Getting Work Done When You're Not Motivated

By Robecca Austin on December 18, 2018

Quote Corner

Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.

Alan Alda

I envy anyone who is consistently motivated. That feeling of knowing you’re getting work done must be a blessing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t granted that particular skill.

Yep, skill. Because motivation doesn’t mean execution of task or goals. It’s an edge of sorts, an advantage, that’s all. The writer wanting to meet their deadline, the mother of two holding down a job while kick-starting her writing career still needs to plant him/her butt in the chair day after day.

Motivation can also come in waves. Short or long spans of adrenaline. Like me, you may not be motivated to create every day, but you can use your spans of adrenaline to continue to produce creatively, long after the well of new stories runs dry.

  1. Keep A Note Pad. This often gets over looked and under used. When inspiration takes hold, ideas can flow quickly. Capture them. Full thoughts, sentences, book titles, scenes… write / record anything that helps you remember later and take your idea to fruition.
  2. Get Organized. Nothing is worse than being stressed about not writing or not able to write when you have a looming deadline. What about finding that misplaced scene – the one you thought that chapter needed or realizing you didn’t write it down. So now you’re trying to remember, but the scene doesn’t have the same fire as when the thought first occurred… a damn shame, don’t you think?
  3. Retrain Your Mind. If we all did things when we felt like it, nothing would get done. Therefore, creating new work habits are in order. This will take time. A writing schedule with self-imposed deadlines works for me. Then I put in the work and am rewarded with a sense of accomplishment with items are ticked off the list. The idea here is not to be rigid. It’s to remove the block in your brain that says, I can’t create because I’m not motivated.
  4. The Company You keep. I’m often inspired and motivated by others. It’s why I am particular about the creative groups I participate in. Inaction like negativity are not companies I care to keep. Life, my life (living with cystic fibrosis) is too short for anything other than reaching my goals. Guard your creative space and time.
  5. Reward Yourself. Do a fun activity. Read that book you’ve been thinking about after you’ve accomplished a mile stone. A reward doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, it could be working on something different, a movie, hiking. I hang out with my kids. Stop and take a breath, remember, you’re going for long haul, a sustainable creative career.

How do you stretch your creative productivity?