A key lesson I’ve learned as a freelancer is that self-motivation is essential for success. So when I’m without a project I don’t stop working. Instead, I follow five steps to keep moving forward.
1. I change my venue. I get away from my regular writing spots and go somewhere to clear my mind. I search for places where ideas grow. For me, it’s getting close to nature. For someone else it might be visiting a museum or attending a writing conference. The goal is to find a place that gets you thinking about new writing topics and opportunities. A change of venue is like a clean slate begging for words.
2. I Read. When I’m not working on projects, I increase the time I spend reading. I read fiction and nonfiction. I read about publishing trends, and I check out writers’ blogs. Reading is great motivation for writing. It inspires me to explore new directions.
3. I Write. After I finish a project, I switch gears and write something entirely different: a blog post, a short story, a poem. I don’t write with the idea of publication. I just write to free myself from my last project and get ready for the next. Switching gears forces me to keep my writing skills polished.
4. I look beyond my boundaries. Writers tend to label themselves as children’s writers, educational writers, freelance writers, or whatever. I set aside labels and explore what else might be a good fit for me. I look at new genres and then for opportunities where I might try them on. I look at what publishers want, what’s selling, electronic publishing vs. print. I try to break out of the mold that I’ve set for myself, and stretch.
5. I communicate with other writers. I look for positive communication to boost me up instead of pull me down. Teaming with other writers who are excited about their craft is the best form of motivation. It’s also a good way to get referrals. Often, this sort of networking has led to my next project.
Martin Luther said,
“How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never.’”
So, remember: when you have nothing to do,
doing nothing is not an option.
Try my ideas, or your own, and
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6 responses to “5 Ways to Push Forward When Your Head Says, “Stop!””
I’m trying to take my writing more seriously in the new year and be more productive with it – getting out of the house and getting a change of scenery sounds like a good idea.
I like that idea, too, Janel!
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That first point especially really resonates. I’ve often found having a change of scenery to be an incredibly energising thing.
Good post. On a side note, your comment about ads at the end. I have 3 wordpress blogs, and recently decided to upgrade the one blog so there are no ads. I got the opinion of my readers – and it seems like other wordpress bloggers who read my blog never saw ads – but others who come to my blog almost always see them. I have never noticed an ad on your blog, but then I am a wordpres blogger.
Thank you for the comment, Laura.
This is timely for me. I’ve had a difficult time staying motivated. Thanks, Jean.