13 August 2010

Motivational Friday: What's my motivation?

When designated to write about this topic, I could only think of the Pepsi commercial where a group of individuals are acting out a sketch. At the end of the ad, one actor stops, comes out of character and looks to the others saying, "What's my motivation?" Although the ad is hilarious, it brings up a very real issue that is prevalent throughout every creative professional's career. What is my motivation? Some techniques that help me get motivated are as follows:
  1. Set some goals and stick to them. The best way to motivate oneself is to be consistent and determined to write.
  2. Designate a time of day that is set aside for writing. For Hart, it is the bath in the evening. For myself, it is after 9:00 pm as my children are in bed and am less likely to be interrupted with the incessant "Mom, Mommy, Mami, etc."
  3. An easy way to set aside a block of time for writing is by using a timer, set for an hour and then take a break when the hour is done (get a snack, stretch, walk around, etc.). Once break time is over, get back to writing.
  4. Read magazines, news articles or blogs on writing. These often will give very useful tips on how to not only motivate yourself but your peers as well.
  5. If monotony is the problem, change something. Change location, writing habits, switch to a different pen or try writing in a notebook instead of a computer or laptop.
  6. Try to remove all distractions. My bane is Facebook Bejeweled Blitz. For you it may be the phone or any site on the internet (the omnipresent procrastinating tool).
  7. Make outlines and create deadlines for the project. This will keep you on track and the outlines are especially useful during those times of writer's block.
  8. When all else fails, be like the Nike ad: JUST DO IT! Take a couple of deep breaths and just write. Do a free write (in the classroom we call this a quick write) where you jot down anything that comes to mind, whether it has to do with your work in progress or not. Just write.

What are some techniques that work for you? We, at the Burrow, definitely want to know "What's your motivation?"

First Image courtesy of : Teacher's Education

Second Image courtesy of: Sticking the Boot In


JournoMich said...

My motivation? I am inspired by everything around me, but sometimes nothing. It really depends on what hits me.

And maybe this is why my writing is so irregular. Maybe I need to set aside times to be inspired! And have a schedule and...Well, there are lots of things i could change.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Music motivates me.

Deb and Barbara said...

I set aside time. This used to be really hard for me, but now I've gotten so used to it, it just comes naturally (like eating lunch). If I'm stuck, I walk the dog. Or go for a bike ride. I told Deb once about some writing I'd done and she asked me, "How do you find the time?" and I said, "I make the time." (which sounds kinda pompous or something, but did have a bit of an epiphany-feel in the moment!) That's it in a nutshell. Oh, and I write no matter how "motivated" I feel. Sometimes it's dreck, but often something good comes.


Hart Johnson said...

Barbara said the HOW that applies a lot to me, too... every day... maybe a TOTAL of a dozen exceptions all year long. The motivation of it is working out the timeline... if I break the big goal into baby steps and then do my wonky math nerd thing, I calculate how long until I'm done and it is like caffeine for the mojo... "seriously?! Two chapters a week and I can have this book finished in another month?!" It keeps me from slacking or lying to myself about what I'm getting done. I still need to work this out on the editing and typing.

The internet is very BAD for me accomplishing much.

Unknown said...


I am also inspired by my surroundings. I love to write in the park, on a nice breezy day, overlooking the harbor with a panoramic view of the city skyline.

However, on the days that I am home, it is really difficult to concentrate on writing, especially with all the distractions.

Unknown said...


You know, I have a very large music collection but I never play any music while writing. I think I may try this. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Deb and Barbara,

I suppose once you make writing a habit, like Hart mentioned in her motivational blog, it becomes increasingly easier. Interesting.

Unknown said...


The internet is my downfall also. Especially Facebook and Bejeweled Blitz. I wonder if turning off my router will help. No access to the web may be a good motivator for me. I'll try it and let everyone know how that works out. :D

Jules said...

Sorry I was late in reading this but better late than never. Very good advise with many tips I plan on trying.

My inspiration? The moment. and music. I love music, the music must match the topic though, at least for me.:D
Trying To Get Over The Rainbow