The Writer’s Life – Dealing with Low Motivation

Let me begin by saying that I love to write.  Most days I enjoy building worlds, creating unique characters and letting stories unfold.

Note that I said “Most days”.

There are times when I simply cannot get myself motivated to write.  Some might call it writer’s block, but not me.  For me it’s usually because I have too many things I want to write.  I kid you not, too much of a good thing can prove overwhelming.  That was the case the past 10 days or so.

I have no shortage of writing and projects on the go:  my fantasy novel rewrite, my Critters submissions, my Nano novel to plot, query letters to send out and the list goes on.  With that much to do you would think I would find the motivation to carve time out of my evenings (days are still claimed by work) to get things done.

Unfortunately, I found myself throwing my hands up in the air more often than not.  I kept telling myself “tomorrow”.  That was 10 days ago; a lot of tomorrows wasted.

During that time I had plenty of ideas to put down.  Directions for the rewrite that would make the story that much better, plot points for the Nano novel.  The problem was, I was only thinking about it.  I wasn’t getting anything done.  I wanted to be totally committed to writing or not at all.

This morning I decided I’d had enough.  No more stalling.  No more excuses.  I sat down before work and put all my ideas down on paper.  As I was jotting them down, surprise, surprise, more ideas came.  Before I knew what was happening, I had two pages of ideas written.

In a little less than 30 minutes I had written more than the previous 10 days.  Granted, none of the writing really moved my novel rewrite forward but it gave me more direction than I had in the past.  Now the book will be MUCH better than I had envisioned before.

Oh yeah, and I’m feeling motivated again.

I know that I could be further down the rewrite road but I’m actually glad I’m not.  I know if I hadn’t spent the time this morning I would be rehashing some old ideas.  Now I have new ideas to bring forward.  Still, that doesn’t really explain how I got past my motivation issue.

The answer is pretty simple.  I pushed all the anxieties I had about current and approaching projects and just wrote.  It didn’t matter what I wrote (although in this case the material is very useful for current and approaching projects), just that I put words to paper.

There have been days when I’ve been sad, or melancholy or angry and I haven’t felt like adding to my current projects.  That’s alright.  I should still sit down and describe how I’m feeling or talk about whatever thoughts are rattling around in my head.  That will still exercise my writing muscle and might even exorcise some of my motivational demons.

I’m not yet in a position where I have to rely on my writing for my monthly income, but I hope to get there some day.  If that does ever happen I have to remember that my writing output will directly affect my monthly income; I won’t be able to afford to have an unproductive day.  Now is the time to learn how to get past that and press on.

Good luck vanquishing your writing demons and bring on NanoWriMo!



  1. That’s it, exactly! You’ve just put my thoughts into words. I think we need to come up with a better term for it than “writer’s block.” Perhaps “writer’s flood?” Or “writer’s dam?” As in “My writer’s dam is acting up again!”

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