Motivation (aka "getting in the zone") - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-18-2007, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm currently at about 44,000 words in my first novel and have been having a really hard time focusing to write. I'm due in September so I'd love to get this finished before then (my original goal was by my birthday in February), but I think I need some tips on getting myself back in "the zone." I had gotten myself in the habit of writing at least one page every day (which often led to 3 or 4 once I got going), then put off writing last June to study for a dance teaching exam. I meant to start back up as soon as the exam was over and it just kept getting pushed back--my dancers were going to regionals in November, extra classes, then Christmas and birthdays, so now I'm halfway through January and have hardly written anything since last spring.

So what do you do to motivate yourself? I find myself WANTING to write, but when it comes to sitting down at the computer, I have no focus. I haven't been able to progress further into the story at all; most of the time, I go back and re-read what I have and add in little things throughout. Does having others keep track of your progress help? Do you hold yourself to a particular schedule or "writing time" each day? I know that come September, I'll be even less inspired to write, so now is my golden opportunity! My husband is my best and most helpful critic, but when I keep changing things earlier in the story instead of adding on to the end, it's hard to have him read through the changes because he has to start at the beginning every time to even see any sign of "progress." I need help!

Rachel, mama to Lucy, born 9.9.07, and Caroline, born 2.25.10!
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#2 of 6 Old 01-20-2007, 10:04 PM
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Oh, how I wish I had a good answer to this question! I still don't have the magic formula worked out for myself, but I've been doing a much better job at it the last few weeks. Here are some things I'm trying or have heard of from other writers:
  • Schedule a daily appointment with myself to write, and keep it! What's really helping right now is that my writing time is after dinner every day, so I worked out with DH that he will read during that time and I will write. So he's not wanting to do something together and tempting me out of my appointment. (I do enough of that on my own!)
  • Writing books for children is a lifelong dream of mine. I truly feel it's what I need to be doing with this life I've been given. So I try to set my intention every day after dinner. When I feel that voice starting up that's going to try to convince me to do something else like watch TV or check MDC or read, I ask myself: "What do I want to do with my life?" The answer usually doesn't come back as "watch TV" or "check MDC". Sometimes I lose the battle. But it's just something I need to get into the habit of doing. I find that when I write regularly, I'm much happier. It feeds my soul.
  • If you can make it a habit, you're golden. I've heard of some people not allowing themselves to brush their teeth in the morning until they've written something, anything. Even if it's just a sentence. (And as you said, usually once you get into it you end up writing more anyway.)
Nothing earth shattering there, but I hope something helps you in your journey!

And congratulations on your goal of finishing before you're due! I bet that will feel so great. Maybe you could try imagining how that will feel anytime you don't feel like writing?

Expecting #2 in May 2013!


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#3 of 6 Old 01-20-2007, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you! It's good to know that there are others out there like me. I tend to feel like such a lazy bum when, instead of writing when I have time in the morning, I spend it checking various message boards!

I managed to get myself going enough to get through half of what I currently have on Thursday and half on Friday to revise, re-edit, and get myself back into the story--which feels like a good start! My husband and I tried to set "writing time" in the evenings, but so far that hasn't worked out for us, so I'm returning to my attempts to write every morning before I head off to work. Even though I feel like I'll still write after the baby comes (I know what you mean about feeding the soul!), I don't want to keep pushing this particular effort further into the future and that's starting to present itself as a very real motivation to get my butt in gear! Plus, if I can get it published, that'd buy a whole lot of goodies for a new house and new baby... *starts planning shopping sprees*

Best of luck to you! My sister has always been interested in illustrating children's books, so if you ever need an artist, PM me and I'll put you in touch with her.

Rachel, mama to Lucy, born 9.9.07, and Caroline, born 2.25.10!
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#4 of 6 Old 02-12-2007, 08:39 PM
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I've always loved writing (even as a child) but as a teenager I started to stuggle with "getting in the zone" and ended up giving it up. Then, in my last year of high school, I took Writer's Craft, and it was amazing - I actually learned how to put myself in the zone!
The first thing I do is decide in advance that I am going to write, and try to sort of look forward to it, and keep in the back of my head all the things that I like about writing.
Then, when the time comes, I read for 5 minutes or so. I read something that I really enjoy, that inspires me, and that gets my brain going.
Next, I pull out a notebook, and just write. It can be about anything, but generally I pick a random word or phrase (ie bubble) and write something about it - it could be a short story, a song that it reminds me of, rambling, a memory the word reminds me of, just anything.
Yes, it does take me about 10 extra minutes or so, but when I've done those things I am in the zone, and I love that feeling.
Hope that helps you as much as it helps me!
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#5 of 6 Old 02-17-2007, 06:05 PM
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I struggle with this as well, usually I find it's because something is bothering me about my story, the only way I can get out of the "funk" is to work it out. Once it's worked out I get renewed energy about writing again. Is there something in your novel that you're just not feeling? Are you bored with it right now and maybe need to work out where you want to go? Maybe take a walk and think or lie down for awhile and "be" your characters and see if something comes to you. This usually works for me.

Great for nature studies!
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#6 of 6 Old 02-22-2007, 08:11 PM
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I don't know if these will help you, but hope you can get something out of them:
Having Trouble Writing?
Inspiration for Writers:

Besides the things in these articles, paying the bills is a huge motivator for me! Writing is my only income, so it's imperative that I do it . . . I like to eat, after all, and so will the baby! Oh, and DH doesn't exactly mind it either LOL!
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