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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

In Like Again - IWSG February 2023


Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of  Alex Cavanaugh.  To find other contributors, click here. Thank you to the co-hosts for February: Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner.

For years, five days a week I’ve made it my practice to get up an hour early and eat breakfast, then set a timer and write  before work. While I’m proud to have maintained this schedule, complacency crept in. Five hours a week. That's enough, right?

Back in the day, I'd do whatever I could to find writing time beyond those scheduled mornings, but over the last two years my eagerness faded. I was going through the motions, snail-crawling along on my current project, feeling less than enthused.

Late this past autumn, I told a writer friend about my lack of inspiration. She suggested things might improve if I add a little more writing time to my schedule. “It will help you keep in touch with your story,” she said.

Time for a palm-slap to the forehead. How long had it been since I'd even tried to write more?

With my friend's advice at the forefront, I pushed myself to sit down at the computer after work the following afternoon, and the good news is I only had to push myself once.

That first time I wrote outside of my schedule, my story drew me right in. Three hours later I looked up blinking. It felt so good, I found myself writing on the weekend again and sometimes after work. I can’t say I wrote extra every day, but enough so I found myself awake in the middle of the night, playing “what if” with my characters, figuring out their motivations, backfilling gaps. As is often the case, the more effort one puts in the more successful one becomes. Now due to this extra focus, I’ve got a completed draft. It still needs an enormous amount of work, but finally it’s got some flow.

Lesson learned. I recite this mantra in my head now: If you do what you like, you’ll like what you do.

It feels good to be back on that page.

What do you do when you lose your motivation to write?