17. Manufacturing motivation: coffee, deadlines, and dusk

Motivation is a fickle beast. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have waves of the stuff at times, only to sit down at your desk and have it retreat into the depths of your subconscious. For a long time, I accepted this, and would only write when everything was clicking for me. I didn’t put much work into it. I didn’t have to. But I was only writing a few times/month and I wanted to get more out of my words.

For me, I’ve found that a few things help me get into the writing mindset. Everyone is different. Some people write in a coffee shop. Some people write in their car. Find out what works for you and build a strategy around those things. Here’s what works for me:

  1. Wake up. Set that alarm up across your room so you’re forced to drag your body out of bed and into the morning. There’s something really encouraging about getting work done early in the day. There aren’t any pressures. You have ALL DAY LONG to get your thoughts out on paper. It’s refreshing. Some mornings, I get up at 6:00 and write for an hour before work. On the weekends, it’s closer to 7:30. But whenever I wake up and move over to my desk, the words always seem to flow. Maybe it’s because my mental filter is still in a slumber. Maybe it’s because my dreams are fresh in my mind. Whatever it is, I like it. Get up and write, people. 
  2. Coffee. It’s like cheating at life. It’s a drug. It’s delicious. I can feel the gears in my brain start to turn over after a fresh cup of the black stuff. Sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain after a couple cups. And that’s ok.
  3. Deadlines. Everyone has this romanticized vision of writing in their cookie-cutter-minds. “Every writer ever lives in Paris, living on bread and cigarettes, and passion!” Wrong. Writers are engineers, dads, moms, kids, pizza delivery drivers, mailmen. Everyone writes. And for those who take it seriously, they have deadlines. They don’t magically finish novels in an afternoon sipping on lattes. They set deadlines, they have goals, and they get things done. Writing is like anything else. You need to set time aside for it, and you need to maintain some level of discipline.

Find what works for you. Everyone is different. Write on!

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