3 Ways to Keep Motivated: Maintaining Momentum 

Now that Camp NaNoWriMo is over, I’m still working on my story. It has been a marathon, quoth someone who has never ran more than 5k.  I’m sharing three ways I keep motivated.

During the month of April, I pushed myself harder than normal to complete my goal. I feel like Zooëy, my cat, last summer after my cousin wore her out with a feather stick — completely worn out. 

To keep motivated I reward, rally, and face reality.

1.  Reward – The Light at the End of the Tunnel 

With one project last year my husband built incentive for me by offering to take me to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. When I asked myself, “Why am I even doing this?” It was one more reason to justify it.

2.  Rally – Figure It Out

Sometimes in writing a story things don’t come out quite the way you expected. When this happens, I try to rally my troops, i.e. the resources, be they characters, outlines, etc.

There is a passage in “A Circle of Quiet” where Madeliene L’Engle discusses character development. I can’t find my copy and can’t find the quote online, but she talks about how characters sometimes surprise the writer and don’t follow the outline.

Sometimes as I write a character and gain a better feel, they don’t behave like they should.

Other times I’ve found outlines to have tangents that don’t serve the end goal as well as they should. I save those ideas for later but let the story evolve.

When I rally, I make a new plan based off what’s working and what’s going wrong. Realistically, I don’t always follow the plan.

3 – Face Reality – Know Your Limits 

There’s only so much I can do in a day before I reach my limit. Once that limit is reached I stop gaining momentum in my work. It’s best to take a break or call it.

Certain things have not made the cut in the story factory I’m building in my life.

If I ignore the goal, I may run my internal well dry risking writer’s block or frustration.

In conclusion, by giving myself a carrot, adjusting my plans to meet the goal, and knowing when to stop I can keep myself motivated and maintain momentum.

How do you stay motivated?

Bonus: Here’s one of my favorite pieces of advice on writing.

For more advice from well-loved authors, click here.

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