Good afternoon OTMM readers! Today, I’m searching the net for the best motivational tactics employed by authors around the world. But first, let’s take a moment to discuss the role motivation plays in our writing. Particularly true with longer works, motivation is truly the key to success. We've all been there before. We begin a project that we feel has amazing potential, but as we progress through our project, little doubts begin creeping up in our minds: Is it good enough? Did I do the right thing? Another idea would be better. Not long after, we fizzle out and quit. The truth is that we're all going to experience doubt and other motivational issues. It’s how we cope with these issues that define who we are and what we're capable of.
Tactic 1: Piece out your Project
Looking at a project in its entirety can be a huge blow to our confidence. A longer work, whether it be fiction or not, takes an incredible amount of time to complete. When we look at the big picture, the 60,000+ words that lie ahead of us, the task seems overwhelming. That’s why we have to break the project up into smaller, more doable portions. Writing a novel? Break it up into chapters, dedicate a certain amount of time for writing each day, or set yourself a word limit. There are numerous ways we can tell our brain that a longer piece of work really isn't as bad as it seems. Also, think of it this way, if you dedicate 1 hour every evening to writing, it might take up to 6 months to finish a novel. (Shorter or longer depending on how efficient you are.) That may seem like a long time, but as days pass and you focus that one hour a day to writing, the next thing you know, the project has pulled itself together and is finished. What happens if you don’t spend that 1 hour writing? You’ll look back on the past 6 months and tell yourself, “Damn, if I would have simply followed that plan, I could be done by now.”
Tactic 2: Acknowledge moments of doubt and lack of focus
We begin projects with fire and passion. We work rigorously in an attempt to make it perfect, and at some point in time, something happens to dampen our mood and make us question ourselves. It’s sometimes difficult to notice when we begin to slip. Suddenly, we just don’t feel like working one day, or decide you need more time to plan. I have news for you: this is where it starts. One day off turns into two days off, and more time to plan sets the project back into its infant stages. My advice to you is to acknowledge these moments where you feel like slipping and get your butt in gear. I know it’s difficult, but longer projects need to become habit—something you simply do every day. Breaking that habit will only hurt your motivation and dedication to the project.
Tactic 3: Daydream
Spend your off time imagining what it’s going to be like when you finish the project. A lot of people would say, “Be realistic with your goals,” but I say, “Bullshit.” Don't be afraid to shoot for the starts or imagine what it would be like to reach your most out-of-reach goals. If you're like me, you have a wild imagination. I take events that have a very small percentage chance of ever happening—becoming a famous author, or creating a blog that’s featured all over the web—and blow them up into reachable goals. I figure, “if other people can do it, why can’t I,” and I believe that hard work and dedication is what gives us the best chance to get there. Now, this mindset also has some drawbacks. I'm also an extreme hypochondriac who, at one point or another, has been convinced that I’ve had some of the world’s most rare illnesses, but if you’re interested in that you can check out my article on authors and anxiety. Back to the point—don’t be afraid to dream in order to get yourself in gear!
Tactic 4: Motivational Quotes and Role Models
If you’re having trouble getting yourself motivated, use others instead. Other writers and bloggers can work as excellent role models if you let them. Simply look to an author you admire for the motivational boost you need. Can you replicate their success in your own, unique way? Not if you don’t try! Also, a quick Google search for motivational quotes can be good way to get yourself in the mood to be successful. I mean… it’s hard to argue with advice from the some of the most influential and successful people of all time, right?
Tactic 5: Evaluate the way you use your time.
This one is going to need some explaining so I’ll use myself as an example. I’m an avid gamer. I have been since I was very young. With the advancement of multiplayer games—games like WoW or League of Legends—people are spending more and more time in a virtual reality. When I consider the amount of time I’ve put into League of Legends, my heart breaks a little. Literally thousands of hours of my life have been spent slaying minions and taking down towers. BUT it’s not entirely a bad thing. I can use these thoughts as motivation moving forward. By knowing how I could be wasting my time doing something else, it’s easy to see that the work I really need to do is that much more important.
Tactic 6: Find an Accountability Buddy
Writing is a lonely existence. It really is. For most of us, we dwell on our own, imaginary worlds hoping that one day millions of others will be able to share it with us. For that reason, it’s difficult to hold yourself accountable for work that may never affect others. When you have a 9-5 day job, you know you HAVE to be at work at 9 a.m. There’s no way around it. But when there’s no one who is going to fire you for not getting that bit of text done, the need to work doesn’t feel so strong. Therefore, find a buddy who can motivate you to finish your projects and also find ways to humiliate you when you don’t.
There are many other ways to motivate yourself to do what you need to do. Whether you’re trying to write the next great American novel, or maybe lose a lot of weight, there’s many methods you can follow to achieve your goals. Now, it’s time to ignore my own advice and go play some League of Legends… I love that game… Don’t judge me.