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?
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:
- I do have time to finish my novel. After all, I’m on the fourth draft!
- I do have time to continue on my blogging journey.
- I need to stop making excuses for why my book isn’t done yet.
- I 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!