Monday, February 6, 2012 Helps Keep Writers Motivated

For the last few weeks I've been faithfully putting in words on a site that every aspiring writer should at least try: Using it is simple:

  1. Sign up
  2. Type 750 words a day.

I say "type" intentionally. Writing is a craft. Typing is an exercise. Writing involves intent and a goal, like "I'm going to finish that short story" or "I'm going to wrap up that novel." Typing is more freeform and stream-of-consciousness. It flies right by. And this website has helped me to keep the exercise up. Laying down 750 words in a single sitting, every single day, helps me get the wheels greased to do some writing, and that's often a largest barrier to overcoming any lack of motivation we writers might be fighting.

Writing (and typing, actually) is FUN. But like anything that's "good for us," we sometimes procrastinate and forget that fact. Sitting down and writing is like lacing up those running shoes and braving into the cold morning, or pulling out that dental floss even when we're so tired we just want to crawl into bed. Once you get started it feels good, and once you're done it feels even better.

Getting a writing career underway while working a full job isn't an easy thing, kids. We need every motivational tool we can. There are days when part of me says, "Dude, relax! You worked a long day today and deserve a little selfish TV or blast of web surfing. If you don't finish that chapter for your next writer's group it's not going to affect your 'real' career one iota!"

The little nag that provides helped me over that hump.

A lot of writers I talk to have more to say about how hard it is to find time/energy/consistency than they do about their actual projects! When I see that kind of pattern I can't help but wonder how we could collectively get over such motivational barriers. So far, 750words is a nice experiment. It's working for me.

Granted, most of what I've written on the site is mindless humming. There might be a tune, but it doesn't stay consistent. But that's not the point. The goal isn't to add 750 words to your novel count... it's to get you in the mood so you can do the real work! At its best the site gives you a kick in the pants to write a bit more on your serious project(s). At its worst it at least keeps you in the mindset that you are a writer. Even if a little journal entry is all your accomplish, that's inarguably better than nothing.

So give it a try! Like any good experiment, a sample size of one is pretty meaningless. Tell me about your own experience with it, or share similar experiments you've tried to get yourself motivated to write on a regular basis.

Then go write something. :)