We've all been there--that place where we get stuck, can't move, or have no more desire. A lack of motivation is especially tragic for a writer. Whole stories can gang up on us inside our heads and there's nothing we can do to drown out the noise they make.
What is motivation? Where does it come from and what can we do to keep it going? I've asked this of several writers. For those looking for a strategy to keep the momentum moving, take a page from their books:
"Inspiration gets me writing. It could be something I see from the window of the bus or might be an idea I get whilst watching TV. Inspiration can hit in the dungeon of Club Lash or in the queue at the supermarket. When motivation is lacking the honest answer is I procrastinate and eventually something I hate more needs to be done, so I'll write instead. It's not an approach I'd recommend, but it sort of works for me. But when push comes to shove, the best motivation is a deadline!" -- Victoria Blisse
"My motivation to write is pretty simple. This is my career. If I don't write, I don't get paid. Because the topics I write are so diverse--from real estate and business, to relationships and parenting, as a 'vanilla' freelancer, as well as the erotica and BDSM info I write as Kayla Lords--it's almost impossible to get bored or lose motivation. When I don't feel like writing on a particular topic--or the voices in my head go quiet--I pick up a different subject fro the day. Either way, I keep writing. At the end of the day, a writer writes. It doesn't matter what's it's about. Getting the words on the screen/paper most important.
When I lose my motivation to publish books--which has happened recently--I reach out to my most loyal readers. I try to keep it real on my blog, so while I'm usually writing something steamy and juicy, I'll also share my feelings and my life. They're the ones who give me the push I need to get back on track. Of course, it helps to also have a Dominant partner who'll (figuratively) kick my butt too." --Kayla Lords
"I just need to be breathing to be motivated to write. I'm totally addicted, and I get really twitchy if I have to go a couple of days without writing. A good day is when I wake up and have nothing else on my agenda but to write. A bad day is when things interfere with my addition. Those are the days when I try to make sure I at last manage a little bit of writing-- even a half hour ill make me feel better. I also find I cope better if I work out regularly or go for long walks. That keeps me from totally losing it on the days when I really can't write."--KD Grace
"I think there's an innate need in human beings to strive and create. With some people it manifests as building bridges, or making music, or landscaping--or hell--even making babies. I think that desire is an imprint of the divine--whatever for that 'higher power' may be. It's in all of us, and mine manifests itself in writing sexy stories. I've always been an avid reader and a pervert, so it only makes sense, right?
"For me, a detailed plot outline is incredibly important for getting out of the inspiration doldrums. The outline tells me what I have to write in order to get from A to B, and even I'm not spewing inspired prose in the process; it at least gives me a skeleton of the right words. Then I can come back and flesh it out during the editing phase. It also helps that I freaking hate being a quitter. Failing is OK. You can learn from failing. But quitting? The only thing you learn from quitting is how to be a quitter." --Logan Black
"I do procrastinate quite a lot. Having the laptop connected to the internet isn't a good idea as there is always something you were meaning to look up or needing to so, and days can just fly by that way. Sometimes I don't feel the urge to write. I never beat myself up if i don't meet a self imposed writing target; I don't see the point. Although I do get frustrated with myself if I have periods of times when I'm not very productive.
If I need a boot I tend to spend time looking at photos of people I'm attracted to, remembering past experiences and watching a few naughty videos; maybe a romantic movie or two just to get the ideas flowing. I also find a walk in the fresh air can help de-clutter the mind and focus on what you need to get done. If all else fails, disconnecting from the internet and put on some headphones to drown out the household noise." --Charlie Hadley
"My main motivation to write is simply all the thoughts that are constantly going on inside my head. I think of stories all the time, and when I read or watch stories that other people have made, I think of ways that things could have been better, or simply different.
Like most writers, I write because I have to. For me it's not so much that I lose motivation to write as that I lose the energy. Working a day jobs saps a lot of my time and energy. When I don't feel up to writing but I know that I need write anyway, what I do is that I force myself to turn on the computer, open my current project, and to write just one word. It's easy. It's simple. Anybody can write just one word. Of course, once I've written that one word, I tend to write another word and a new sentence, then a paragraph, and pretty soon it's all pouring out of me." --Richard Bacula
"Motivation is something that I really struggle with as a writer. I have way too much going on in my private life, which is a constant distraction. I have to remind myself that I'm only truly happy when I'm creating something, even if it's only a few words at time. Each word is part of the larger picture--my end result. I force myself to make time to write, but when I'm unable to find the spark that I need because I've been trying too hard on a particular story, I simply switch gears. I find a new story to write about or work on other writing related activities like beta reading or blogging. At least then, if I'm not adding to my own big picture, I can at least help with someone else's." --Angora Shade