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I know, I know, I know…what we have here is another “how to” blog post about, well, how to do something. But before we dive into the meat, let me provide you the opportunity to learn another beneficial lesson within the lesson.
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To Motivate or Not to Motivate…the Wrong Intentions to Have
In Stephen King’s book, On Writing:A Memoir of the Craft, He says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that to be a good writer, one must read and write. 24/7 – 365. Personally, I agree with this, but simultaneously, I’m equally guilty for not doing so. Which is why this post is being created. I myself am searching for answers as I have been imprisoned behind the bars of motivation. Mr. King’s statement will serve as a key and foundation to release me and you, the reader, from the same prison if you feel as I do.
Up until now, my writing has been based on emotions or external drivers: “Oh man it’s sunny outside! What a great day to do some writing!” or “Man my dog just died…I’m soooo not in the mood to pen a piece today.” Though sometimes having these external drivers and best of moods can aid in crafting some of our best material, our writing habits can not be driven by such variables. As I’m penning this post today, January 16th, 2017, it is created from an objective, concrete base rather than subjective grounds. I will go ahead and list them for you.
Start by Turning on Your Computer
You have no idea how this is just half the battle. Turning on my computer and opening the software I am going to write on is a physical, yet inanimate authority as the blank bright white screen is begging me to put something on it. Even if I walk away after turning it on, before the day is finished, a complete set of lines, sentences and paragraphs will be littered across the canvas. The text can be written for a blog post, page for fiction, or whatever. But I promise you complete thoughts will flesh out the screen.
So for the love of God just turn on your computer. Or if you’re old school, place a blank piece of paper on your table with a pen ready to compose composition.
Begin Blogging, like IMMEDIATELY!!!
Begin blogging not because of fame, fortune, or traffic. Start one for ACCOUNTABILITY!!! Allow me to explain. There are many perks to writing a blog. I won’t spend time here listing them as there are many articles you can work and search to find what they are. But I will highlight one that doesn’t get attention often because it’s not really a popular one. A blog will hold you accountable because it requires you to be consistent and as frequent as possible. Sure you can curate any type of content you want to satisfy search engines: from audio and video post to featuring another post from another platform just to keep up with the joneses. But truly challenge yourself by writing original content even if it’s a response from another post.
I was listening to Joe Budden’s podcast, I’ll Name this Podcast Later where he mentioned how his son wants to follow in his footsteps: become a rapper. However, the funny thing was that his son was only motivated to build his craft when he knew he had an audience to listen to his rhymes. Joe laughed at this explaining that his son was entitled and when he was growing up, he wrote rhymes and practiced every single day whether anyone listened to him or not. He did this why? Because he simply loved rapping for the sport of creativity with words.
I use this anecdote to encourage us not to be hampered by, again, external influences, but to emphasize that blogging serves two worlds: consistent practice and making your writing immediately available for the world to see. In a sense, blogging would serve both Joe and his son’s perspectives. However, to build an audience with blogging takes time, but take comfort in knowing that no matter how long, someone will eventually see it. You may have to manually work it, but think about the library of content you’re building and what you can pull from when you need it to support maybe a social media argument or aide someone who needs helps. Your blog can serve multiple purposes outside of money making and greedy attention.
Ironically in me writing this, blogging gives you huge sense of immediate gratification if you need it. To have your writing available for the general or targeted public is a reward in itself. Plus you’ll satisfy Mr. King’s requirement of reading and writing daily. Read countless blogs to become a stronger blogger yourself. Learn how many are doing it “wright” and wrong to continue strengthening your own craft.
Set a Time, Sit at Your Computer, and Just Write…Anything
In my English classes from elementary through college and as an English teacher, I’ve been encouraged and encouraging students to write anything they want on a screen or piece of paper. My teachers would describe this process as “Free Writing” and it should be mandatory especially if you’re a self-proclaimed “type of writer.” Free writing lifts that heavy writers block, blocking a many hands on a keyboard, tossing it over a cliff so the river of words can continue to flow. So when the words, “I don’t know what to write” creep up, write the words, “I don’t know what to write” on the blank space in front of you and observe what happens. I double dare you, no Nickelodeon.
You may produce a song, a poem, an essay, a speech…you never know where starting with a few set of words will carry you. Often free writing is a time where you can run with randomization crossing the finish line to structure prose or a post. If you’re a novelist, business professional, whatever, this can lead to a beautiful work of art during the dark time of direction being absent. “Where am I going with this?” can transform into, “Oh I see where this is leading.”
Lastly, establish a time where the writing will get done. For me, early mornings are optimal for two reasons: I’m fully awake, mentally energetic and it gives me a sense of accomplishment before I really get my day started. See I also do web design, but if there are other factors that prevent me from web designing, then at least I know I produced some content already.
Now…about that Motivation
In closing, motivation honestly, is a cancer. I’m sorry. You may see it as my opinion, but from experience, I know it to be a sad truth. Often, it’s like a divorced dad promising his kids who are living with his ex-wife and her new boy toy that he’s coming to pick them up, but eventually disappoints them due to ridiculous reasons. And unfortunately, the kids have no control over their dads abandonment behavior. I too have sat at my computer allowing writers block to block my creativity, crying out for motivation to come and rescue me. I even tried summoning it through exercise, cleaning the house, or simply shutting down my brain not thinking at all hoping it would see my plight. Hey, some days it showed up, and other days it didn’t.
But like a deadbeat dad, sometimes you just have to, ‘cuse my french, stick a middle finger up and scream, “I DON’T NEED YOU!!!!” In closing, get a routine, start a blog, and for heaven’s sake…write.
That is all.