This is a post about motivation.
When we started this blog, my intention was to post new content every week, ideally more than once. For several months, I’ve lived up to that expectation. I was excited about writing. I was passionate. I was motivated.
And then there’s the last two weeks — during which, as you may have noticed, I have not blogged.
We all go through periods where we just don’t feel like doing the things we’ve committed to, no matter how important we know they are in our brains. There are a ton of reasons. It could be anxiety about an upcoming situation. It could be that something happened that makes you feel down. It could simply be you’re not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you legitimately just have been too busy with other work and don’t have the energy left to write. In my case, my grandmother, with whom I was very close, passed away on November 1. I just haven’t felt much like writing since then.
I’m having no problem getting work done for our clients, but those tasks are things I’ve committed to do for others. There are clear and present consequences to dropping the ball there.
This is a post about getting your important work done when you’re the only one who can “make” you do it.
Each of us have different prompts that trigger our motivation. For some of us, it’s collaboration, opportunity and positive reinforcement. For others, it’s guilt, obligation or fear of failure.
Whichever side of the carrot-and-stick equation you find yourself on, here are ten tips to help you refocus.
- What parts of writing do you really enjoy? Focus on those things to retrain your “writing muscles” and get into flow.
- Go find a new place to work. Change your surroundings — especially if your environment is part of why you’re demotivated. Have a favorite local coffee shop?
- Interview somebody else you always wanted to talk to. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, maybe they are. Ideas will flow from them.
- Try writing a completely different kind of post. Instead of a regular “10 Tips…” post, find a cartoon. A video post. Draw something. Post a photo slide show of what is happening in your office. Break out of your routine.
- Sometimes you just have to force yourself to start and you end up in flow. Try to carve out time in your schedule when you do not expect any interruption at all.
- Ask yourself, what do you wish you had done before when you were motivated that you wish you could make use of now? Which fuel do you wish you’d stockpiled for a rainy day? Work on that now, to get ahead for next time.
- Find another smart person and just brainstorm blog post ideas. As you discuss them, you may find yourself getting excited about one of them, making it much easier to move forward.
- Make somebody else give you a real deadline. Arrange your workflow so that you HAVE to get something done or there will be a negative consequence. Trick yourself into feeling like you owe somebody something, as though you’ll lose your job if you don’t do something.
- Think about your audience. Do not take them for granted. If you always blog on Mondays, they will expect it, because they’ve come to appreciate you as a source of information / insight / inspiration. If you take them for granted now, they may not come back later.
- Don’t overpromise. When you’re first starting to blog (or to do anything), you’re highly motivated, and you may expect that momentum to last forever. But real life occasionally trips us up. Know that there will be tough times, emergencies and distractions. Get excited about your work, yes, but also be honest about the sustainability of your efforts, so you can avoid feeling depressed if you fall behind. Because self-imposed guilt makes getting back on track even harder.
And here’s a bonus one: Write a post about ways to re-motivate yourself to write. It’s quite cathartic.
What are some other ways you have pushed yourself through a dry spell? Please comment below.