7 Hints and Tips for Motivation Beyond NaNoWriMo by Wendy H. Jones
I think about motivation a lot, perhaps more than I should do. I would consider myself a fairly motivated person and yet, there are days where my get up and go fancies a wee holiday. The difficulty with giving your get up and go a holiday, is the danger of it shoving off permanently. I firmly believe that Motivation Matters and that we should do everything in our power to keep our motivation going.
One of the ways we can do this is by joining in with NaNoWriMo or national Novel Writing Month, to give it its full name. For those of you who haven't heard of it, you pledge to write 50,000 words in the month of November, which works out at 1,677 words a day. Trust me that is doable. NaNoWriMo works in many different ways. Firstly, it gets you into a daily writing habit. Secondly, it encourages you just to write with no stops and starts. Thirdly, it helps with accountability. The site, itself, rewards you for writing streaks and gives badges at set times. There are also writing buddies who help to keep you motivated and on track by sending encouraging messages. You can also see how your word count compares to your buddies which leads to a bit of healthy competition and, trust me, is extremely motivating. If you're the competitive sort that is.
NaNoWriMo is a fantastic motivator but that's in November. What of the rest of the year? The problem with reaching a goal in November is that it can lead to lethargy in December. We think we deserve a well earned break and it's Christmas after all. We're back to where we started, lack of motivation which can lead into January and February. Before we know it, it's November again.
So, what can be done to keep that motivation throughout the year? The good news is, there's a lot you can do. I don't usually share this in my writing life but I am an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer. Therefore I have developed a range of techniques that keep me motivated. Here are just a few:
1. Do something different before you start writing. Plan to write in a different place e.g. a coffee shop or library rather than your office.
2. Write to music. Rock music for a crime book, War of the Worlds for a fantasy book, romantic music for a romance book. If you don't think you can write to music. listen to it before you start.
3. Swap tea for coffee or vice versa. This will get your brain thinking in a different way.
5. Change the temperature. Yep, that's right, get hot or cold. Now, much as I would like to think this involves an exotic holiday, setting the thermostat at home is much cheaper, if less exciting.
6. Do some exercise. Going for a walk pumps blood and oxygen to the brain and gets it ready for days writing. It also allows the brain to think about your manuscript whilst doing something else. You might want a digital voice recorder (there's one on your phone) to record all those blinding flashes of inspiration that come while you are walking.
7. Free writing. Write for five minutes about anything at all. Just write without thinking or stopping. This fees up your creativity and gets you in the mood for writing.
These are just a weeks worth of tips that can help to keep you motivated and make your brain think differently about what you do and how you do it. Most people say I am extremely motivated, and I like to think so. If you want to know more I have shared my motivational tips in my book Motivation Matters. There are 366 exercises you can use, one for every day of the year and one for a leap year. By then you will be well into the writing groove and highly motivated.
About the Author
Wendy H. Jones is the award winning author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries and the Bertie the Buffalo Picture Book. She is also the President of the Scottish Association of Writers and the Webmaster for the Association of Christian Writers, as well as a popular International Public Speaker. You can find out more about her, as well as book her to speak on motivation, writing and marketing, via her website