Open Writing Tips: Maintaining Inspiration and Motivation

With my blog’s recent feature on Discover, I was quite happy to receive various emails from new readers. I can’t thank them enough for getting my writing out there. And I’m here today because I got a splendid question in the mail (via the contact form) and instead of speaking there, I thought it might make for a good blog post since I think many of us can relate to this discussion. If you have anything to add, I encourage you all to share your thoughts in the comments down below. I believe your opinions and advice on the matter might help the asker. 🙂

This question was asked by Thomas,

“I was wondering, how you manage to stay inspired long enough to write a whole novel? I myself have started many a time and can’t keep it going.”

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have much to respond in the inspiration department. (What a depressing start…) I’m the type that binge writes. This is terrible for my schedule and recently, I’ve found myself unable to set aside more important tasks like college and work, and then I end up with the idea stuck in my head, but no actual time to do it, then not soon after my drive leaves me at that terrible point where I just end up taking a long, overdue nap.

But I believe that if you’re invested enough in the idea, then you won’t lose inspiration for it. (At least this is the case for me.) My mind is always buzzing with my novel—oh, an avatar maker? I need to make my novel character on it!, I should really place a fight scene there when I get the chance, Is that a bunny? My book needs a bunny!—motivation, however, you might lose more quickly. I’m like this, and my advice is to find a writing style that works for you. If you find you can write quality content during binges and not from writing every, single day like I know many do and recommend (so you hone your craft), then stick with that. Don’t conform to other approaches. Instead, try, incorporate, try again, and just… develop until you find a style that works. (You don’t want to burn yourself out writing at a pace you don’t like.)

Oh! One thing I can speak plainly about inspiration is when you’re struggling to keep it, then try taking a walk, eating a convenience store dinner, listening to music, or even just reading. It’ll help get your mind running. Have you ever read those articles from published authors where they mention that after completing their manuscript, they let it sit for a month or two or six, then come back to look at it with a fresh eye? It’s so they can see their mistakes and improve things. Sometimes having a clear head is important. And maybe it’ll help you, too. Don’t give up on an idea—especially one you particularly like—too quickly. Try returning to it after some time and if nothing sparks, move on, then come back again. Rinse and repeat. Perhaps you’ll be able to blend your unfinished snippets into one.

It would be great if you ask other writers their opinions as well and see which responses resonate with you, seeing as how everyone approaches writing differently. Some have no problem with motivation but don’t quite have the time, others struggle with inspiration and just write until they find something fleeting enough to catch their fancy—perhaps you’re like this—but seeing as how I’m not, then their advice on the matter will be more beneficial to you since I can’t really provide anything solid. The two undoubtedly go hand-in-hand, but rarely do I find someone capable of balancing them just so. It doesn’t help that life is fickle and greedy and always vying for attention.

As you all can see, I didn’t have that much to say in regards to the question itself—oh good god, that moment you realize you’ve actually gone off on a tangent on an entirely different topic is just… ridiculous. I feel like a rambling, old manbut if any of you struggle with this and can offer your own advice in the comments below, then that would be wonderful!


