On motivation to write

Should we push ourselves to write? Should we drag our behinds to the chair and sit there until we type something? Or do we wait? I think there are times when it’s okay to wait.

I got this opinion from working out. Years ago, I used to drag myself to the gym whether I was sick or well, whether I wanted to go or not. The result was that I did go…but I hated it. When I did go, my workouts were lame, barely-there attempts without any heart or drive in them.

Then, one day, I stopped going. I told myself I wouldn’t go again until I felt like going. I made a vow to myself and I kept it.

I stayed away from the gym for almost a year. And then, finally, one day, I wanted to go. I went for a little work out and I had fun. I liked it.

I’ve been working out ever since but my relationship with the gym is very different. I may notice when I don’t go that often but I don’t nag myself and I don’t force myself to go. I go when I want to go. The result is, when I’m there, I have delicious workouts. I love it.

I wonder if writing is like that. I certainly write because I love it. But do I wait for inspiration or do I put my behind in the chair?

I particularly like what Justine Musk says: “Reading is the inhale. Writing is the exhale.”

But, just for kicks, here is Kelly Leiter who says something completely different on motivation.

What about you? What do you think?

8 thoughts on “On motivation to write

  1. I prefer to talk myself into doing 15 minutes of working out or writing. Usually once I’m there, I put in the time. Get it done. Now with that said, on the days I WANT to work out, I put in more effort & it shows. I’m sure the same is with writing.

  2. I haven’t had to push myself to write yet, though I can see one day I might have to! 😀 I like to stick to routine, and the routine is what keeps me motivated, so I will write if I feel it or not just to keep me going.

    The same can’t be said for the gym, which I never ever feel motivated for!

  3. I’m a mix, because my mind likes going in twenty directions at once. There are times I “force” myself to write or edit in the sense that there’s some initial resistance and I want to do several something elses. Actually, that’s generally every time. But if I can get a first sentence on the page, or a few lines into revising, the rest of it flows from there almost without pause.

    Occasionally I have those days where writing or editing isn’t going to happen, no way no how. Last night was that for me, and I decided that instead of sitting around procrastinating around things I didn’t want to do, I was going to go to bed an hour early and wake up an hour early to get something done. I am happy to say that the scene I wanted to get done last night got done this morning. And I almost never wake up early.

      • I’m an extrovert by nature, so my easiest way of finding motivation is to do it with others, even if it’s a “writing in our own separate spaces but at the same time” sort of with others. With my editing I have to constantly delve into a reserve of “people are going to love this when I’m done, so I need to get this done.”

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