How to stay motivated when writing
Writing a book takes time and self-belief. You are putting a lot of effort into creating something special. You need to believe that what you are creating will be read and appreciated.
If negative thoughts get into your head, it is all too easy to start thinking that no one will read your work, that it won’t be enjoyed, that all your efforts will go to waste. Once thoughts like these get the upper hand, sitting down and writing becomes a bigger and bigger chore. What ought to be a torrent of creativity can become a dribble of self-doubt.
How to keep the negative thoughts at bay? How to remain positive when writing your book?
I recently came across a free tool created by a chap named Ed Lester; it is called the Abundance Index and can be found at http://theabundanceindex.com
To make it clear, I’m not associated with Ed Lester’s site in any way. I’ve used the Abundance Index and found it useful, and I thought other writers might benefit from it too.
The tool isn’t specifically aimed at writers. It is there to help anyone move towards his or her goals and positively reframe their thinking. It aims to identify your strengths and the areas where you have room to develop. Although the philosophy behind it is related to the Law of Attraction (you know, things like The Secret), and may not be to everyone’s tastes, the tool itself does not require the user to believe in that philosophy.
The tool runs in your browser. You don’t need to download anything. First of all you sign up (yes, you do get sent emails afterwards, but so far not too many and you can always unsubscribe), then you give your responses to a number of statements. These are phrased in such a way that you can express the degree to which you agree or disagree with them. Before completing this, you can view a short video from Ed Lester explaining the process, I recommend watching it.
Okay, I’m getting to the point of all this. After five or ten minutes responding to these statements, the tool gives you a breakdown of those areas where you have a positive outlook and those where there is room to increase positivity and self belief.
The assessment is designed to be repeated from time to time, so you can monitor your progress. The site saves your results (you don’t need to give any personal information). For more frequent use, there is a tool called the Daily Dream Machine. Rather ambitiously the site says, “It is designed to put your subconscious mind in charge of breakthroughs and new ways of thinking that will produce stunning results for you.”
This tool does something clever; it gets you to think about both your strengths and areas of constraint, and to use the one to improve the other. It asks you to think about your objectives, and then to say what you will do this year, this month, and this day, to move towards those objectives.
It asks you to look at areas of constraint in a positive light, and to think of ways you can help yourself develop.
I’d say it was a condensed form of life coaching in a handy package that allows you to build SMART goals in a very short period of time. As the daily tool requires you to write in your answers and to use your imagination creatively, it is great for getting a writer’s mind working, and to kick-start a day of positive work.
In my opinion, so-called writers block is often the result of overly critical thinking, of a mental process that has sucked the joy out of writing. What do you think of when contemplating a project? If you are thinking of people enjoying reading your work, of the excitement of completing a chapter, the sense of achievement when completing the whole book, of money you will make, and friends you might find, then writing will be something you want to do. On the other hand, if you’re thinking negative thoughts, of the weight of effort required to write 80,000 or 120,000 words, of how you risk writing so much only for your project to be rejected or unread, of how little you stand to profit, and the scorn you might receive if your work isn’t well received, then inevitably you won’t want to write.
Getting a positive outlook, building up positive connotations between the work you do and the rewards to come, will help you to remain motivated day after day, to write and then write more, to keep at your work until it is complete.
If you use the Abundance Index tool let me know how you get on and whether you agree that it is a way to build up a positive attitude, and if that attitude helps motivate you to write.
If you have any other tips, tricks, or resources to share, please leave a comment below. I may return to this topic in a few days and compile a list of websites that help writers stay on target.