Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Unmotivated

We've all had those days.  You know the ones when you just can't seem to get anything done.  You let yourself get distracted by Facebook, you pin 300 new things to Pinterest, you research how much air it really would take to kill someone with a syringe...just me?

So how are you supposed to break through the distractions, and get down to the work of writing?  Usually, lack of motivation means something isn't working in the story, which can be so frustrating. It can make the lack of motivation even worse.

Here are a couple of things that work for me when I've got the Don't-Wannas.

  1. #1k1hr on Twitter.  You can't always find someone game, but those times are rare.  If you use the hashtag, you'll usually find someone willing to go head-to-head with you.  You write for a solid hour, then report back on Twitter to compare word count.  The goal setting, competition, and companionship is usually more than enough to kickstart me.
  2. Ask your crit partner or beta reader to read your latest chapter or even a few paragraphs and ask them to tell you what they think.  Sometimes, I find my CP has just the right questions and ideas to get me moving again.
  3. Walk away from the computer.  The minute I stop trying, I feel more relaxed.  And usually, letting my mind wander leads me to a solution.
  4. Listen to music, especially if you're a playlister like me.  I have to have a handful of songs that are meaningful for my current project.  Listening to them usually gets me excited about what I'm working on.
  5. Write an outtake.  Sometimes, it's fun to just play with your characters in a scene that doesn't have anything to do with the plot.  Or even a scene you think might fit later.
  6. Fix the problem.  Usually, when I'm unmotivated to keep going, it's because I've made a mistake a while back.  I need to go back and get rid of whatever has led me to this point in the plot that is now stalled out.  Even if it means deleting thousands of words, it might be the only solution.
  7. Set a deadline.  There have been a few projects in my life that were a real bear to finish.  I just set myself an arbitrary date to get them done and force marched my way there.  It's not romantic, or even fun sometimes, but to me there is no better feeling than putting THE END on something that's been taking up my mental space.


Carla Luna Cullen said...

I'd also add one of mine: I take a break to run mindless errands(the kind that have to get done, like grocery shopping). I've gotten great inspiration when I've been in Wal-Mart (of all places!), and then I find myself frantically searching for a pen and paper to write my ideas down!

Sharkbytes said...

Those are good ideas. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My alphabet is at myqualityday.blogspot.com

Jess said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing.

A.D. Duling said...

Hi Liz,
I enjoyed your post and had to include your blog on my A.D.'s FAV 5 of the A to Z Challenge today! Yeppie!

You are #1! If you go there and do not see my post yet, do check back...I am working my way through to bonus #6.

HAve a wonderful Monday!

Liz Czukas said...

Thanks everybody! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

- Liz