21 thoughts on “Open Writing Tips: Maintaining Inspiration and Motivation

  1. Drum roll!!! I have a ritual, a schedule, a pattern. Why? Because otherwise, all those ideas that come floating in would be cracking me on the skull with a hammer/pick-ax (you choose) and saying ‘me, me, me; my turn, pick me!’ and I’d never get any work done at all. So I learned to do a ritual. Once a week, I write down all the ‘ping’ ideas I’ve had during the week when the other work, the serious business, was underway. If I didn’t do this, they’d be disruptions. The little bits might be one sentence, one para, one page, or one chapter. But they don’t get front spot. Nothing gets in the way of the ‘work day week writing job’ – it all has to wait. But at least I wrote it down for later!
    And all this can be changed at a minute’s notice!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This. I’ve never been able to stick to a schedule, myself — but that whole writing things down to save it for later? I get that. And most times, those little tidbits have become the poems or letters that I’ve posted on my blog. Saving with a promise of return 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I also write down ideas, sentences, and thoughts as they come to me. I keep a notebook near me, and if inspiration strikes, I jot down the thought or idea. I do this as the ideas come in, and then wait to write about them until later. If the idea has sticking power, more thoughts come to me, and soon enough I have material.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This was a great answer! I think I may have gotten caught up in all the hype about the famous authors and their general theme of writing daily. I tend to binge write too and it’s why my goggle docs are all two pages longXD I’ll definitely start creating my writer platform soon! Thank you so much and have a blessed day!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, I was just asked by one of their editors if I’d be comfortable doing an interview, so I dont quite know any actual techniques to getting your blog featured. But I do know that you can submit one of your posts for consideration, and they’ll decide whether or not to feature it. You should browse the Discover blog, I believe the link is somewhere there.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Write what you know. Write what you are thinking. Write what you dream, and your persona will come out, I promise. You should, I believe, write something every day. Not exclusively for the record keeping, but most importantly you do it to get better at its mechanics, you apprentice your craft as though you are the 10th generation “keeper of the keys” to all that the art of writing has accomphlished (at least the part that someone wrote down). If you explore all that the written word can express, then it seems reasonable to expect that you will discover what the object to writing is; it’s the NC pond cattail, broken apart, millions of white stars floating on a sultry summer evening with family at Topsail Beach. It’s the freedom to soar to whatever height as a writer we wish; whether like me with a journal for 40 odd years now, to technical writing for Boeing. Pro or Amature. Tripping or Melancoly. In the end, it’s a fact that you feel good doing it. I’m older than you. I’ve experienced it first-hand. I ‘m 62 years old, a USMC Veteran, and in private business for nearly 50 years, total. In that time I have been required to write everything from all writings for official record done exclusively in the first person vernacular, or the third person, such as writing in a legal environment. The audience is different, and again more informative writing, less creative. I’ve written copy for the boxes of pharmaceutical drugs, both for the Pharmacist and customer; talk about being specific, holy moly. I’ve plied my good ole, never let you down, Ticonderoga No. 2, at daily print media trolling for news, on and offline, yeah, not even pagers were around then, I mean way back in time, to get the scoop! I would tell any young professional, or even, god forbid, a professional writer is this: there is a template for creating writings of most any type that will generate income or happiness, they are not mutually exclusive. Yes, it’s true, people get paid to write much more than novels. I wished I possessed that rare gene, talent. ” A man’s got to know his limitations.” For example, those prolific, well-paid authors for whom everything seems natural, perhaps it isn’t. The key is, when you meet one, ask about motivation and writing during the dark patches. I suspect they revert to the “process” of writing. Character Lists, created by always having pen and paper to write facts about the people you see, the places you go and the mood, yes, the atmosphere of all that is around you. And, there is the luxury of exploring and discovering new writing styles. Do you fancy yourself a Theroux or Emerson? Baldacci or Clancy? Maybe Nixon’s Biographer or Regan’s? If you want a test, write a dimestore-like romance project of say 1500 words each day for two weeks. Everyone loves romace. Everyone is sexual; some more than others, which are you? Craft for brevity. Our language is sufficient to paint like Monet and never leave your mind. Also, read. Read the writings of others you mentor and learn the process. “They say we judge the success of our creations by the four corners of that which we eschew effort to create when the voice is no longer the practical tool.” Study the craft, so you learn writing outside your comfort zone. It’s like walking and chewing bubble gum. You’ll get the hang of it. You should always try to perfect your effort. Whenever you can, write in longhand using a decidedly pretentious, expensive, fountain pen with some exotic nib, creating history on 8 1/2 ” x 11″ fine Parisian linen paper made by gentlemen from around the crossroads. And, dammit write some letters to those you care about and tell them why. But, now, I write because I feel better when I do. Simple as that. I can feel the smile now. That’s my motivation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and advice on this! You seem to have captured all the bases on the subject, especially the final tidbit about reading — which I somehow missed. Read and learn the process. Yes! I believe that to improve you can’t just constantly write, but you need to read the works of others and see how they do things, incorporate styles that fit, yet at the same time, don’t copy them. It’s quite a difficult thing to accomplish for beginners and even so-called experts in the art, but the results are worth it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love hearing about different writer’s menthods. Do you have any writers in mind who you think have good methods?

    I find I get really interested in an idea I’ve had and it’s all I can think about for days or weeks until I start forming those ideas into an actual plan but that’s when I loose interest and motivation. Whne I get an idea I like to just start writing it and see where it goes rather than planning it out. Do you plan your stories or just write?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just write, though there is a bit of planning involved. Like the characters, I like to map out their traits, names, and personalities, but other than that when I get an idea I just sit down if I’m motivated enough to do it and just… write. 🙂 We’re the same in that regard — I tend to lose motivation when planning stories out, too. As for any writers, I don’t really know anyone that have mentioned their specific approaches to writing except, perhaps, Erin Morgenstern. She mentioned on her official website that she tends to binge write, too. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Glad I’m not the only one. If someone gets the urge to write it’s just best to write or the idea loses itself in the planning. I guess maybe in the times I have planned a story I end up thinking of new ideas to improve it but that can come from just writing too.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I usually have a plan when I write. I have a reason for the writing. Informative, persausive, fantasy, romance and the logic of argument are but a few of the reasons I write. Read some well seasoned news reporters to learn the bottom down or bottom to top approach to learn brevity and getting your point across quickly, in case some of your writings are edited for space. Become a student of the logic of argument so you don’t fall into argument killing logical fallacies. Describe things you like as the French do, replete with adjectives. The brown house of the corner with a brown sugar shaded soffett, where the tiniest of hummingbirds makes its ancestral home. Be specific. Don’t make the reader wonder what you mean. Read books like the “Little Red Writing Book” , Writing Tools by Roy Clark, “On Writing Well” by Zinsser or The Elements of Style by Strunk. And lastly, whatever you write be a “Willy Nilly” about your use of the language. Know the parts of speech and to how effectively employ them in your writings.Everything I have ever written could have been done better; if only there were more time to edit. Edit your work. Beg others to edit your work. Writers are creatures of habit. Write in a style that”s new for you. Get out of your comfort zone and freshen up your skills. When you feel good doing it, it shows.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s so comforting to not hear “I sit at my desk from 9-5 with no distractions and write 1,000 words consistently every day.”

    Yes we’re always thinking about settings and characters and storylines, but motivation can be fleeting, especially with such a gargantuan task!

    Thank you for sharing a very honest account, I found it extremely helpful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you did. While I do admire those that have the time and motivation to write a bit everyday, when I tried it, I didn’t really find myself improving. Rather, I found my writing lacking… something. Everyone has different approaches, and it’s really hard to find something that works for you with all the advice being thrown around. It can be discouraging when a style that works for a writer you admire doesn’t work for you — I just hope they remember that that’s okay.

      Liked by 2 people

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