By Nancy Chadwick-Burke
It’s 10:00 a.m. “What’s next? How can I fit writing time into my day?” I ask, checking my day’s agenda in my head. Don’t make a busy day’s schedule a reason to not stay motivated to write.
I’ve been writing memoir for over 10 years and have concluded the following 5 suggestions to help you stay motivated to write even if you have a full day’s agenda.
1. Think of your day in terms of segments.
I segment my day, based on my volunteer job, my paid job and my writing work. Thinking in terms of blocks in your day is less overwhelming and makes it easier to juggle your “to-do’s.” When I get to my “writing work” segment, I’m less distracted and more focused and motivated.
2. Write during the time of day when your writing is the strongest.
I already know my strongest writing and best tapping of the keyboard is late afternoon so I schedule my priority writing at that time, i.e., finishing a piece to meet a submission deadline, edits and rewrites on my memoir manuscript, etc. Whether you need to schedule your writing time early in the morning before your house wakes up and you need to get to work, or after the house is asleep, write when you know you feel strong about your writing.
3. Prioritize your writing.
I’m juggling a number of documents so instead of trying to work on them at the same time, I prioritize them. Submission deadlines should be a priority on your list as you want to give yourself as much lead as possible to ensure you submit your best work. A close second should be working on your memoir manuscript. I consider my manuscript a very close family member whom I always want to visit and nurture. I want to see it grow and mature and find its place in the world. Writing priorities keep me motivated to “get to it” and write.
4. Vary your writing interests.
By this, I mean blog, write short memoir pieces for submission, write an op/ed essay for your local paper, write a comment on someone else’s blog. The point is the more you write for different purposes, the more interest you generate to write. This should keep you motivated.
5. Read anything you can get your hands on.
I’m an avid reader anyway, so picking up an article I find curious is habitual for me. (For example, I found a study of nursing practices as applied to the LGBT community in a trade journal for nurses while I was volunteering at a skilled nursing/rehab center). Reading this study sparked thoughts of my own experiences working with a person who is different from me. I realized we were the same in many ways. What a life lesson to write about! Keeping well-rounded in your reading does encourage more writing, aiding in motivation.
This may sound a lot to incorporate in to your writing but if you can learn to do any of the suggestions above, your motivation should inspire you to create your best work yet.
Our Guest Blogger ~ Nancy Chadwick-Burke got her first ad agency job right after college at Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago. After working ten years in advertising, she could not get to where she wanted to be so she turned to the banking industry, and not getting there either, she realized she wasn’t a banker but worked for a bank. So Nancy quit working full-time to write, finding inspiration from her years spent in Chicago, one of two of her “best” cities, with an intermediate stop in San Francisco, her other “best” city.
Her essay and memoir writing, opinions, and letters have appeared in North Shore Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, Triblocal.com and TheDiaryBank.com. Her memoir, Under the Birch Tree, which is most sensitive to human interaction, is currently getting to where it wants to be, too.
Visit Nancy’s blog at http://morememoir.wordpress.com