Last week we looked at Writing Vs Time Management, exploring how hard it can be to keep to a schedule when writing and what can be done to improve ourselves. Today we look at motivation in relation to writing, and specifically, how can we stay motivated?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines motivation as the following: the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.
We all get trapped in webs of distractions, but life teaches us quite clearly that those who succeed are the ones who persevere and don’t give up. Michael Jordan’s life mantra says,
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Writers fail too, not just basketball players. They can pour hours into a chapter or a character, to then realise they were going the wrong way. Obviously, in order to achieve this type of “failure” you must have written something to begin with! If you don’t start at all, there’s no danger you’ll fail! These setbacks can erode your confidence, but that is when motivation kicks in.
I had the pleasure of talking to Orlaith Brogan, founder of Naked Sales Coach. Orlaith is a transformational sales and business coach, so I took this opportunity to ask her how to find this motivation, when it comes to writing.
“How to stay motivated? It’s a tricky question especially for people who consider themselves to be naturally motivated and working in an industry that they love. Working as a sales and transformational coach I come across lots of people who want to increase their motivation and here are 3 quick tips to achieve this.
Tip 1 – The difference between shoulds and wants.
Many decide to do something and then struggle to get started or complete the task at hand. When you find yourself ‘stuck’ ask yourself: is this something I really want to do or something I feel I should be doing?
Shoulds are those things we think we have to do and are usually goals imposed (often inadvertently) by others. We should go to University, we should find a 9 -5, we should own our own home, we should find our chosen career easy. Should are crippling and we should assess all of the should in our lives and determine what our wants are.
Our wants are those things that we really want to do, be and have. We want a career that is fulfilling, we want to finish this story, we want to marry this person and create a home with them or we want to remain single. Discover what you really want to do and you will truly be motivated. Wants don’t have to be big decisions – I recommend you start with small wants and to grow your want muscle. What do you want to do today? What do you want to eat? Who do you want to spend time with? Start small and grow from there.
Tip 2 – Don’t mistake distraction for lack of motivation.
In a world full of smart phones, free wifi and constant noise it is easy to get distracted and fail to complete things. This distraction can have a negative impact on your motivation as you fail to get things done! You can be motivated and fail to complete tasks and the distractions round is often to blame. Rather that let the lack of progress eat into your confidence – look at what is distracting you.
How long do you spend on your phone? How long do you spend in a social media coma? How long do you spend wasting time? Remove all of the distractions (turn off your phone, turn off your Facebook) and dedicate some quality time to completing what you really want to do. Find a way of getting in the zone (for me it is listening to motivational video from YouTube) and focus on what needs to be done.
If you remove all distractions and you are still struggling to focus – you maybe have to ask yourself is this something I really want to do or feel I should do.
Tip 3 – Create your own signature system.
It is important that motivation becomes habit to achieve success and a good way to do this is to create your own success system. Something that motivates you and keeps you focused. Here is my system which I am happy for you to make your own. I called it AMAZE
A – Ask – What is it I need to do. Write down my goal in the positive tense. By the 31st of March 2016 I have finished the first draft of my book.
M – Measure – Is this something I really want to do or feel I should do? What is the driving force behind this?
A – Act – Take action. Create a detailed plan that will work for you and diarise it. How long every day will you dedicate to your goal? Put this in your diary and remove all distractions during this time.
Z – Zest – How can I protect my body and mind during this time of achievement. What foods will you need to eat? What exercise will you need to take? Will you meditate? A holistic approach to goal achievement and looking after both body and mind is essential.
E – Evolve – did I achieve my goal? Yes: what worked and how can I improve next time? No: what part of the process did I stick to and what improvements have I made that I can use next time.”
Hopefully, you will be able to make good use of these tips. In the end, remember why you sit there, hours after hours, day after day, creating worlds and stories out of nowhere – remember why you write.