Motivation for writers and those working at home

How do you get motivated when the internet (Pinterest! DIY blogs! Twitter links! Ack!) and on-demand television seem so much more alluring than writing or whatever you’re supposed to be doing?

When my boyfriend was unemployed, I saw him waste entire days getting sucked into movies or TV series marathons, and (although I generally dislike most TV) I am well aware of how easy it can be for the hours to evaporate unnoticed. So I have pledged, and thus far in this month of joblessness held fast to, no television before evening and thus have at least accomplished a few things every day.

What I need to do now is to turn off the wireless and write (maybe with a timer?) without the constant distraction of email, Facebook notifications, the abyss that is Pinterest… Gah! I did set myself up a home office upstairs in the guest room/music room/craft room, with a real desk, but somehow I always end up on the couch. With the internet on. Bad girl.

“Flylady,” the “home executive” organization website, advocates putting on real shoes as the most important step in getting yourself going. Since I typically go Japanese-style at home and remove shoes at the door (way more hygenic, by the way), this particular suggestion doesn’t really work for me, but I find that the big step of putting my contact lenses in (my “eyes” as my mom would say) somehow signals to my brain that it’s not lazing-around time any more. Some days the glasses stay on longer than others; perhaps that’s another item I should add to my “schedule”!

The threat of having no income is sufficient for many, and will be way more frightening for me as soon as my severance runs out.ย  A friend who is a self-employed textile artist and seamster, who “homesteads” (as the self-sufficiency movement is being dubbed), gets herself motivated every day because otherwise she won’t have anything to eat. Literally. Today, or next month, or next winter, or pretty much ever, since she bakes, grows, and/or preserves most of her own food. That is a lot of pressure, and a pretty convincing argument. (You argue with yourself, too, right; it’s not just me?)

Another friend swears by the “done” list instead of a to-do list. I have tried this, particularly on major chore days, and it is definitely effective for me. The to-do list is always incredibly daunting; of course, I include just about everything that should be done, rather than making an achievable plan… maybe not smart. The “done” list works well especially if you break tasks down into small parts. I could write in and check off “clean bathroom” but how much more satisfying is “sweep bathroom floor (check)/ mop bathroom floor (check)/ bathroom surfaces (or even sink/toilet/scrub tub!) (check), etc.? This might be difficult to apply to writing, though; “printed query letter / signed query letter /mailed query letter” might be reaching a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you have any special tips and tricks to keep you going please comment!

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3 Comments

Filed under Self-employment

3 responses to “Motivation for writers and those working at home

  1. Oh the tips and tricks and ideas! But really, I have two to share. First, for writing, there is something called Write or Die. You set a timer and you set a few other things and you have to keep writing inside those parameters or you literally lose everything you’ve just written. There is a free version in addition to the purchase version.
    Second, I don’t know what browser you use, but I have migrated over to Google Chrome. Chrome has an add-on called Stay Focused you can install. You list specific websites to limit your time on, then you specify how much time you’re allowed for the sum total of those sites, then you specify what hours of the day you want it to track. I have it set up at work in addition to home with a half hour limit for facebook, pinterest and Angry Birds app. Yes, there are ways “around” it at work and yes you can always use a second browser, but I personally don’t get hung up on fb games in IE because they take too long and pinning isn’t nearly as fun either, don’t know why. Let me know how it goes!!

  2. Thanks so much! I love both of these ideas, although I don’t want to pay for a solution, of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ — I haven’t tried Chrome, being a Firefox girl, but that is a really sweet tool. Rock on!

    • Oh, and another thing I set up, but have yet to use, because I am just *that* lazy – I set up a second “user” account on my laptop and then changed the Chrome setting on that one to not allow me on any of those websites for more than like 10 minutes a day. That way it wouldn’t be as limiting if I wasn’t trying to write, but would be extremely limiting if I was. Just another thought. ๐Ÿ™‚

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