16 Aug 2019

Want to Write But Not Feeling Motivated?

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Many writers wonder how to get motivated. I know the feeling, I’ve often sat motionless, staring at the screen for hours, without typing a single word.

However, writing is required to be a writer. That sounds obvious, but you might be surprised at how many people claim to be a writer yet never write or only write a few paragraphs a week.

You could say that out of all of the steps to become a writer actually stringing words together to form readable sentences is the most important. It’s pretty basic, yet even the most prolific writers sometimes get stalled.

Yes, a comment such as “it was okay” doesn’t help a writer. Believe me, writers are not working towards creating an “okay” manuscript, article or story. Just as with any artist, they put their and soul into their work. It’s better to tell them that you didn’t get a chance to read it than it is to say their work was just okay. Generalized negative comments do not help; in fact, they harm. On the other hand, a specific, actionable criticism can be useful.

I worked with a coaching client recently who sent his manuscript to a top-notch editor to be reviewed. He received a huge document filled with lots of good advice  on how to make his book better. However, he also included some general comments “the flow of the story needs to be improved.” There’s nothing specific and actionable in that criticism. The client approached me to help. He was desperate to find out what he needed to do to “fix the flow.” Because of this and other general comments, he’s been stalled as a writer for half a dozen years.

What should the editor have done? Given some specific, actionable advice. Instead of general comments about the flow, it would have been better to give some examples of what could be improved about the flow. Perhaps he could have even edited a chapter to show what he meant.

Sometimes writers get blocked by a less-than-ideal working environment.

There are many other things that can block a writer’s ability to write.

  1. Turn of the TV. Who can write and watch (or listen to) TV at the same time?
  2. Make sure anyone who lives with your or visits understands your writing schedule and agrees you are not to be interrupted during those times.
  3. Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of proper rest can torpedo the creative process.
  4. Find other writers both online and locally. You can search meetup.com for “writing critique groups” to find groups of people who will read and critique your work.
  5. Create rewards for reaching specific writing goals. I like to treat myself to dinner at a nice restaurant after finishing 100 pages or a weekend vacation for completing a book.
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