How do you keep motivated to write when you’re 1) burnt out 2) tired 3) haven’t heard the best writing news and/or 4) your muse has gone on vacation to Tahiti?
I asked my friends because I recently went through each of these scenarios. The answers were inspiring. I hope they help you as well.
“Daily goals. I’ve found I need to decide beforehand what I’m going to do, because when the time comes, and I don’t “feel” like writing, I’ve already decided I’m going to write anyway. I may be tired, burnt out, feeling uninspired, etc., but words on the page can be fixed, so I write them. As for writing after receiving bad news, I use it as fuel to improve–especially if I’ve been given specific feedback. I have to let myself wallow for a couple of days, but then I pull myself up and remember that I’ve been called to this ministry by God, and if I’ve been called, I’ve been equipped and I have what it takes.”
Gabrielle Meyer, Author
“Deadlines. When you’re on deadline, you don’t get to say, “Oh, I’m not inspired today.” You just have to push through. And that can, quite honestly, be hard. But knowing you’ve got an editor waiting on you is darn good motivation.
What has helped me when I’m burnt out is to jump on my elliptical for twenty minutes or go take a walk. Doesn’t have to be a long walk. That space to breathe and relax and restock your creative energy is so important.
When bad writing news comes, I think one of the best things to do is step away. Maybe tell a couple trusted friends or family members. But don’t talk and talk and talk about it. Don’t open up the computer and obsess over whatever project got the bad news. For me, I need to close the laptop and go watch a movie or hang out with friends or take a bubble bath. Naps are amazingly soothing too. And then pray. And feel…I’m BIG on letting ourselves actually feel the weight of our dreams, and that includes both hope but also grief when we hit bumps.
And when the muse is gone, here are two tricks given to me by two friends. The first is from Susan May Warren. She told me once when I’m stuck in the story or feeling uninspired, to just tell myself the story out loud. Just recite the story from beginning to end…it sounds simple but it’s an amazing way of rekindling what sparked your story in the first place. The second comes from my friend Hillary Manton Lodge–she gave me this advice when I was having a blah writing day a few months ago. She suggested I journal…about the story, how I was feeling, whatever scene I was in. And she was so right, there was something about putting literal pen to literal paper and just journaling it out…within an hour, I was back at work.”
Melissa Tagg, Author
I brainstorm with a buddy or watch a Peptalk. Sometimes I make myself write even if it is bad and eventually it kicks my juices into gear. But there are times I feel as though I am spinning my wheels and it is almost painful. Those times I use my designated writing time for prayer.
Tari Faris, Writer
A publisher’s deadline will definitely motivate you. They don’t understand I didn’t feel like writing one week, so I’m going to miss my deadline. When I experience burn out, or I’m tired, or receive a rejection, and even when my muse goes on vacation without me, I’ve learned
1) Take a 30-minute nap.
2) Often the hardest part of writing is starting. So I set a timer and write for 10 minutes. It can be anything, but preferably your WIP. I figure anyone can write for 10 minutes. I give myself permission to stop at the end of 10 minutes if I want to, but I never have.
One thing I’ve learned: I’ve written six books now and each one has been different. At some point on the first four, there was a struggle to get the book finished. Books 5 and 6, I had to depend on God to give me the next paragraph, sometimes even the next word. But He called me to write, and he was faithful to give me the words. Every time.”
Patricia Bradley, Author
Isn’t that inspiring? It’s September and many of you (especially me) made goals at the beginning of the year. If they haven’t happened yet or 2015 hasn’t turned out as you’ve expected, I hope this has encouraged you. God has got this! He is faithful. What motivates you to write when your discouraged?