Every so often, I catch myself saying, “I should write this weekend.” Or, “I have to finish that chapter.” It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy “to do” lists we have, and add our creative work to them. There can be a fine line between making writing a habit and making it just another thing we “have to” do, or “should” do. But that kills any enthusiasm or motivation we may have.
Sometimes it’s a matter of reframing how we think of writing. Yes, it can be hard, and it’s also something we love to do. When it’s flowing, there’s nothing else like it. It can be hard to remember when we’re tired or not feeling inspired (though by now we know enough not to wait for inspiration).
One way to feel more inspired on a regular basis, whether or not the work is going “well,” is to practice the habit of positive thinking and speaking around your writing goals. Think of a good writing session as one in which you did some writing, period. Think of the fact that you get to do some writing today.
Just as with any habit, you have to find a way to think of what you get from it – intrinsic motivation. I exercise because it feels good once I’m actually doing it, and I feel better physically and mentally when I’ve done it. When I’m having trouble feeling motivated to exercise, I think of all the good I get from it.
The same goes for writing. Think of all the positive things it brings you. Remember, it can’t flow unless you are actually doing the writing. Banish negative, boring, “have to” thoughts about it. If it feels odd or awkward, it may mean that you’ve been unconsciously sliding into thinking of your writing in a negative light. Bringing awareness to the way you think and speak about your creative work can be a breakthrough in having a more positive relationship with your work, and your creative self. Befriend your work. Seriously. Speak about it in the same way you speak about your best friend, and see how it improves your writing life.
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