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Go Team 2023! Seek out motivation

When I coach writers, we always end up taking about inspiration and I always break out this quote from the author of Call of the Wild:

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London

Sure, inspiration plays a part in writing but you can’t depend on it to just show up when you need it. If you wait to be inspired, you may never make your way to the page.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for inspiration. Instead, you can take London’s advice and go after it with a club.

Luckily, that rarely involves using an actual club.

‘Going after it with a club’ means creating good conditions for inspiration. That could involve just showing up and getting down to work or it might involve research or conversations with writerly friends or going for a walk or using writing prompts. Doing any or all of those things can help inspiration find it’s way to you.

And in fact, if you show up and get down to work, you will discover that you can write a lot of words without any inspiration at all. You may not keep all of them in the document later but they will get written and you will finish ideas occurring to you as you go.

So, you might ask, what does this have to do with motivating yourself to develop new habits for your well-being?

Ah, well, you can’t wait for inspiration or motivation on that either.

You have to go after that motivation with a club as well.

If you are still in planning mode, like me, it’s a good idea to schedule some time to think about what you want to do and how you might make that happen. Otherwise, you (and I!) could end up just winding our way through the next little while hoping we will just suddenly think of the perfect plan.

If you have your plan in place but you wait until you ‘feel like’ putting in the effort on any given day, you may find that you never feel like it. In this case, going after motivation with a club would probably look like picking a time to work on your habit and getting started at that time, whether you feel like it or not.

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying ‘push ahead with your plans no matter what.’

Sometimes we need rest, sometimes plans change, sometimes we need to let ideas cook before we can turn them into a plan.

But, most of the time we know the difference between those things and the times that we need to go after our motivation with a club.

And if you *can’t* tell the difference right now, try resting for a while and then pick up that metaphorical club for a few minutes. Hopefully trying both will give you a sense of which one you need more time with.

Wishing you ease and self-kindness today and always.

Here’s your gold star for your efforts. 💚

A drawing of three small gold stars hanging on strings.
Image description: a drawing of three small gold stars hanging from the top of the drawing on black strings. The piece of paper is outlined in black at the edges and the background is white with small black dots. My initials and the year are in the bottom right corner.

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