Posted: January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Writers out there.

  • What do you do to stay motivated?
  • How do you keep to your deadlines?
  • What does your writing space look like?

Writers always talk about “finding a muse” or being in the right frame of mind to write. There are countless tricks. Virginia Woolf recommends having a room of one’s own (and the money and time to write).  Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life advises to always have a pen and paper on hand.

For me, I have to surround myself with words. I read every day and the walls of my room are filled with quotes about writing, about reading, and about living life to the fullest. These quotes are on colored paper (I’m a visual person) to stimulate my thinking and get me motivated to start writing. I’ve found that I have to have a quiet place to work so I can hear the clacking of keys or the scrape of pen on paper to make me feel productive. If my roommate is mumbling medical jargon to herself–she’s a medical student–I’ll insert some headphones and play bouncy Irish music on Pandora to drown her out.

As for a muse, I try to remain aware of the “writer voice” in my head, which ultimately means I have to stifle my “writing critic brain.” Trying to produce quality content is difficult, but even more so, when you have constant self-criticism droning in your head. The “writing critic brain” is usually what keeps me from beginning to write.

Over breakfast this morning, my roommate and I were discussing what keeps writers motivated to start writing. For me, I like structure and a plan. I make lists and set goals. Without a self-imposed deadline, nothing gets done. I’m not like Douglas Adams who said, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” I keep to my deadlines because I always reward myself for reaching them…usually with coffee or chocolate. Having a schedule keeps me focused. I’ve also found that writing around a theme entices me to work because I’m completing pieces that contribute to a larger objective.

I’ve recently started waking up at 5 am, going for a half hour walk, get breakfast, and check my social media and email. By then, it’s 6ish. I start planning content to blog and by 8 am I’m headed off to my graduate assistant job where I have the freedom to write or do homework–homework that more often than not involves writing. On average, between planning content and actual physical writing, I work about 8 hours per day and 10-12 hours when grad school classes are in session.

I’m interested to hear what you do as a writer to keep yourself actively involved with your craft.

  1. Harliqueen says:

    I find my motivation comes quite easily if I’m writing something I love 🙂 Luckily I am in a position where I can write all day from home, which I know is a luxury most writers don’t have. But I also find that this can mean I get easily distracted! So I have to make sure I have done everything before I start to write: chores, food, etc. I can’t listen to music because I get lost in it 😀 But I do tend to have some sound such as youtube rain videos or something. Great post, I love seeing other’s writing processes.

  2. […] Grant writing consists of a strong needs statement. A needs statement is the mission and vision packed into a powerful punch. Your writing “needs statement” should encompass what you hope to accomplish with your words. Brandi Reissenweber of the Gotham Writers’ Workshop advises in “The Craft of a Plan” to think of writing in terms of short and long term goals. These must be measurable and easy to implement. You are your own boss in the writing process so you have to reassess and account for your goals. Reward your self and set up a schedule to keep your writing plan lasting a long time. These strategies work for me! See https://wordplay11.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/a-muse-ing/ […]

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