writing motivation

30 01, 2017

Procrastination Can Kill Writing Success

By |2017-01-26T16:11:04-06:00January 30th, 2017|Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

Procrastination means putting off an essential task.

Admit it you procrastinate. All writers do.

Procrastination is a clever enemy often disguised as worthy endeavors such as a writer’s meeting, a writing conference, a computer game to “clear the head”, or a movie for “research.”

Social media, while a critical component for author promotion, can also be a major procrastination culprit. Who doesn’t find Twitter or Facebook or web surfing sucking precious time from writing?

Delaying issues for some writers can be more subtle. Things like spending time reading blogs or books about writing or tidying a work area before beginning. Well-intentioned things to do, however not very productive.

If your time revolves around thinking about writing or learning about writing without actually writing, face it, you’re procrastinating.

So how do we cure the culprit that steals our words from the page?

First, admit you’re procrastinating.

Next, try these five helpful hints to stop.

Divide your project into small chunks

Commit to working an hour on a project by breaking the task into doable pieces. For non-fiction books, this may be creating a chapter outline. For a novel, try breaking the story smaller segments like scenes or start with character development.

Schedule writing time

Too often writers put off writing until everything else is done. The dishes put in the dishwasher, the clothes folded, the dog walked, etc. You get the idea. There is no perfect time to write.

Schedule a one-hour block of time to sit down at your desk and write. Consider it an unbreakable appointment.

Set a timer

Once you have a designated writing time, set your phone timer, a kitchen timer, or an online timer like e.ggtimer.com for 15 – 30 minutes. Forget about whether what you produce is good or bad – keep writing.

Turn off your internal editor and self-critic

Simply write like nobody’s watching. After all, no one needs to see your writing until you’re ready.

Get a grip and just do it.

Put your butt in the chair and W-R-I-T-E whether you feel like it or not. No matter how much strategizing, planning, and hypothesizing you do if you don’t take action, nothing happens.

According to Wayne Dyer, “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.”

Don’t let procrastination defeat you. Try these five tips and when you’ve put words on the page,


4 11, 2013

4 Triggers to Jumpstart your Writing Time

By |2013-11-04T06:00:53-06:00November 4th, 2013|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Another November has rolled around, which means…

Daylight saving time started unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Did you remember to set your clocks back?

?????????We did. Unfortunately, my internal clock didn’t get the message. I’m up at 4 a.m. because my body knows it’s really 5 a.m.

November is also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Currently 258,733 novelist have officially signed on to complete a first draft novel with the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Not to be outdone, NON-fiction writers have their own challenge, Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN), also known as National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo)

Other writers become caught up in the spirit of the writing challenge and commit to penning 50,000 words this month through their writing groups.

Flipping the calendar to November is the signal that the holidays are fast approaching. One look at a Christmas Countdown clock and my pulse accelerates in anticipation and dread.

Fifty days until Christmas? Yikes. I’m so far behind.

If you celebrate Hanukah, your clicking counter is less. Hanukah is much closer than you think. For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukah converge. You’re looking at less than twenty-four days to be ready! Click here for an accurate count.

Holidays can disrupt your regular writing schedule and stifle your  muse. Participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge may be all you need to motivate yourself.

On the other hand, even if you’ve joined NaNoWriMo and set a goal, you may need to give yourself a nudge to get into writing on some days.

With so many holiday preparations pulling for my time and energy, I find when I do notch out writing time I need to psych my muse into cooperating.

Four methods work to put my brain in writing mode.

1.  Establish a ritual  – a trigger to use right before you begin a writing session. Something that will coax your brain into the writing routine and you won’t have to make a decision on whether or not to write. You just will.

A trigger might be moving into a special area to write or sipping a cup of tea.

toby 2I brew a cup of Irish breakfast tea or grab a water bottle and go into my office.

Naturally, Toby follows and positions his very large body in the kneehole of my desk. That’s a trigger for me, but not one you can share.


2.   Begin a writing session by quieting your mind.
Tis the season to clutter our minds with lists and busyness. Pause. Do some journaling or read a devotional to clear your mind before you start writing.

3.  Engage in physical activity.
I’m not suggesting a full workout at the gym here. Only a few minutes of sun salutation and deep breathing yoga exercises or ten minutes of calisthenics to jumpstart the endorphins that lead to creativity.

A  walk can work as well. That’s what I do. Toby and Buster love when I hook up those leases and walk to work through plot issues or jog my creativity.

4. Involve your senses.
Play soft music or light a scented candle, even a dish of scented soap on your desk can be a trigger for the muse.

YOUR TURN: Do you have a trigger that puts you in writing mode?

15 05, 2013

One Word Wednesday – SIT

By |2013-05-15T05:21:15-05:00May 15th, 2013|one word Wednesday|0 Comments

I have a Matese name Buster and this is so him. He loves to sit, especially on my lap.


Sitting is good if you’re a Buster, but for a writer doing this is better.


Because, if all you do is sit, then you never finish the book!

So my question for you today is–will you be sitting or writing?

28 01, 2013

The book’s finished so why am I sad?

By |2013-01-28T09:51:39-06:00January 28th, 2013|Monday Motivations|17 Comments

I finished Love in the Morning Calm, the prequel to The Pendant’s Promise and turned the manuscript over to the editor. 

