The subject matter of your writing project is outstanding. Most of the research is complete. A working outline lives a life of its own in your head. In your mind, the whole piece is nearly written. You talk it, breath it, eat it, sleep it.
But there’s a dark side hidden from view. A look into your computer files reveals the sobering truth. You have virtually no writing done for the project. A few snippets of random inspiration are all that exist.
You have no lack of passion for the subject. Nor is there a shortage of ability to write well. The topic is second nature to you now. So, what’s the problem?
Motivation & How It Works
In the writer’s world, motivation is what causes you to write. It is the fuel that powers the engine of your creativity. It drives you to get serious, to get the words out, to tell your story. Motivation facilitates that process all along the way.
Motivation’s purpose and goal is to lead you to accomplish your writing goal successfully. It does so by constantly reminding you of your why. With each passing day, its voice can be heard in your heart, mind, and soul moving you on to that finish line.
When left free to operate in full strength, motivation is a powerful force indeed. It has the ability to keep you up all night writing with drive and purpose. It wakes you up in the wee hours. Motivation takes you away from all the familiar daily activities at times. It’s purpose in every situation is to make you create that specific piece.
Motivation: Nurturing Your Why
So, you’ve more than likely experienced strong motivation at some point in your life. And if you’ve been interested in writing very long, I’m certain you have a topic—a pet project—that brings you great excitement.
Therefore, the next logical question is this: what’s the status of that piece? In talking to and working with many people through the years, I find it interesting that so many lose touch with that motivation. Their stories, that book they want to write, the blog they talk about starting all lie abandoned.
Motivation, even as strong as it can be at times, must be fed and respected. Sadly, it is quite possible for you to so strongly override its voice and leading that it falls silent. Your arguments with it eventually win out, and you lose. Your project is stalled, and if you don’t do something, it dies unwritten.
How do I nurture my why? That’s a great question! I’m glad you asked. I use a 3-step process for maintaining my why in good condition, fully functional.
- Identify your why
- Visit your why
- Obey your why
Identify your why.
Before you can do anything with it, you have to know what your why is. Therefore, in terms of your writing project, what is your purpose for writing it? What do you expect it to do?
Are you writing it to “save the world?” To put valuable information into the hands of a targeted audience? To put some money into your pocket? What great results do you expect to come from this work?
Take the time to consider this carefully and honestly. Write down your why and keep it where you can see it all the time. Doing so is a critical part of protecting your project. It is a form of insurance almost guaranteeing the completion of the writing. And it holds you accountable in times of pressure, stress, and overwhelm.
Visit your why.
To have a reason for doing something (your why), but never giving it another serious thought is not helpful. The whole purpose in identifying why you want to write that project is to keep you focused on writing regularly and completing it.
In theory it is quite simple and clear. Determine why you want to write that piece, then let that purpose be the driving force to keep you writing through to completion. Ah, theories…ya gotta love ‘em! Alas, we need some practical application, too.
Therefore, it helps you immensely to visit your why every day. Write it on a 3 x 5 card and post it where you see it daily. Bathroom mirror, fridge door, steering wheel—put it in those places that work best for you.
Spend a bit of time with it each day. Talk with it. Listen to it. What’s it telling you? Where’s the fire of inspiration? What are you doing with this project?
Obey your why.
Motivation is truly all about your why. When you know what your purpose is and you keep it before you constantly, the next step is to obey. Your why always demands action.
Your why is speaking to you all the time. It tells you to write right now. It says things like:
- Clear your schedule
- Turn off the TV
- Get the first chapter finished
- Write that blog post
- Interview so-and-so
Whatever your motivation is leading you to do, just do it. Don’t delay. How amazing will you feel when the project is completed? How exciting will that first book signing be? See your blog being successful and achieving its purpose. See the desired outcome and take action toward it!
Motivation & Distraction
As powerful as your why is, it does have its own Achilles’ heel. Whether or not motivation can be totally and permanently destroyed is best left open to debate. But it is capable of being shut down. It’s voice can be hushed. Your writing can be completely stopped.
Both the good news and the bad news are this: it’s up to you. You have the final say in whether or not motivation remains active in your life. No one else has that power in your life unless you turn it over to them. (I’m putting a whole post together about this!)
Your why has a voice of its own, and you recognize it. But sadly, you’ve learned to ignore it. Distractions come to draw you away into their own chaos. If you don’t intimately know your why, if you’re not daily looking at it and listening to it, and if you’re not taking consistent action toward it, distractions of any kind shut down motivation.
I shared with you before about common distractions that haunt writers and how to deal with them. In the future, I will share about some different kinds of distractions and how you can put safeguards in place to protect your motivation and keep your writing project on track.
I hope you gained some personal insight about your own why from this post. Not everyone will take the time to do what this post recommends, but I hope you do. So many people, even writers, live in a big hurry. Some don’t want to take the time to do the little things that are so big in their ability to keep them on track and move them forward.
Don’t be one of those who continues to try to muddle through without taking a close look at your motivation and your why. The little bit of time required provides an untold payoff of benefits to the diligent!
Take this information to heart, then get out there and create something great this week!
Thank you & God Bless!