Tag Archives: writing motivation

Day 38–Stoke your Writing & Running Furnace


Why is it that so many would be runners and writers flames die out after only a short time?

Mind-set.

Many runners and writers are sparked by desire. But the spark belongs to somebody else. They are writing or running because someone else thinks they should do it.

To succeed in running and writing the first word we need to toss into the fire is, should.

Replace the word should, with WANT.

We will not find the motivation to run and write everyday if we are only influenced by outside sources. These sources are called extrinsic. These forces may get us out the door the first day or week, but they won’t keep our flames blazing strong.

To fan our flames of motivation and devotion we need to be motivated intrinsically.

Our motivation must come from within ourselves.

Start with one of these motivators and stoke your fire.

Types of Intrinsic Motivation

Challenge

With running and writing we need to be challenged. Once we meet and surpass these challenges we are motivated even more.

Learning

Discovery is always available. It’s up to us to put forth the effort to accept the adventure and learn. Running and writing have endless facets that we can study.

Interest

If we are bored by something we will soon give up on it. If we are not interested in writing, there really is no reason to do it. Ask yourself, what draws me to running and writing? Get interested by reading and learning about running and writing.

Meaning

We can’t just think about the superficial attraction of running and writing. We need to find meaning. How can our running  help ourselves and others?

Purpose

Why do we write? Why do we run? We need to answer these questions honestly before  our fire starts burning hotter and hotter.

What is your intrinsic motivator?

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Day 31–The Quoteables


Having a good quote or saying can get us moving. We can relate. There are times when the perfect words or thoughts can help us push through our final miles of a run, or last words of our writing session.

Here are some quotes to get you started, finished and motivated:

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

Any runner or writer knows that they can’t always wait for the motivation. To be successful we need to get into good habits. Some say that after doing something for 3 weeks straight, it is a habit.

If you have been following this blog since Day 1, you’ve started a habit. If not go to Day 1 and start running and writing now.

The habit will keep you going.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
–William Faulkner

If you only run to win, you won’t last because winning isn’t enough to keep going. If you only write to be published and read, your steam will soon run out.

To keep your running and writing habits, do it to better yourself, not show others up.

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
-Lowell Thomas

Or do a little more than you did yesterday. You already know you can do what you did yesterday, so try to go one step further today. Chances are, you can.

“Every day is a good day when you run.”
-Kevin Nelson

Nobody can argue this, and if they try, tell them to go on a run.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin

And that is why words have endless placement possibilities. Everything has not already been said. Not every story has already been told.

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

If you don’t know how to rewrite, you don’t know how to write, so Embrace the Rewrite.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Remember to keep nuances in your writing. Say something like it has never been said.

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.  ~John Cheever

Never forget to use your senses and help others to notice their own. A story falls flat where senses are forgotten.

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Day 29–Twenty Things you can learn from this Blog


    1. How to commit to Running & Writing today
    2. How to find time to Run & Write
    3. Ten ways to keep Running everyday
    4. Why you should be Proud to Run & Write
    5. Ten Reasons to start Running Today
    6. How reading will help you Run more
    7. Seven steps to beat Procrastination
    8. 12 reasons I love Running Hills
    9. Fuel for Running & Writing
    10. Why you should pay yourself first
    11. Good Running & Writing Forums
    12. The importance of Variety
    13. The Perfect Writer’s Boost
    14. The value of a Musical Muse
    15. Five Great Running Pod casts
    16. Saving money with Running & Writing
    17. How reach your Goals
    18. How Running fights Negativity
    19. The Write Run Write formula
    20. Does Technology help you Run & Write?

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Day 25–The Writer’s Manifesto


“Real writers don’t write for recognition.
They don’t do it for fame,
accolades,
or notoriety.
They do it because they cannot not write”

These are some of the first words in Jeff Goins new e-book, “The Writer’s Manifesto.”

He also adds, “Writers don’t write to get published.
They write for the love of writing.”

This book is about getting back to the heart of writing.

The book is a very inspiring read, for newer and seasoned writers alike. If you are new to writing, it will set you off on the right foot, and if you’re a writer with millions of words behind you, this book can bring you back to the realities of why we write.

I liked the book because it is more of a poem, than a story or non-fiction piece. It can be read through in less than 15 minutes, but it begs to be revisited and pondered on.

There are many great lines throughout the book. The writing is crisp and alive.

For example, “As we care less about our audience’s affections,
more people will be affected by our writing.”

So I encourage any writer, fledgling or grand master to give this book a read. And did I mention it’s free.

To get your copy go to: Jeff Goins Writer

Please give his site a visit, read the book and then get back to me on what you think.

