Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Motivation Part Two: The Hunt
The Hunt for motivation is something that I'm not sure many people think about. A lot of writers think that motivation comes to them, that it knocks on the door and asks you to buy. That's not the way it is. Motivation is the great white whale ghosting through the sea, driving sailors and storytellers mad. It is elusive and slippery and harder to catch than a buttered cat.
But fear not, noble story-spinners. There is a way. That cat can be captured. In fact, there are many ways and methods, and each person has a different way of sorting things out. Here are four things that help me:
1. Go for a Run
And if you don't run, do something else to get the blood flowing. Hell, do jumping jacks, sing at the top of your lungs while shadowboxing bad actors on TV, I don't care. Blood circulation stimulates every feel good sensor that exists in your body. The better you feel, the more likely you'll want to work on something creative.
2. Dream a Little
Not too much, though. Staying grounded (a post for another day) is an important part of being a writer. But if we don't dream, then we don't create. Imagine the end product: Your novel on a freaking shelf in Barnes & Noble. Your screenplay sitting on Spielberg's desk. Then, understand that it won't get there by itself, and that you're the only pen-wielder who can carve that hunk of story into shape. If you have the end goal in mind, it can make the journey there a little bit easier.
3. Set Goals and Consequences
THIS. If you ignore everything else I say, don't ignore this! Set reasonable, yet challenging goals and create consequences if you don't meet your goals. With a good goal in mind, it's easier to focus and easier to let the motivation and will flow freely. And listen to this, the consequences you set actually have to be really unappealing. Something that you absolutely do not want to do. Otherwise, what's the point? Be responsible and hold yourself accountable. I guarantee that you'll be feeling a lot more motivated than you were before.
4. Sit Down and Write
Honestly, this is my modus operandi. Don't want to write? DO IT ANYWAY. Don't want to edit? DO IT ANYWAY. Don't have time? MAKE TIME. This is the simplest rule. I often hear people say, "It isn't that easy." That's a lie. It is that easy. Find the will, find the drive, put away the controller or cookbook or action figures and sit your ass down and write! And then think about Rule #2. No one is going to achieve that dream but you. Hop to it.
These are just a few things that I've found help me to get motivated, or to help me sit down and write every single day. There are some days when I really just don't feel like it. And you know what? I sit down and do it anyway, even if it's for ten minutes. But I'm not everyone. As my writing group lovingly calls me, I'm a machine. Jamie the Machine. I like it.
What helps you get motivated? How you do battle the days that motivation just can't be found?