How I write Part 2 (Motivation)

Once again this was originally published in July 2012.

Interesting to see the contrast of what was happening then and what actually happened. (The book wasn’t released until August 2015).

I guess the moral of the tale is stick to your deadlines.

Like most writers I suffer from lack of motivation or dare I say it, writer’s block. I enjoy writing and I have loads of ideas so why do I find it so hard to sit down and write that bestseller?

Part of it is the feeling that it is ‘work’. Enjoyable work admittedly but who would work if they didn’t have to? I find that writing is a little like exercise. I don’t particularly want to do it, when I start I sometimes quite enjoy it and once I’ve finished I get a great buzz especially if it has been a succesful session.

Despite what I’ve said above, perversely one of the best motivators for me is to treat it like real work. Setting targets is the key.

When I wrote Leg It! I had taken voluntary redundancy and knew I had a certain amount of cash to see me through about 9 months. I therefore had a deadline and set targets based on that. I would start my working day at 8, have my lunch at 1 and finish once I’d reached my daily target.

With the latest one I’ve had no deadlines and I’ve also had a full time job so the motivation has not been there. How can I solve this? Easy, set a deadline.

I’ve let this drag on and finally decided that I should aim to get the book out by Xmas. Partly for the Leg It! fans who have been nagging me and partly for the influx of new Kindle owners we will inevitably get at Xmas.

There’s a lot more to publishing a book than just getting the words on a page but that is phase 1. My target is 100,000 words by mid November, a convenient 5,000 words a week. Doesn’t sound a lot but when I’ve only done 10,000 since January it sounds quite daunting.

I’ve got my target, I’ve got my ideas notebook, what next?

Get comfortable, get your other tasks out of the way and settle down to write. I like to have music to help my writing. I could just blast it out of the docking station but I’ve recently taken to putting my headphones on and it seems to help me focus.

I managed 4,000 words yesterday and another 1,000 this morning. Target achieved.

The first 4,000 were easy but I ground to a halt. Something was nagging me about the story. I could always come back to it but it bothered me. I decided to walk away then this morning, whilst half asleep I came up with the solution, a sombrero! There’s not a problem in life that can’t be solved with a sombrero. I won’t spoil the story for you but this little idea got me out of bed and racing to my computer.

The words flowed and the 1,000 words were done in no time.

One thing I learnt when writing Leg It! was to resist the urge to get all of your good ideas down in one sitting. Always leave at least one good idea to the next day as it will get you started and the other ideas will flow.

Target setting is very much the stick approach but what about the carrot? Any good boss will tell you that you can’t improve performance with threats alone, there has to be some praise in there somewhere.

The life of a writer can be a lonely one and I can’t promise you will get much praise but one good review on Amazon or a mention on an online forum can be a massive boost. A quick look at the reviews or glance at the sales figures and I’m back on track.

If you’ve read Leg It! and enjoyed it, please leave a review, you will help this lazy author get over his writer’s block.


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