Weekly Writing Challenge: Make a Motivational List

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on November 5, 2007 in Productivity & Organization
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It's not always easy to stay motivated as a writer, while at other times the words seem to just flow naturally. How can you harness that kind of motivation to pull a little bit of it up whenever you need it? A motivational list may help.

This week, create your own motivational list. It doesn't matter whether you type it up, write it in a notebook or journal, slap a short list on a sticky note to your monitor, or put it on the white board on your wall.

Just make a list of the things you love about writing... remind yourself why you write in the first place, why you need to just sit down and get the words out, and more importantly why you enjoy it. We sometimes forget those things when we're not in a "writing mood." Here are a few of my motivations to give you some ideas:

  • I always feel accomplished when I've created something.
  • I know that working hard in the kind of work I do will someday allow me to stay home when I have children.
  • My boyfriend has an insane work schedule that's highly inflexible. I know that by getting my writing done whether I want to or not at the moment, it allows me to be very flexible with my schedule so we can deal with things we need to deal with (whether it's house hunting to just spending time together).
  • Writing relaxes me, because I generally only write on topics that I know and enjoy.
  • I like being able to share my areas of expertise with others and to network with others sharing my interests, which is a big motivational factor in making me blog when I (often) don't really feel like it... like my non-blogging mood today. ;)
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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4 Comments

  1. Gauhar November 6, 2007 Reply

    I am sure you will agree, it is really very difficult to stay motivated for a long time when you are not really having great success. In my opinion, Success is the Biggest motivator.

    I liked your list of motivations, especially the “I always feel accomplished when I’ve created something.”

    Thats so true for most people. A feeling that you’ve created something useful, a sense of accomplishment, is what matters the most. It gives you a psychological boost, an emotional push…

    And you have a sense of accomplishment when visitors comment on your blog posts… :-) Or when you earn money…

    What do you think? How do you keep up your motivation? i always loose interest in my work, and start another project before completing the first one. So, in the end, I have numerous projects, but noe of them completed.

  2. Melissa Donovan November 6, 2007 Reply

    What a great exercise. Now, if only I can find the time to sit down and write that list! First on it will be blog surfing.

    -Melissa Donovan
    Writing for Writers

  3. latoya November 8, 2007 Reply

    I like the fact that Jenn’s #1 motivator (not sure if her list was in a particular order) was creating something. It wasn’t that she’d made money or that her page rank increased, but something as simple as starting out with nothing and ending up with something. I think all writers must have and remember their unadulterated love for writing. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose interest.

  4. Jenn November 8, 2007 Reply

    @Gauher – I certainly do lose motivation sometimes. I’m also big on starting new projects (started two new blogs very recently actually). :) Instead of looking at them as a substitute necessarily, I look at them as an addition to the mix, and I go back to other projects after taking a break. If I find that I truly can’t stay interested in a project, I either sell the site (if it’s a site), revamp the project, or simply let it go to spend time on a more productive (and interesting) project. Being in business you have to understand up front that not every project will be a success. All you can do is pick up and move onto something else until you find the perfect mix for you. :)

    @Melissa – Glad to hear you’ll be starting a list. :) It really can help to remind you of why you love what you’re doing when it starts to feel like all work and no fun. :)

    @Latoya – Yeah, money’s definitely a motivating factor, so I’m actually surprised that it didn’t even come to mind when I wrote up that list. lol :) It’s far from the biggest though. I’ve made lots of money in jobs I’ve hated, and wouldn’t go back in a million years. Starting my own work was a constant struggle financially in the beginning, and it really was just the passion that made me stick with it through the rougher patches to build something in the long run. With me, I literally started with nothing. I didn’t spend a cent at first when starting my business, and grew it into a full-time income stream relatively quickly. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment with that as a whole, as well as individual projects. If I didn’t have that, I may have just given in early to the people who said I couldn’t do it. Nothing feels better than pushing through a project just to prove someone else wrong (and know that I’m able to do something they didn’t expect).

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