Every language has its own collection of wise sayings that many people call idioms. Those phrases generally offer advice about how to live and also transfer some underlying ideas, principles and values of a given society. They usually have a meaning that goes beyond just the words that make them up. In the past, we have…
***The following article— “Motivate Yourself To Write!” by Ashley Elizabeth Wood is not an official Albanian Voices article. The views expressed in this article are entirely those of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Albanian Voices or any of its partner organizations.***
Non-writers usually think that writing is easy. No matter how unfounded this theory, I have heard comments from non-writers who believe the time it takes them to read something is the exact amount of time it took the writer to write it. Obviously, this isn’t the case. Writers may spend copious amounts of time writing, but usually have little to show for it. Occasional articles, possibly a published book or some blog postings is all most writers have as proof of their hard work. There is no easy way to show the many hours, months or possibly years of work that went into writing something.
Part of this is because writing is a difficult task. Period.
The other part of it is that writing (as well as art and music) requires you to turn yourself inside out to express your thoughts. You have to make yourself emotionally vulnerable and isolate yourself from others in order to find your voice and express it well. It can be depressing, frustrating and lonely.
To top it all off, most writers are unpaid for the majority of what they write. This is true even of successful, established and published writers who regularly give away writing on blogs and elsewhere. When you do work for “free,” people see it as more of a hobby or an unnecessary indulgence. Those people are wrong. Spending time on Twitter and writing free pieces for blogs is a calculated and well-planned career move.
No wonder writers often struggle with motivation. Faced with external and internal obstacles, how can writers motivate themselves to start writing and keep writing?
Find Your Voice and Motivation
What inspires you? Are you truly passionate about it? Enough to write about it for hours, days, months and maybe even years? Make sure you are writing about something that is truly interesting to you. People can see right through articles and essays that are forced.
No one is going to finish that book except you; you are the only one who can achieve your dreams. No one will write it for you and it isn’t going to write itself.
Create A Schedule and Deadlines
This is the most important thing you can do to motivate your writing. Create a deadline and stick to it. Try using a timer and write for exactly 90 minutes a day. If you feel extra motivated, repeat the process for another 90 minutes later in the day. Don’t work for more than 90 minutes at time without taking a break. Always take a break when you feel like you’re getting nowhere. Work out how much time you can dedicate to writing and when is best for you. Schedule it in your calendar. Stick to that schedule. If you have trouble sticking to it, watch this Joey Diaz video. Make it a part of your routine and keep at it until it becomes a true habit – just like exercising or eating right.
Remove Your Distractions
If you don’t know what they are, just try to write for a few days and you’ll figure it out pretty quick. Mine is housework. If the house is clean, I can work at home. If not, I know I’m going to procrastinate by doing the housework instead of the writing. When my house is dirty, I don’t work there. Don’t stay at home when there is laundry to do and dishes to be washed. Get out. Go to the library. Go to Starbucks. If it’s a nice day, and you don’t need WiFi, go to the park. Stay away from the TV and annoying people. If I decide to write at a time that a lot of my friends and family usually call or text me, I’ll put the phone in another room. Most of us don’t have a problem not checking our phones for 90 minutes when we are at the gym or sleeping. Why do we torture ourselves to answer phone calls when we are working? My advice is to just stay away from the phone for 90 minutes. Put it on silent and place it in another room or under a pillow.
Surround Yourself With Positive Energy (Online and Off)
Use Twitter to your advantage. Some writers or bloggers challenge each other to a word race. That ends up pushing both people to be better and write more than they would otherwise. Also, if you are vocal about what you’re writing on Twitter, you just might inspire someone else! One writer who inspires me is John Birmingham (@johnbirmingham on Twitter). What he does is referred to as “bookmarking”. You can do it in real life or you can do it online. Basically, you tell someone your goal and then update them regularly on your progress. It can be anyone, and it can also be done wherever you need someone specific to report to: text, phone, face-to-face, social media platforms, email, etc. The cool thing about this technique is that it is contagious. John Birmingham has inspired me to write and to let others know about my writing goals. When you publish what you are doing, you can inspire strangers to write too.
What does it matter if most of your writing is unpaid, misunderstood or intangible? Ignore people who say “no one reads anymore.” They do. We live in a world where the words we struggle to produce usually end up getting deleted anyway. We write for ourselves. For humanity. To preserve our culture, our thoughts and our views. No matter how hard it is, no one can write like you. You are special, so make your voice heard and start writing something today!
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