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Day 18–Running & Writing Progression


The late Ron Pickering, former national athletics coach for Wales, once said, “If you wake up every morning and go for a 2 mile run around the park in 15 minutes, you will become very good at running 2 miles in 15 minutes. But, if you wish to progress, some of your runs will have to be 4 miles around the park, and some, just one mile around the park much faster.”

The above quote by Ron Pickering is true, but at the same time we can still be proud if we are the person waking up every morning and running 2 miles. In a sense we progressed. We ran 2 more miles for the week, month and year.

As runners and writers we want progression. It’s obvious with any run that we start at point A and progress to point B. The same with writing, we begin with one word and end up with a page or 400 pages.

In writing and running progression is key.

With writing this is extremely true. If you wake up every day and write 200 words, you have progressed. You could write 200 words every morning for the rest of your life, and you will be further ahead than most people and a lot of other writers.

The point being start out with consistency. Wake up and write. Wake up and run.

Start small and aim big.

Write  one sentence today, 2 tomorrow,  3 the next day and so on. After 2 months you will be writing 60 sentences a day, a pretty hefty word count.

If you run 1 minute today, 2 tomorrow, and 3 the next. After 2 months you will be able to run for an hour straight.

Once you have a program, than start thinking about progression in other terms, such as writing more and publishing or running faster and winning a race.

Everybody has their own signs of progression. For one writer progression may be finishing a short story, for another it’s publishing the short story. One runner wants to run a mile without stopping and the runner down the block wants to run a mile under 6 minutes.

Progression is relative.

So how do you measure your progression? You need to look to the past. How much and what were you writing one week ago, a month ago or last year? More or less?

How much and how fast did you run last week, month or year?

The only way to really get a grasp of our progression is if we have some sort of running log or writing journal. Then, we can look back and see what we were doing last month or year. By looking back we will usually find that we have progressed, even though we didn’t realize it.

It’s like growing hair. You don’t wake up and notice your hair grew overnight. But, if you look at a picture from six months ago, you will see progression. That’s why some sort of running/writing journal is a must.

So look back. You will be pleasantly surprised that you have progressed. And if not, you will be motivated to start progressing.

How do you measure running and writing progression?

Writing Prompt–Write a poem about where you want your writing to be in 6 months.

Running Prompt–Look back in your records and try to run your fastest mile today. Then write it down and try again in 2 weeks.

For an awesome article on progression read- Progression – the key to increasing fitness.

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Day 16–Why Writers Love Lists


Years ago, I saw a book that was a list of the things that made the author happy. I don’t remember the name or author, but I remember the book was very interesting.  The simplicity and originality of it sucked me in.

As a writer I find myself constantly writing out lists of words I like, ideas, goals, books to read, authors to check out, movies to watch, and etc.

I’ve noticed that many blogs contain lists. I think the reason being that lists are quick and easy to read, catch the eye of the reader and are fun to write. That’s what I like about lists, the easy to write aspect.Check out this Editor Like List.

Here’s a list of why every writer should write lists.

  • Lists spurn other ideas
  • You can toss your grammar
  • And punctuation to the side
  • Lists create creativity
  • Gets everything out of your head and on paper
  • No two people will write the same list
  • No rules
  • They are disposable
  • Or can last forever
  • You feel like you are getting something done

And now here are a couple list ideas, in a list form of course:

  1. Books you’ve read
  2. Words you love
  3. Foods you want to try
  4. Poets you like
  5. Songs that soundtrack your life
  6. Things that make you smile
  7. Favorite drinks
  8. People you’ve met only once
  9. Most inspiring authors

The nice thing about lists, is that they are alive and in a constant state of flux. If you save a list you can always add to it, or cross items off. So the next time you are feeling at standstill with your writing, try a list.

What types of lists do you like to make?

This post was inspired by a blog post by:  Pick The Brain

Please check out my newly published short story-Just One Cup

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Day 9–Music that Prompts the Muse


AS I write this post the only music I hear is the sound of the city buses roaring down our street. I don’t need music to write, but I like having music when I write. WHY?

I feel that listening to the right music while writing helps me not be distracted by the other things going on around me. Music puts me in the zone I want to be in while I write. Also, music inspires, music is creation that can motivate us to create.

For example, how could I not be motivated by a line such as this one by Neko Case, “Can’t scrape together quite enough
to ride the bus to the outskirts
of the fact that I need love.”

Find musicians with lyrics that inspire you and motivate you to write. A lot of songs are like short stories or poems, and subconsciously you become a better writer as you let them sink in.

Also, the actual instrumental aspect of the music can prompt your muse. It’s definitely a matter of personal choice, jazz, indie, reggae, classical, folk, they all can be what the writer needs to write.

