you the four ways I’ve used to find my motivation to write again. I hope that some of them will work for you if you ever feel like this writing thing needs a break.

Back in 2017, I joined the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. A year later, life got too crazy and I bowed out for what I thought would be no more than six months. That six months turned into two years. Two years…

Two years is quite a long time. Unfortunately, it has not been so great for my writing. I have written, but I haven’t been as dedicated or motivated. Last week, I wrote about accepting that life is crazy all the time and writing anyway in a post called “Rise Again” — Quarantine, Family, and Reflection.

For my return to Author Toolbox, I want to share with you the four ways I’ve used to find my motivation to write again. I hope that some of them will work for you if you ever feel like this writing thing needs a break.

1. Read a motivating book.

I can’t go to the library right now, so I use the Overdrive app to check out library books. (I’ve read so many books this year thanks to this app, so I highly recommend it!)

Anyway, last week I checked out Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. Why did I check it out? Well, to be 100% honest, it was available when I searched for nonfiction. Other than that, the subtitle says “A shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals.” How can I pass that up?

Book
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Within these pages, I was being called out for all the excuses I’ve made in the last two years to avoid my goal (finishing and then publishing my novel). Rachel tells us that we need to let go of excuses, adopt behaviors that will push us forward, and develop the skills we need to continue on that path.

Here are my overall takeaways from this book:

  1. do have time to finish my novel. After all, I’m on the fourth draft!
  2. do have time to continue on my blogging journey.
  3. need to stop making excuses for why my book isn’t done yet.
  4. need to tell myself daily that my dream, my goal, is worth it every single day — and believe it.

Notice anything? I do. All of those are I statements. How much more motivating can you get?

2. Do something fun.

What? How will that motivate me to write?

Great question. It might not, but at least it’s fun! Okay, I know that’s not the answer you wanted, but in all actuality, it could motivate you to write.

We had some old bananas hanging out in our kitchen a few weeks ago. Instead of throwing them out, I decided to look up a recipe for banana muffins. I had never made homemade muffins before, but I thought it would be fun.

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The muffins were a success (and incredibly delicious), which was motivating. Success of any kind is motivating. We feel the joy that comes with doing something right and we want to feel it again. All we have to do is transition it from muffins to writing.

3. Finish a home project.

Although not as fun as making muffins, the feeling of success is just as strong when finishing a home project.

Back in January, our bathroom floor flooded. The toilet had been leaking for months, and we didn’t know until the vinyl started coming up by the wall. When we pushed it back down, liquid came out.

We tore out the vinyl and then… nothing. We did nothing.

img_3393
The floor below the vinyl is finally almost dry.

What?

First, we had to wait for the floor to dry. Then, we had to decide on a new toilet, sink, and floor. Did we have to get all that? Not exactly, but why not?

When did we do this? Last week… in May… five months after we tore the floor up and shut off the toilet. For five months our bathroom has been mostly inoperable and in disarray — like life, I suppose.

This past weekend, we brought someone in to repair the floor, lay the tile, and install the sink and toilet. The finished half-bathroom is amazing!

img_3392
Maybe ignore the dirty mirror??

But how is this motivating?

Like the muffins, something is finished successfully. Unlike the muffins, a home project could have been causing undue stress and becoming an excuse for not writing. This is almost a two-for-one deal: the stress and excuse are gone and the feeling of success is present.

4. Get outside of the house.

With COVID-19 keeping us locked away more often than not, we need a break. Nature is inspiring to me. From the flowers blooming in this hot Texas weather, to the squirrels teasing my dogs, to the birds still singing all day, to the sunshine beating down even though everyone seems to be cursing it.

We took the kids to the Brazos River in Waco, Texas recently. Unfortunately, we didn’t think of bringing anything to feed the ducks until we got there and saw other people feeding them. However, this one family gladly shared their crackers with my kids, so they were able to reap the joy as the ducks quacked at each other over crackers.

