Motivation is a huge part of finding time to write. Without motivation, there is no prioritization. And when you can’t make writing a priority, it becomes far too easy to push off until tomorrow what you could have done today.
Motivation is different for everyone. What motivates me may not necessarily motivate you. Before you think that motivation must be easier when it’s something you like (as opposed to, say, making yourself exercise), let me assure you that is not always the case. Sometimes, even when it’s something you really want, motivation can be a little elusive, for all sorts of reasons: fear of failing, fear of succeeding, opportunity cost, etc.
So, how do you find your motivation?
Ask yourself why you want to write.
I believe this is a critical question that anyone who wants to write needs to answer. If your motivation for writing is to become rich and famous, preferably quickly and easily, then you will soon discover that your motivation will likely not pay out as richly, famously, quickly or easily as you would like. And when it doesn’t? Poof! No motivation.
But if your motivation is centered in something personal, something deep and meaningful to you, then writing becomes its own reward and that reward is much more instantaneous and achievable.
Figure out why you want to write — it’s ok to want to make a career of it, after all, who doesn’t want to do that? But you have to have a good grip on the Why in order to really leverage the What, When, and How.
Use the kaizen method. It works.
Kaizen is more than that annoying thing you were taught at work. It is simple wisdom that actually gives results.
The Kaizen method states that anyone — and I mean ANYONE — can do something for one minute. Once you do something for one minute, it becomes easier to give it just five more minutes. And then maybe ten more minutes. You get the idea.
It’s all about breaking inertia. Did you know that it takes more fuel for a rocket to leave the ground than it takes it to achieve orbit? Inertia is a bitch and it’s hard to break. It’s always easier to keep moving than it is to get moving. So by committing to a short writing session, you break the inertia of not writing and therefore make it easier to turn that five minutes into five hundred words.
Suck it up, buttercup. are you a writer or not?
Not to be harsh, but there it is. As long as you want to make excuses, you’ll find excuses wherever you look. Sometimes there are no magic tricks. Sometimes it’s just good, old-fashioned, hard-ass work. If you want to write, you will write. You can’t expect friends, family, or good old Catholic guilt to get you in front of the laptop every day. You have to do that for yourself.
Figuring out why you want to write is great — but you still have to sit down and do it.
Setting a timer for one minute is great — but you still have to make yourself do it.
Here’s an idea I use and maybe it will work for you. I have my goals on my bulletin board. Nice, big and bright where I can see them. Every day, I ask myself, “Did I move toward or away from my goals today?” The answer to that lies in my actions. Make yourself accountable to yourself. Not just your TODAY self, but your FUTURE self. Only you can make it happen. Or do I need to call you Buttercup again?
For more tips and hilarious discussion on finding time to write, give a listen to the most recent Method and Muse Podcast (It’s a Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Thing: Finding Time to Write). Remember it’s a process and we’re all — all of us — trying to figure out what works for us.