MorningCalm_6 for webpgs

Now I’m sad.

I know I should be happy. IT’S FINISHED.

There is a sense of relief and exhaustion considering the amount of energy and focus required to “birth” this particular novel. I’ve been working on Lily and Alex’s love story for years.

My very wise book editor suggested I split the original manuscript into two books, which added a year to the writing process, but keeping the tale as one book would have made James A. Michener’s multi-generational works look like short stories.

Really, I am excited that I’m finished.

Except for this lonely feeling that keeps creeping in–sort of like postpartum blues.


I found comfort in knowing I had Lily and Alex’s romance to resume every morning and think about at night.

I already miss the arguments trying to persuade them to follow my outline. Then sometimes settling for something close to what I planned, but perhaps better and more interesting.

Other authors have shared that they experience the same sluggishness, a lack of motivation, and energy when they finish a book. I know my feelings will subside. Lily and Alex have, after all, found their happily ever after.

It’s time to do the next thing — start a new manuscript. I began that process this weekend.

I’m looking at two quotes as the new story’s theme. One fromTruth About Forever a Sarah Dessen novel: “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”

 The other from Lao Tzu: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Once my new friends, Darcy and Andrew, and I have done that dance of the first 50 or 60 pages they’ll begin to talk to me then my real work will begin.

I can truly bid Lily and Ace farewell.

YOUR TURN:  Do you get the postpartum blues when you finish a book? What do you do about it when you do?

17 12, 2012

After Friday’s darkness Monday’s Motivation

By |2012-12-17T09:05:03-06:00December 17th, 2012|Monday Motivations, Uncategorized, writer, writing|2 Comments

How do we find motivation after Friday’s act of darkness? I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time.

Bob Mayer’s FB status on Friday suggested: “Just mourn. No politics, agendas, rants. Losing a child is an exclusive club you do not want to be a part of. Trust me on that.”

This is not going to be a rant or a political statement. I don’t have an agenda.

What I have is a hurting heart.

My family lived near Newtown at one time. I have an undergraduate degree from Western Connecticut State in Danbury. One of my daughters graduated from New Fairfield High School. Our other daughter took piano lessons from a teacher in Newtown. Somehow, these connections made what happened more real.

I’ve been restless, perplexed, sidetracked by tears of anger and sadness all weekend. How do we make sense out of senseless?

I’m wondering how  God can let things like the massacres in Newtown and Aurora , the rampage in Tucson and Virginia Tech happen?

Seeking answers I emailed  my son, a minister with a Ph.D. in Theology. I share his thoughts with his permission.

It is in times like these that our faith meets sight. It is easy to walk by faith when things make sense. It is when our reality is rocked by some inexplicable and incomprehensible event that faith must really kick in.

 Because I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in His written Word, the Bible, and because I believe the Bible contains everything we need for life, my mind turns to Scripture to seek an answer.  

The crux of the matter in cases like this comes down to “how/why does God allow evil?”  

It is really a question of sovereignty versus free will. If I could solve that, I would be famous indeed.

By its very nature, the sovereignty/free will issue is an antinomy—something that cannot be explained in human terms, to human satisfaction. Scripture reminds us in Isaiah 40:13-14 that God’s knowledge is unique to Him. And Proverbs 21:30 confirms that there is no wisdom, or counsel or understanding higher than His. 

So we are left to trust Him and Him alone as knowing what is best.

For many people, this approach to the question of evil in the world is inadequate and trite. I understand.  

That’s why eschatology is not just a hobby or whimsy of mine. It is the key cog in my worldview. I could not survive in a world where everyone is under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19) if I did not believe that God wins in the end. 

When I see things like what happened in Newtown I get angry and crave God’s divine intervention more than ever. I, too, question why does He wait to claim victory? 

 But I take comfort in knowing that ultimately, God will intervene. A better day is coming. A day of complete justice when Satan and all of his human and demonic envoys will be judged once and for all. It is that promise of Scripture that allows me to keep going when things don’t make sense in the present world. 

So, to summarize: The unspeakable events of Friday are incomprehensible apart from a biblical worldview that promises (1) God is in control even when evil seems to triumph; (2) All evil will be recompensed; (3) Justice will prevail; (4) God wins.

I believe,  like my son, God wins the final victory. But until that THE END happens, I will hug my children more, tell teachers I appreciate them more often, and offer prayers of comfort for the families and victims of these tragedies.

And most important, as a writer, I will write.

So should you.

I love Emma D. Dryden’s suggestions in her blog.

Create something precious for the world that might help to replace the precious the world’s lost. Write, paint, sing, dance, walk in nature, breathe deeply, and love fiercely. As we reach out to friends, to family, to others, so too must we reach inside to be gentle with ourselves. And we must remind ourselves we do carry the light necessary to light the dark corners, vanquishing one shadow at a time.

5 11, 2012

Monday Motivations: Creative juices dried up? 29 Ways to refresh

By |2012-11-05T07:20:17-06:00November 5th, 2012|Monday Motivations, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hit a roadblock in your story? Creative juices won’t flow?

View this short two minute video for ways to get back in the groove.

I liked #25 and #29. #18 is great, especially with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon.

I’m not so sure I agree with #23. Doesn’t sound like fun to me.

YOUR TURN: What works to stir your creativity?