Motivate Yourself to Write – How I Did It

motivate yourself to writeWhen you embark as a writer, one of your first and earliest challenges is: how do I make myself actually sit down and write? We have no boss, no time-clock, no paycheck to motivate us, and we have to fit it into our already busy lives earning a living, caring for family, etc. How do you motivate yourself to write?

Get Inspired

Do you remember when you first got that great idea? You were so excited and writing from an inspired idea charges your batteries like nothing else – it’s fun!

Working from the energy of inspiration will help you a lot. Do whatever you need to get back into that inspired place again, whether it’s reading what you’ve written so far, brainstorming over your idea, meditating on it, talking to someone who is equally excited about it. I don’t suggest talking about it too much, however, as you don’t want all that inspired energy to dissipate in just talking about your idea. But if you have a close friend or two who loves your idea as much as you do, discuss it with them and let their enthusiasm keep you going.

Looking for inspiration? When I decided I wanted to write a novel, I asked and prayed for an inspired idea. Next morning I awoke with the first few sentences in my head – my life has never been the same.

Get Structure

Sometimes a little structure goes a long way. To motivate yourself to write is often as simple as building a daily or weekly habit – modifying your schedule and putting it in as an appointment. Keep this appointment. Some people like to make themselves write every day – they’ll make a goal of one sentence a day (which usually leads to many more sentences), or one hour a day, or 1,000 words a day or week. You can start small like 15 minutes a day – again, it usually leads to much more. Or maybe you’ll set aside one or two days or evenings a week to work at your writing desk.

Getting started is the biggest hurdle. Setting even a tiny goal like those above gets you past this hurdle and into your writing groove.

Other habits you may want to build and incorporate:

  • Spend time writing in your personal journal each day. Once you start doing this you’ll see just how cathartic and fulfilling daily writing is.
  • One writer I know finishes the previous day’s writing mid-sentence, so that he can pick up on that same thought immediately next day to transition back into writing mode.
  • Build “getting ready to write” rituals to help you get into writing mode. This may be just making yourself a coffee, or meditating or brainstorming briefly before writing.
  • Go somewhere to write, like a coffee shop. This will minimize distractions at home and help you to focus.
  • Participate in local or virtual writing groups and aids, like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). These provide awesome structure that is not solely reliant on you.

Get Accomplices

Writing with a group is a surefire way to keep you motivated. Try out several local writing groups to see which one is the best fit for you. I tried one at first, which I liked, but their focus was not on getting our novels done – what I needed. I found another group on Meetup, they meet every other Monday night and the focus is getting our novels finished – we write and submit around 2,000 words a week in that group. The feedback is amazing and I was able to grow as a writer and finish my first novel (after around ten years of on and off writing).

Take advantage of online virtual groups like NaNoWriMo as well. Besides the big writing month every November, Camp NaNoWriMo hosts several virtual writing camps throughout the year to help you reach whatever writing goal you set. I used these camps to set hourly monthly goals for revising and editing my novel.

Know Yourself

Everyone is unique, and what works for one will not work for another. Are you an early morning person? Set your daily writing appointment for early morning. Night person? Set it for night-time. Are you more motivated to write after a brisk walk outside? Does it help you to study a book about the craft of writing? Do you need to meet up with another writer to write together once a week? Or have a close friend hold you accountable to your goals? Are you motivated by a chart where you can add shiny stars each day you meet your writing goal?

Figure out what makes you tick, which tools and tricks motivate you, and use them – use your own personality quirks – to your best advantage. Outsmart yourself.

Get the Ball Rolling

Though it’s often hard at first to get into the regular habit of writing, once you master this and write consistently, you will discover how much fun it is. The ball will get rolling and then it’s easy – you find yourself writing on a consistent basis and getting your work done. You may have setbacks here or there, but you’ll quickly pick it back up again. This is one habit that once you master it, it becomes easy – like riding a bike.

And hopefully soon you’ll start making money from your writing – the best motivator of all.

What tricks have helped motivate you to write? I’d love to hear them – please comment below.

 

 

 

 

Receiving Inspiration and NaNoWriMo Saves the Day

I learned that several famous authors received their original ideas by inspiration – from a dream or the like. So, many years ago, I prayed to receive an inspiration for a novel. The next morning I woke up with the first couple of sentences in my head, I saw it clearly: “Alpha, first letter of the Greek alphabet…Hello, my name is Alpha, I am trapped, please help me…”  Alpha reached out to me from the ether and told me of her plight.

So I received a tiny germ of an idea, just the first few sentences (I’m not including it all here since I don’t want to give the story away). The idea fascinated me, captured my imagination, sent a thrill through me. What will happen to Alpha? What happens in my story? What is Alpha’s story? I knew the book was like an old encyclopedeia with alchemical terms, like a Potions Class from Hogwarts. This novel is my answer to a deep desire to attend Hogwarts.

Thus began my journey as I worked on my first novel, on and off, for many years. It required a lot of research, which I love to do. I struggled the most with finding consistent time to make myself work on it – the first challenge of all writers. I was also running a business, then started a second, and raising four teenagers. My auburn hair began to gray.

But I continued working on my novel off and on for several years, spending the bulk of my time doing historical research and learning alchemy myself.

