Monday, June 28, 2010

Simple Motivation Techniques

Let me apologize as I’m having the allergy attack from hell and can’t seem to wrap myself around the written word today.

Which leads me right into my topic…what’s a writer to do when they can’t write?

I’ve been recently asked that question by many writers and I’ll tell you exactly like I tell them: It depends what you’re writing and what the problem is.

First, if you’re ill, you just do the best you can. Since I have allergy days quite frequently in both the spring and the fall, I make sure my daily word count is exceeded so that I can make up for those days of the pounding head.

Now, if it’s because I can’t get my Muse going, that in itself is a completely different thing. There are a few simple techniques I use to try and get things flowing again. Here’s my list:

Listen to music – when nothing comes, I will sit down and listen to music as I attempt to write. Again, the type of music depends upon what I’m writing. Something classical just won’t do if I’m writing a battle scene so I make the music appropriate to what I’m doing.

Write anything – the day doesn’t always start good and I don’t always start on my story right away. Sometimes, the best I can do has nothing to do with what I’m writing. So I just write. Usually by the end of the second hour, I’m back on track for the story.

Plot a new story – I have a lot of series going and sometimes the best thing for me is to move away from the story I’m working on and start plotting the next one. For many of my stories, I am a pantser which means I just work it out in my head and sit down to write. However, when I’m working on a series I have to make sure that I don’t violate something I’ve previously done in the series. This also allows me to plan new and different things for the books.

Read – I can’t say this enough, read the genre that you write. If you’re doing urban fantasy, read urban fantasy, if you’re doing futuristic, read futuristic. You must know your market and you will never gain that knowledge unless you read the genre.

Take care of yourself – What I mean by this is get a massage, take a walk, talk to your kids, make love with your husband or significant other. It can’t all be about the writing because without you there would be no writing.

That’s’ about all I have today. Hope you get something from my ramblings.

See you all tomorrow!



  1. Hello and good morning.

    Your blog was just what I needed this morning! I have had a terrible time since my Mother passed away in late Feb. I just can't seem to get back into my writing. I know now I just need to sit down and start writing again even if they are just my daily thought - that should get me back on the right track! Have a great rest of the day!

  2. I'm feeling exactly this way today. I sat in front of my computer for two hours and couldn't even blog! Don't know why I feel so run down today.

  3. I have allergies and asthma, spring and fall. It can be hard to write with your head pounding and not being able to breath.

    Today its my back, but I found that when I go to that place where all writers go when they create their worlds that all my pain and discomforts go into the background, and I can write.


  4. Kelle B,

    I so understand your dilemma. My mother passed over 8 years ago but before she died, I gave up a lot of my writing to help my father care for her. It took quite a while to get back in the swing of things.

    It took my father telling me my mother would kick my butt for giving up my dream for me to finally get it. He tells me a lot just how proud he is that I've followed my life long dream.

    My advice to you steps...commit to one thing. Like writing a hundred words a day. Or sitting at your computer even if it's to look at a blank screen. It may take a while but eventually, something will pique your interest and you'll be writing more and more.

    Hope this helps!


  5. Everyone has those days, Author doesn't matter who you are. You should just plow through them the best you can and know tomorrow will be better. It's rare any more that allergies bother me more than one day in a row as I won't let them. LOL!

    Just take it easy and relax. Everyone deserves one of those as well.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  6. Janice,

    I am so with you on this one. As I've gotten older, the allergies flare up easier and if I sit too long my feet and back tell me I'm awful.

    But when I step into the world of my characters it's almost as if my own body doesn't exist. MOF I'll keep going and only when I try to get up will I realize I've been tuned into them for much too long. LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by!


  7. I can understand "those" types of days - especially when the allergies decide to masquerade as a cold (yep, quite a few times couldn't tell if it was one or the other the pesky buggers).

    When that - or writer's block or the zoo (as I call the characters) doesn't want to speak to me - one of several things happens:

    1. I do research.
    2. Write non-fiction.
    3. Keep up with reviewing (always fun).
    4. Read (the TBR stack is slowly being whittled down - though it seems to multiply exponentially as well).
    5. Since I'm a freelance proofreader, the proofreading helps in between the writing.
    6. Listen to music - which genre depends on mood, what I'm writing, whatever else may be happening, and/or a combination thereof.
    7. Cook.
    8. If any of the above (or a combination thereof) fails, then fall on the 'activity of last resort' - cleaning.

  8. Y. Bressani,

    Great list! I like it and it's specific to what you do as well, which is wonderful.

    Yup, allergies are bad like this week so far, I have a drippy nose and stuff head and this makes me wonder, cold or allergies. I may never know.

    Thanks for stopping by!