But what exactly is motivation? And do some people magically have it and some people not?
Here’s my definition of motivation – it’s the willingness to do something. It’s not the desire to do something; rather it is the willingness. Willingness is that energy that moves into action and action is what motivation is all about.
Some of you might be thinking you don’t have the discipline to accomplish your writing goals but I don’t think discipline is the issue. When you see someone who is disciplined in some activity (say exercise) what you are really observing is someone willing to act on a goal important to them. And when you repeatedly act on a goal of importance to you then not only does it become habit but you also get the reinforcement of satisfaction. You begin to feel good about yourself and that is a powerful pull to remain willing.
So if you have a writing goal (or two or three) for yourself then here are a few simple tips to get into the willingness zone:
1) Make sure whatever action you choose aligned with your goal is enjoyable to you. So as a writer that may involve getting inspired by reading a favorite piece of dialogue or even lighting a candle and doing some deep breathing and visualizing your scene unfolding. It may involve looking through family photos to pull in that perfect emotional connection for the memoir you are writing. Whatever it is make sure it is something that brings you pleasure – something you enjoy.
2) Have some external support. Tell your writing group about your goal – all support programs have that element of accountability to others and that is because we don’t accomplish anything on our own. You need support and someone to be accountable to. If you don’t yet have a writing group see if you can find one online – writing groups are great ways to keep yourself engaged and moving forward.
3) Find fun ways to track your progress. Make charts and put stickers on them. Send out weekly updates to your support team. Use social media to post fun pictures of your progress. Use your creativity to make the journey fun.
4) Give yourself a break! Focus on what you do rather than what you don’t do. One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to not let the slip-ups define you. Instead congratulate yourself for what you did accomplish.
When I was first exploring my desire to write, I had a hard time getting started. And it wasn’t until I just allowed myself to write one paragraph on a theme of interest to me that I was able to get going. And I found my motivation in having just one weekly writing assignment that kept my creativity open and my commitment to life as a writer on the front burner.
Most of all having a weekly writing assignment opened the pathway to the books I’ve created and the stories I yet want to tell. It has made my willingness to write a habit and a very fulfilling one.
You have poems yet to write, memories yet to share, stories yet to tell. Find your own motivation and share your glorious creative process with the world.