Motivation 101 for Writers

Video transcript with bonus content

 

 

 

You can’t stare at a blank page, You need to fill it up many times a day. Sometimes that seems impossible if you lack the motivation to do it.

Let’s talk about how to keep your motivation high. There are three basic methods of motivation. They are passive, external, and internal.

Passive Motivation

The passive method of motivation may be the most common and it’s also the most useless this form of getting the impulse to work. It is also known as, “Waiting for the Muse.”

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In olden times,  people thought ideas came from a creative spirit that Muse would speak to them. There was no guilt about words not appearing on the page it was the Muse’s fault for not speaking.

This passive method of motivation is strictly for the superstitious. If you wait for a voice to speak to you, you’ll probably be staring at a blank page for a long time.

Passive motivation is a major contributor to so-called “writer’s block.” Writers, especially the new ones, don’t understand how ideas come to them, so they rely on passive motivation. But too often it never comes as they expect and so they remain blocked.

External Motivation

Ever give your dog a treat as a reward for rolling-over? If so, you have a hint about the nature of external motivation.

Motivation 101 for WritersExternal motivation is when you give yourself a reward when you accomplish a certain writing goal like a predetermined work time or finishing a section or chapter. The usual external motivations or food perhaps an adult beverage or viewing the favorite TV show or movie.

The idea behind external motivation is that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The writing itself does not satisfy so you have to bribe yourself to complete your daily writing task.

External motivation is best for skinny people because you need an enormous number of motivators to complete a book.

Internal Motivation

In my view, internal motivation is the real deal. It requires a person to take a look within for their motivation.

You write for the joy of writing, not because you’re waiting for voices to speak or for a donut to call your name.

Also, too many writers believe the old wives tale that writing is a form of suffering. They have heard and believed the hoary old tales that you must sweat blood to get your story on the page.

The truth is, writing seems to be anguish only because they are filled with self-doubt and negative self-talk. Motivation is seated in the mind. Writers need to examine their own minds to get internal motivation.

You see, pleasure and pain receptors in your brain need to be adjusted. You depend on passive or external motivation because there is more pain in writing for you than there is pleasure.

Give yourself a large dose of pleasure to kill off the pain writers need to reset that pain pleasure balance. When you change the balance so that you get pleasure from writing, then you don’t need any other kind of motivation. Writing becomes the motivation for writing. Writing becomes your addiction.

Think Differently

How do you reprogram yourself? Through association. Associate good feelings, not rewards, with writing. Surround yourself with pleasurable fragrances, music, and images.

You don’t want hard rock ‘n roll or other distracting music, however. Your goal is to gently alter your brain neuro-receptors by releasing natural opioids and dopamine that automatically keep you motivated.

There is one other factor that will keep your internal motivation high. Turn off the negative self-talk in your brain. Whenever you become aware of it in your head, reach for an imaginary remote control and turn it off, just as you would use a real remote to turn off your TV. you can’t write well if your mind is competing with negative self-talk.

Try these tips to keep yourself naturally motivated. That will enable you to keep on writing with uninhibited freedom.

 

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