Motivation, where art thou?

Sometimes motivation is just really hard to find (as evidenced by the fact that I’ve had the beginnings of this post floating around since October). Life happens, you’re tired, you don’t feel inspired, and you think to yourself “I’ll write more some other day.”

And then that other day just doesn’t come, and it’s been weeks since you’ve written anything… (sigh)

I recently encountered an article on Grammarly that isn’t really about motivation per se, but I think it can help provide some motivation when your writing life so grievously lacks it. It’s called “6 Signs You’re a Good Writer (You Just Don’t Know It Yet)” and you should definitely check it out (link here).

The basic idea from the Grammarly article is that you’re probably already doing things that lead to good writing without even realizing it. Things about yourself that you just take for granted (such as a love for reading and for words, or a penchant for vivid daydreams) may actually be contributing to your writing life.

This may not be super earthshaking, but it made me think about the fact that I get stressed out about my writing at times because I think I’m not doing the “right” kind of writing or I’m not taking it “seriously” enough. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

I think sometimes the reason I have trouble finding motivation is that I think that everything has to be formed perfectly in my head before I start writing, or that something great has to come into being every time I put my pen to the page. And let’s face it, that is never going to happen. It can be tough to feel motivated to do something when I’ve already set the bar impossibly high for myself.

I’ve started to think about trying to incorporate more freewriting into my day, and not feel that everything I write has to have a purpose or mean something. If I just want to make a list of words that sound good together, I can. I may use it some other time and I may not. That’s okay.

I like to talk about how things seem to take shape in my head as I write, how things seem clearer to me at the end than at the beginning of a writing session. And a lot of the time, that is true. But if I start writing with the expectation that these things will happen, it’s a lot harder to get motivated, because I’m tired (or uninspired, or whatever it happens to be that day) and it’s hard for me to believe that anything good could come out of a mind that feels like a solid lump.

I’m going to try to remember that the little things are worth motivating myself for, too.



4 thoughts on “Motivation, where art thou?

  1. So relatable. I think many of us novice writers don’t understand all the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes behind a great piece of writing. For every one piece of great writing, the writer probably wrote dozens, perhaps a hundred, pieces of shoddy writing before it.

    • Haha that’s a good point, and it’s definitely the case sometimes. But at a certain point (at least for me) I get to the place where I’m just in a rut and if I could get myself out of it, then my mind would be ready to write….

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