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Feeding the ducks at the Brazos River in Waco, Texas.

How does this motivate you to write?

Those ducks were going after what they wanted. Some of them were trying to beat turtles to the crackers, too! The turtles laid in wait under the water, out of sight. Within seconds of a cracker landing on the water, a turtle would swim up and snatch it.

The ducks had to be faster. They swam quickly, quacked at each other to get out of the way, and reached for those crackers. They knew what they wanted, and they got it.

Why can’t we do that? Work and reach for our goal, quacking at anyone who tries to tell us we can’t have it. Our writing is worth it, and we can achieve it. Maybe all we need is to feel motivated enough to do so. Maybe all we need is to feel like a duck.

Comments

How do you self-motivate? What are your tricks or tips for sustaining your writing brain? Have you used any of these? Share with me in the comments!

Author Toolbox

This post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop (hosted by Raimey Gallant), which is dedicated to helping writers become stronger and more confident in their craft. Click here for more information, to continue hopping through other posts, or to join in!

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22 thoughts on “4 Ways to Self-Motivate (Author Toolbox)

  1. Such great tips! I’ve been using the Libby app to check out ebooks during this time too. Also getting outside is one my go-to actions for self-motivation. I always feel refreshed after a walk or a little time in the sun. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the picture of that duck! You got it right in the action moment.

    Thank you for these motivational tips. They are often needed in these busy times. For myself, I’ve found that setting a daily routine has been the most helpful in actually getting me spending time consistently on my writing. After some time, I’ve come to the point where if I miss it, I feel like something major is missing. That’s enough to keep me at it.

    Thank you for sharing, and best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I got several photos of the duck, but this one seemed the right one.

      Daily routines are important. I try to get out in the morning and walk or bike ride. As far as writing goes, I’m trying to build my evening writing habit back up.

      Like

  3. I’m cracking up! Most of those would just thoroughly exhaust me and I’d certainly never sit down and write! hahahaha! We all have our way. This was a great post. I love how we all have different things that help motivate us to push on. Glad to meet you! (PS. I’m so glad you posted a pic of the bathroom when it was done — I was totally stressing that you wouldn’t and I’d be left wondering. Ha! It looks amazing!).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing.
    It is good and helpful to hear about others’ experiences.
    I admit, my writing focus has slipped in the midst of “all this,” and I find it difficult to write.
    Part of my strategy has been trying to forgive and compromise. “Okay, I don’t think I have 2 hours in me, how about 1?” or “Okay, I don’t feel like I have the energy to write a story, what about studying writing?”
    Beyond that I try to go for walks regularly, listen to nonlyric music that feels very narrative, and try to maintain frequent correspondences with those among my circles who are comfortable communicating online. Once in a while I complete little side projects (reorganizing my books and the like).
    I think there’s a very delicate balance between “keeping at it” and “being too demanding of myself when the difficulty has temporarily increased.”
    It’s very tricky, since one can always say “well right now it’s hard, so I won’t do as much.”
    I’m hopeful that by June 1st I’ll be back to my prior productivity levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      It’s definitely harder to focus on writing when everything is going on. One of the things Rachel Hollis said in her book is to give yourself five hours a week to work toward your goal, your dream. That can be split up any way you want.

      You’ve got this!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I do try to chart and plan out time to write, usually aiming for at least 1 hour four weeknights, and then some portion on the weekend, but sometimes it can feel a bit like the White Rabbit of Wonderland, “so much to do, so much to do and not enough time.”
        But thank you. I do appreciate your words of encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great post! All of those things you listed can easily motivate you to write. I don’t know about you, but I am ALWAYS thinking of story ideas and ways to fix my stories. Usually for me it’s mowing the grass, going on a walk, or even cleaning the house. They ALL motivate me to write. Great post! I’ve shared via Twitter so hopefully others can get inspired too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve been mowing lately and listening to audio books. That probably doesn’t help me with generating ideas for stories, but it definitely allows for time to think!

      Like

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