Deadlines are dreaded things to most. A reminder that you only have so much time to complete a certain task. Said task often becomes more staggering as the deadline looms closer and you realize that you’ve been procrastinating. Dealing with deadlines takes time management skills, and often sacrifices of pleasure.
But for a writer, they can mean the difference between productivity, and sitting on your ass watching one of the many Criminal Minds marathons on TV.
My creative writing has dwindled recently. I find I have trouble with self-motivation. I’m at my most productive when someone is expecting something from me. They aren’t quite breathing down my neck. It’s more like they’re hiding in my closet, watching, making sure I’m being productive. I was a machine during school, because I knew something was expected of me.
With school done, I’m getting lazy. So, I decided to ask around: What tricks do you use to help motivate yourself?
These are some of the answers I got.
“I listen to music right before I write. Sometimes I pick songs that evoke specific emotions I want to convey in my writing. Other times I just listen to something that pumps me up–a stolen technique from gym-goers.” –Alexandra.
“Look at writing as work, and set a goal for a minimum of 500 words a day. They don’t even have to be good words, just words. For myself, I love to schedule things, so I write a bit when I first wake up and shortly before going to sleep.
But really, it all boils down to a simple formula I read somewhere (ok, it was Cracked, but whatever): how much time do you spend consuming what others have created versus how much time do you spend creating? When you look at it like that, you get a bit of perspective.”—Aaron.
“Stickers.” –Roya. (To elaborate, Roya sets a minimum goal for herself every day. Each day she reaches this goal, she puts a sticker on her calendar. As she keeps her schedule up, she increases the amount of writing she plans to do, while still keeping her minimum intact so she doesn’t get discouraged and break the chain. As she wants to have a sparkly sticker every day, it encourages her to churn out words, good or bad.)
For a while, I had my own sort of schedule. I’d sit down to write for two hours, and as a reward, I’d get to play video games. Sadly, I grew bored of the games I was playing, and in my wait for Thief, I found myself playing less and thus writing less. I’ve also find I am more motivated to write after group workshops, especially on my pieces. But my group workshops have been on hold for the past few weeks.
Do you have a self-motivating strategy? If you do, please share it! (And don’t hate me if I decide to try it out for myself.)