Then I met full-time author Susanne Lambdin at GalaxyFest and attended her writing class. I shared my story idea with her and she became so excited she offered to write the blurb on the back and connect me with her book reviewers and network. Her excitement acted as a catalyst, getting me fired up about my story again and finally figuring out how to work on it consistently.

I started participating in the various NaNoWriMo goals throughout the year (National Novel Writing Month plus their virtual writing camps) and joined a more aggressive local writer’s group. They meet every other Monday night to give feedback on each other’s works, to learn the craft of novel-writing, and to push each other to write at least 2,000 words a week and get our books done. I was encouraged to stop researching and get the writing done – the research can continue alongside the writing. I had been stuck in the research hole for a long time so this was what I needed.

I got serious with my writing and spent a year finishing the novel. Whew – I thought the main work was done. I was wrong. It took me two years of working on it steadily to revise and edit. I learned so much.

Finally in June of 2018, I finished my novel and kept dancing all day. I’m now Encyclopedeia Magica Volume 1 Alchemyquerying it out and one agent is reading it!

It’s called Encyclopedeia Magica: Volume 1 – Alchemy.

Women Writers Block – Help for both Men and Women

Both men and women get writers block sometimes. It just happens. Here’s an write drunk edit soberaccidental method I came across to help writers blocks. It greatly helped me as a woman but I suggest it will help any writer.

DISCLAIMER: Some people should never drink. Check with your doctor and use your own discretion. This is not intended to be medical advice and I am not a doctor. By reading this post you hold me harmless from any negative consequences from using this writers block help.

Writers Block Help

I was registering for my very first writer’s conference. I’d won a partial scholarship so was able to go this year – I was so excited.

One of the extra sessions they offered was called “Write Drunk; Edit Sober.” They were going to meet in a bar and enjoy a beer flight while writing to a prompt given at the session. Next morning they would meet in a conference room, sober, to edit their creations.

Naturally it cost extra to attend this session, so I wasn’t able to participate in it at the conference.

Try it at Home

But I didn’t let that stop me. I was working furiously on my first novel, trying to get it done on time for the conference.

Then I ran smack into a writers block. Help!

Well, I thought, I can’t attend the class, but I could certainly try this technique at home. Why not?

Unexpected Results curing Writers Blocks Writing Drunk

I set aside a day, I tend to write in the mornings. That’s right – uh oh.

I’m a lightweight so a couple of glasses of champagne and I was beautifully buzzed.

I opened a new page and just started writing, additional material I needed for my novel.

I was in the flow, felt really great, and completely unexpected things came out – a direction and ideas I’d never intended to go with my novel, but it was flowing and I felt great. It all just poured out. I sensed that the writing was really good, too, but since I was a little drunk I knew I couldn’t trust my judgment just then.

So I got in a wonderful writing session, filling several pages. When finished I no longer wanted to be drunk. Uh-oh! It took me quite a few hours and lots of coffee to come back down. I wished I could just flip a switch and stop being tipsy immediately.

I can’t do this on a regular basis, especially not in the mornings!

Tip: Only use this technique sparingly, and only in the evenings or late in the day, when you have no other obligations and will not be driving.

Edit Sober

Next day I looked at my new material. I was right, it was really good! Goodness, I’m a gifted writer when I’m a little drunk!

An exciting new development was created for my novel. I edited and fit into my book and it worked seamlessly.

Men & Women Writers Block Aid

Since then I’ve used this technique a couple more times, making sure to do it in the evening with no upcoming obligations. I use it sparingly, of course, but I did buy my own special Lavender Gin just for this purpose.

Later I was chatting with one of the leaders of the writer’s group who hosts the “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” writing night once a month. I shared how this technique has helped me a lot.

“You’re not supposed to really get drunk, that’s just an expression – a quote,” she said.

Uh oh.

 

 

 

 

About Me

Welcome to my author site! Here you’ll have the latest on my published works plus tips on the writing life and miscellany from my weird mind and journey.

From Mom to Mermaid to Writer

I love historical medieval re-enactment and costuming. I raised four kids, homeschooling them part of the time, making many costumes for them over the years. As they got older I founded two mermaid businesses – it was great fun telling people that I’m a mermaid. Mermaid swimming is the most amazing experience ever. I enjoyed the challenge of creating a costume that can function in water.Mermaid Jerilyn

I was active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in my 20s, then recently got into larping (Live Action Role Play). Costumes + adventure! I participate in both our Middle Earth-style larp (elves, hobbits, dwarves, etc.) and in our post-apocalyptic larp (zombies!). I dream of attending the Hogwarts-inspired larps one day. I lost 20 lbs the summer I started larping – it’s my fitness program.

Through all this time I wrote and published several articles in magazines and volunteered in a historical writing project. I’ve spent the last several years working on my first novel off and on, finally finishing in 2018. I’ve been studying the craft of novel-writing and I love every part of it.

The Challenging Life of a Writer

Transitioning to full-time writing is a great adventure. I hope to share with you my journey, my struggles, triumphs and tips. Let’s help each other on this unique writing path – it is unlike any other.

Keep up with Me

This site is to keep you informed of my own published works and to help each other along the way of making it as a writer. Join our writing community here – we can all use an encouraging word or idea now and again. And share our own progress in our writing projects.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Jerilyn zombie larp

Jerilyn Winstead

www.JerilynWinstead.com

www.acoffeecat.com