Why are you creating?
There are so many “writer hopefuls” who talk about how they dream of writing a book or a blog. When I’m at a social gathering and I tell someone I write books, I often get responses like,
“I’ve always wanted to write a book!”
Then, they will jump into telling me about their book idea. I usually smile, nod, tell them it’s a great idea. A lot of the time, I genuinely believe it really is a great idea. But the hard truth is there is something in between actually doing the work and putting the pen to paper and just telling people about the book idea that hit you one day when you were pulling weeds in your garden or shampooing your hair.
Some people will tell you the thing stopping you from doing the work is simply that: you need to sit down and do the work.
They’ll tell you to set your alarm clock earlier, to drink more coffee, to read every motivational book you can get your hands on and to put a pause on your social life until through sweat and tears you’ve muscled your way through to the moment when you can finally hold a first draft in your hands.
I think there’s an easier way. Those things can help. As a lover of professional development books I won’t stop you from reading them or borrowing their strategies.
But on the days when it simply feels impossible to keep going, a new psychology based strategy won’t convince you to sit down in your writing chair and put words on the page.
Your “why” will.
The best question to answer is, “why are you creating?”
This is the question that stops the cocktail party writer hopefuls from putting the pen to the page. It’s just an idea that came to them in the garden until they get to know the person whose life it will change.
When you know your why, motivation isn’t something that you search for. It’s a continual tug when writing and creating gets hard.
I talk a lot about my reader. I’ve named her Sarah, and I know her well. I can picture her sitting in the corner chair in my office, tugging on her hair and fidgeting with her hands because Sarah is desperate for a solution. If I’m not writing, she’s not reading. I write to serve Sarah. She’s fictional, but she shows up in very real ways through lots of social media messages when I put my work out there.
On my hardest days, I picture Sarah and I write for her.
Define your “why” (it might not be a person) and picture the impact creativity has on the world with clarity and conviction.
Then you won’t be looking for motivation, you’ll be writing.