Shelley Widhalm

The Motivation Struggle

In Frustration, Motivation, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on December 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

Motivation is like an oil slick – pretty on the surface, but it can catch you off guard if not taken seriously.

As a writer, I constantly struggle with finding and sustaining my motivation unless I’m involved in a project. When I’m writing a novel or working on a short story, I follow a schedule and get my butt in the chair, and I write.

I don’t churn the excuses, at least when I have a direction and a goal that are integral to being motivated.

When I don’t have that direction, I get lost in my desire to write without control of where, when, how and what. I may have a general objective of wanting to write, but it’s not enough. I let life get in the way, like my 9-to-5 job, sleeping, eating, reading and seeing friends.

I am not smart enough to think 15 minutes is enough to create.

I want a block of time that is two hours or more, believing that like a runner setting her pace, I can’t sprint through words. Plus, I don’t want to be tired or hungry, and I believe that my house has to be clean. Excuses, I know.

To recharge my motivation batteries, so to speak, I try the following:

  • Set a schedule and, if I can’t carry out a writing session, readjust.
  • Mark down the hours I work to acknowledge what I’ve accomplished.
  • Notice what is around me that I find inspiring, such as how leaves sound on pavement or the touch of winter air on the skin.
  • Try to find spaces of time and place during the day that can be used for writing, even if it is a line or two.
  • Don’t be afraid to write, and don’t allow for excuses not to write.

Even though I know these things, I sometimes let a bad mood, being tired or working long hours become a roadblock.

I forget that I have to make writing a daily dose that without which I notice my energy slip away. I need that goal in front of my face as a constant reminder that there is a reason I write: I love to do it. I know this to be true when I am writing, not when I am thinking about it, avoiding it or wondering when I can do it.

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  1. . . . written w/great clarity of purpose. i especially love that you take time to listen to the sound of leaves on the sidewalk. determination and an appreciation for life’s sweet details is a nigh unbeatable combination.

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