Tips For Writers By Jackie Johansen Have you ever lost the motivation to write? You know what that feels like—projects wait to get started, they stall, or they go unfinished. Your head is filled with a fog, instead of the lightness of inspired ideas. I’ve been there. At times, I feel excited and in the flow — fingers dancing over the keyboard. At others, sitting down to write is heavy and challenging. But losing your motivation doesn’t mean you have to lose heart. Losing our motivation is part of the larger creative process. We wouldn’t have the bursts of inspiration and productivity without the difficult creative dips. When we lose our creative steam, not only does our writing come to a crawl, but we also start feeling low about ourselves. For example, when you aren’t writing, the feeling that you should be working nags at the back of your mind. This tension creates further stagnation and deepens the creative funk. This can be particularly hard when you have a deadline, a goal, or a practice you are trying to maintain. In these situations, wouldn’t it be great to keep learning to write, even minus the motivation muscle? Here are five tips to help you take charge of your writing till you get your motivation back. These strategies will recharge your creative batteries and help you jump back into the work you were initially excited to do. #1. Honor the Rest Period It is important to trust that low motivation comes as part of a cycle. When experiencing this part of the cycle, you feel unmotivated, uncomfortable, unsure, and uninspired. When you experience another part of the cycle, you feel highly motivated, driven to do the work, and ready to dive into your creative project with ease and enthusiasm. It is easy to honor the high motivation times. You do so by creating with productivity and energy. Similarly, you must honor the low motivation times by taking a step back from your work and holding the perspective that you are still experiencing part of the creative process. In such times, take care of yourself. Find a self-care practice that is relaxing, recharging and nourishing for your body and spirit. This sets the foundation for your creativity to shine forth. #2. Approach Your Writing from a Fresh Angle Resting doesn’t mean you need to completely stop what you hope to accomplish, but it can mean approaching your work from a different angle. To get the creativity flowing again, instead of writing, create a playlist of songs to help you set the scene or inspire your work. Doodle, outline or brainstorm. Move away from the computer and into a journal. Keep flexing your creative muscles, and soon they will be revved up enough to let you get back to your project. #3. Talk About Your Work A sure way to build motivation is to talk about your project with others. There are times when it feels premature to do so, or you might not be ready to share. That is perfectly okay. Instead, ask questions about the ideas and themes that form the undercurrent to your writing. Voice the themes you are curious about. Ask others what they are reading or writing in the genre you are interested in. Gather the “aha’s!” and moments of clarity you get from your discussions. Write them down. When you talk about your ideas and work with people, you fuel the creative fire through new ideas and insights. You may even breathe new life into your craft. #4. Recommit To find true motivation, you must recommit to your project. Otherwise your writing will sit there, gather dust, and almost certainly remain unfinished. Start by grabbing a journal. Do some casual writing about what got you excited in the first place. Allow yourself to write about the struggles you are experiencing, or the blocks you are facing. Write about how feeling unmotivated feels in your body. Journal what you are excited about, the internal and external motivators that are already in you, but might just be dormant right now. Draw a line in the sand and commit to doing the work. Create a plan, and follow through. Schedule the time. Create a to-do list with actionable and manageable tasks. Dive in. #5. Read What You Have Written This is a simple but powerful exercise. After a relatively long period of feeling unmotivated, you can lose touch with what you have already written, and where you wish it to go. Spend some time revisiting your work. No pressure to write at this point, just read. It will help recalibrate your brain to start thinking about your writing in new and tangible ways. Things that felt hard to untangle before often become clear with rested eyes. You start seeing your work with a fresh perspective, and can find new angles to start again. Writing can be hard work. It is even harder when we are not feeing inspired or motivated. We must allow the unmotivated times to be a space where we flush out our ideas, recommit to our work, and recharge. Trust the process and know that when you feel in a rut, feeling creatively alive is just around the corner. What has helped you feel motivated and inspired? I’d love to hear in the comments below.