After the Christmas presents and cookie eating is over many of us will hunker down and create a list of things we want to accomplish over the New Year. Be it a level of weigh we’d like to slim down to, a mountain we’d like to climb, walking every day or… maybe even write a novel.
Indeed it is refreshing when another year comes off the books and there is a chance to start again. However, most of you know these goals sputter and fade within a few weeks — if they get started at all. The reason for this post today is because I was doing something all writers and goal makers do from time to time – telling myself the perfect time to write is just around the corner. I have done this again and again before realizing I’m going nowhere.
I have excuses a plenty. My daughter is just getting used to sleeping through the night and wakes up crying, sometimes for hours, before settling down again. Three naps of two hours does not help. My work picks up this time of year, and I detest getting up and rushing to the computer screen, and my family and I are just plain busy.
There, I’ve got them out. I’m done complaining. I’m writing.
Today is Monday, the start of a new week that will be filled with success and failure. The key for the part-time writer is to find, well, time.
There are many distractions that can stop you from reaching your writing goals, or any goal for the matter. There are places where you will want and need to give time: family, friends, and work (maybe not!). There are optional activities that will require time eventually: Laundry, dusting, cleaning out the garage, power washing the house or car. And finally there are those things that suck us into the whirlpool of time wasted: television, internet, movies, and other mindless (but tremendously fun) entertainment.
Stop here. I am not trying to be a motivational speaker, but perhaps I am being one now. There are many times I have to remind myself what I am. There are days when I have to seek out a hour to write, whether that is in the morning at 5:30am or at night from 12am until 1am.
I write this not to make you or I feel guilty but to focus on the task at hand. Time is irrevocable. Once spent, there is no getting it back. While Mr. Phelps’s or Mr. Bolt’s Olympic events will be tremendously entertaining, I am positive that they did not get to where they are now by watching the latest episode of _____ every night.
So today, take television, sleep, and even reading off the mantle. Take writing, if it is your dream, and put it in its proper place.
I have a lot of ideas for books. I keep them stashed away in piles of notebooks or if I get a flash of a scene in my mind I write it down and save it in a file on my computer. I’ve never had an issue with ideas or better stated the problem of the creative well running dry.
My issue, like most of you out there, is finding ways to revitalize my creativity, or better yet fueling my creativity.
There is a difference between inspiration and motivation. I find that in my writing life they are often clashing like land and wave, warring against one another. Which made me wonder, what puts me in the writing mood?
Reading – This is obvious, I know. I think the key here is not pulling out War and Peace by Tolstoy because for me that is a work to savor and study. It should be something with great language and pace, anything by Dickens, Rowling, Lewis, and the like. Once I hear a voice of a particular author in their writing it helps me jump back into mine.
Quiet Time – When I can steal some time for myself to merely think and gain perspective instead of being a human machine fulfilling task after task it helps me take a breath, relax, and refocus. This time is best in the mornings and late at night when my wife and children are in bed. Also, there is a park nearby my work that is wooded with walking trails and a nice vigorous walk awakens the writer in me.
Reading Blogs – I follow several blogs and many of them are located on my blogroll. Being involved in the writing community is important, and hearing what my cyber writing friends have to say is always beneficial. Also, seeing people putting up content constantly is a friendly rub of motivation to get out there and produce myself.
Talking with Other Writers – I have a scheduled night each week that I use for writing, though it changes from time to time, it is nice to meet regularly with Josh. Also, when I catch up with fellow Weaklings, Andrew and Matthew, it’s helpful as well.
Reading Books on Writing – When you are trying to do anything in life, travel across Europe, buying a car, starting a degree, it is always good to read books by people who have accomplished it. It reveals that finishing is possible, and perhaps some insightful tips along the way.
But what about you writer? What have you done lately that has put you into the writing mood? Because, if you are searching for motivation, you should probably do that before getting to your writing device.