We all have those days when we’re charged with creative energy. We’re atomic bombs of energy, split nuclear atoms of joy! These are the days that we call off dinner with friends because we’re writing. We stay up in the middle of the night. We blow through three chapters, call ourselves geniuses, and then drop into bed.
Then there are the other days. I’m not talking about days where we’re merely distracted or disinterested. I’m talking about the darker, deeper days when we’re ill. Or nail-bitingly anxious. Or depressed. Taking a day off or two is no big problem, but those days could easily turn into weeks or even months. And if you’re trying to forge ahead with your dreams, two months of no writing is going to catch up with you. You’ll see your momentum backslide. Worse than that, you’ll hear that nasty, negative little voice that says you aren’t good enough. You don’t take your craft seriously enough, you don’t work hard enough. Your hair isn’t shiny enough (or is that just my negative little voice?) and your commitments are building up on you, becoming more than you can manage. If you’re sick/depressed/stressed/otherwise incapacitated, this buildup is the last thing that you need. The more stress, the more negativity. The more negativity, the less get-up-and-go you’ll find in yourself. And a writer without get-up-and-go is a stalled, unhappy writer.
Yeah, I’m there. I’m frustrated that I don’t have the energy to work as hard and as efficiently as I used to. But throwing my arms helplessly in the air only made things worse. Instead, I have devised a plan using my trusty timer.
15 minutes a day on a project. That’s all.
If I want to do more than that, great. If I get inspired, even better! If I do 15 minutes on a few different projects, I’ll laud myself as a goddess. But 15 minutes is my minimum. It’s short enough that I’m not overwhelmed by it, but long enough that I can get to work on something. Getting started is the hardest part for me, and once I’m going, I’m usually going for longer than my 15. But if I plan for 15 minutes, and give myself a mental high-five when I complete it, then life goes a lot smoother.
Do you have any motivational
tricks techniques that you use to keep yourself working even when you don’t feel like it?