Every writer has their own way of getting motivated to create a piece of writing. There is no right or wrong way, whatever works for the individual is their right way. With the passing of time a writer may find new or different techniques that work better for him or her.
At the moment I am finding the following work for me. Some are ideas I have worked out for myself and others come from things I have read or heard.
Get Started Many established writers tell new writers to just make it a habit to write. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike, just write something. There are plenty of books, blogs etc with writing prompts to give one something to write about. Writing on a daily basis, even if it is only for twenty minutes, gets one into the habit of writing.
I have an exercise book which I call ‘Springboards’. In it I have jotted possible story titles, examples of word plays, song titles that could be expanded into a story or article and writing prompts that have caught my attention. I find once I start writing the ideas flow and then they build up momentum, sometimes taking on a life of their own. What started as one article may end up being two or three. The emphasis may end up being different.
Capture Those Random Thoughts I find it useful to open a new document and put down any random thought that comes into my mind. I also record any quotes that catch my attention if I am doing some research. Other ideas will come and I may find more quotes to do with the same topic which can be added to the document. In addition I find once I have an idea for an article I often come across a suitable thing to photograph for the article’s image.
Some people advise you to finish something once you have started it. However, if I don’t have enough ideas at the time I find it better to come back at a later time to add more. At that point I may finish the article or I may just add a few more sentences or dot points.
File Those Remnants Another piece of advice I follow is, don’t delete things you don’t end up using in the original piece of writing. File them somewhere as they may come in handy another time.
Go Somewhere Busy I have found I often get a rush of ideas when I am on the train or sitting in a park or café. Recently I have read a couple of articles which suggest writers go to a noisy place like a bus or train station or a coffee shop to write if they are lacking ideas. The noise, conversations and comings and goings are likely to stimulate creativity. (Can I claim the price of a cappuccino and a piece of cake as a tax deduction when I am a financially successful writer?)
The other day I was sitting behind a pillar in a coffee shop. I could hear a man talking to a child (it was school holidays) but I could not see them. I only heard part of the conversation and I tried to work out the relationship. Was the man the girl’s father and this was an access visit? Another possibility was that he was an uncle or grandfather. It was an interesting experience to only have verbal clues. In the end I did see the two of them and worked out that the man must have been the girl’s grandfather. Experiences like this can spark an idea for a short story or article.
Read, Read, Read Reading all sorts of material can help with the writing process. Novels, magazines, newspapers, blogs, advertisements, graffiti and slogans on blackboards outside shops (see the image for this article) can provide motivation and inspiration.
Edit Later I follow the advice of established writers who warn against editing as you go. It can be hard for me to resist the temptation to stop and fix errors but I make myself keep going so I don’t lose my train of thought. I can edit later but if I forget that great idea I may never get it back.
One can read all sorts of advice about writing, attend workshops and do courses. However, in the end one needs to jump in, start writing and keep writing. The more you write, the more you will feel motivated.