Here’s a list of my favorite albums to write to:

  • Andrew Bird- Armchair Apocrypha
  • Belle & Sebastian- The Boy with the Arab Strap
  • All Bob Marley
  • Charles Mingus- Mingus Ah Um
  • Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes
  • Jack Johnson
  • Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
  • Pete, Bjorn and John- Writer’s Block
  • Radiohead- In Rainbows

These are a few of my regular choices.

So tell me, what Moves your Muse?

Writing Prompt- Choose a favorite song and write a poem that includes your favorite line from the song.

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The Writer’s Boost


Writing involves a lot of sitting and sitting and sitting. It’s the rare writer that stands while they write, although I’m standing and writing right now (I take standing breaks by writing on our kitchen’s island).

Sitting equals physical stagnancy, and in turn this physical standstill can cause  a writing standstill. Many writers have found the way to beat this mental slowness is to get active. Of course, the perfect way to do this is to go on a run or even a walk.

I like to plan a midday run to give myself a break from the computer screen, and to get my blood flowing, mostly to my brain. Today, besides a midday run, I also did a P90X session (ab-ripper). This workout program will also get not only your muscles a workout, but also your mind. I came back from the workout, inspired and ready to continue writing.

If you feel you’re at a standstill for ideas or motivation, go out for a run or do some other workout. You will find exercise is the perfect writer’s boost.

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Day–8 The Writing & Running Spice


…VARIETY

If you were to write the same story over and over, each and every day, you would get bored and stop writing. So, why try to write only fiction, or only essays, or only poetry. By limiting yourself to only one form or genre of writing, writing can lose its excitement.

I wake up early to work on my fiction. But, I don’t work on the same novel every morning. I have a rough schedule of:

Monday: Novel-write

Tuesday: Novel-enter novel from notebook into computer

Wednesday: Short Story-write

Thursday: Short Story-enter short story into computer

Friday: Novel-edit

Saturday: Short Story-edit

Sunday: Novel- write or edit

By changing it up everyday I find I’m more excited to get to my writing.

I also do this with my non-fiction freelance work. I block out chunks of time for queries, writing, researching and submitting. And why only write essays? Try your hand at all non-fiction forms. Such as, profiles, interviews, service articles and reviews.

Writing Prompt–Today write in a form you normally would not write in. If you’re stuck in fiction, try writing an essay. If you’re caught up in poetry, write a short story. And, if you’re busy with freelance work, take some time to start that novel.

Running–In the world of running variety plays a huge part in  you sticking with it.

Imagine going to the track every day and running the same quarter mile loop over and over again. Boring. So, why would we choose to run the same 3 mile route at the same time every morning and at the same pace. We are creatures of habit and  that can be our downfall.

How do we pop ourselves out of the running rut?

Running on pavement can  get old fast, so give trail running a try.

If you always run on trail, go to the local track and do speed work.

If your a speed-work specialist, try going on a long slow distance run.

To stay motivated, all you need to do is change it up a bit. Run in new places and at new paces.

Running Prompt–Try to find a trail near to you that you’ve never run on. Go explore.

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Kick Start your Writing–Pay Yourself First


One of the oldest rules of personal finance is the simple idea of–pay yourself first.

All the advisers tell you to do it. All the personal finance papers say it. They tell us to put money in our own personal savings before we pay our bills, buy our groceries or do anything else with our money.

When it comes to writing, we are talking about time, not money. But, just like in the financial world, this can be hard to do. Our time could be used in some many other places.

Why do it?

In the world of writing this principle can be the difference between failure and success. If you are new to the writing scene, it may seem like an impossible task, that is finding the time. The reason being that we have the tendency to find the time by using what’s left at the end of the day. And this is not much. The thing you plan on doing at the end of the day–writing–suffers. Your sleeping or zoned out in front of the media magnet before your pen hits the paper.

This is why if you want to write, you need to pay yourself first.

How to do it?

In the world of finance to successfully pay yourself first, the advice is to make this payment automatic and invisible.

To make your writing automatic, try this for one week. Wake up in the morning, start the coffee and sit down with paper and pencil, then write. After a week hopefully this becomes automatic. You will be paying yourself first.

To make paying yourself first invisible, try waking up 15 or 20 minutes early. Normally, you be would unconscious at this time, so by using it to write, it is invisible. Extra time.

One of the tricks is start small, 5 or 15 minutes. Read a  writing prompt.This time is in a sense invisible, it will not affect the rest of your life detrimentally. But, it will help kick start your writing.

So try it out. Tomorrow, pay yourself first. Get up 15 minutes early and write.

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