Working From Home: Staying Motivated

I’ve been writing from home for awhile now, and yes, there are days when its hard to open that virtual writing desk and write one more article on how to troubleshoot a clothes dryer or the best way to clean upholstery. There are even days when the bills piling up do not provide enough motivation to get writing.

So what to do? Sometimes, I’ll take a Five Minute Desk Vacation, other days, I’ll prowl around my apartment, check the fridge, check the fridge again and then cruise the kitchen for some interesting snacks. Does it work? Not always.  Sometimes, I’ll find myself back at my computer, tapping at the keys and thinking, “What to write?” “What to write?”  That’s when I take a real break, go outside, walk around and see what’s going on. Maybe half the time that helps, and then getting back in front of the blank screen doesn’t seem so intimidating.

It does help to write about something in which I’m interested such as careers, music, movies, theater, animation, fashion or computers, but a lot of the time my assignments are not in any of these fields. That’s when I have to bring in the big guns. Do the math. I hate math. I’ve always been craptastic at math because the numbers keep switching places back and forth, and I never come up with the same answer twice. Number dyslexia really bites, and the only way I survived high school math was because a friend who was tutoring me insisted that I check my test answers several times, using all the time I had until the test period was up. It worked because I usually scored higher than my tutor friend on the math tests. I hate math so much that when it came time for the university math placement test, my friends and I went to Collegetown to drink and came back with a few minutes to spare before the early morning math placement test started. I figured I suck so badly at math, they would stick me in remedial math anyways. So I think I dozed through most of the test, and then spent the last half hour filling in random bubbles. It must have worked because I placed out of math and never had to take it again.

Yay! Until I had to use math again as a motivator. Now, if I can’t get started writing, I will sit down and figure out how many articles I need to write to pay the rent, to go out to dinner next week with a friend, to pay the car insurance, to buy the new e-reader I have been wanting, to be able to do the basics like laundry. It’s easy to set goals — it’s just harder to meet them. A goal of 10 articles a day can easily turn into only doing three when the title doesn’t pan out, the references are thin on the ground, or I can’t take the boredom anymore. This is where my kindergarten skills come in handy.

The other thing I hated in school was kindergarten. All of it. Period. I had this teacher who would make us do these complicated art projects with multiple pattern pieces to be traced and cut out. I sucked at tracing, but got very ambidextrous with the scissors. So now, when I need to write to save up for something that I need like paying the rent, I can always cut out a pic of a refrigerator box sitting on the sidewalk and tape it up over my computer. Maybe even draw my face on it. Or I can snap a pic of a house which I have been lusting after, and tack it to my bulletin board.

I also try to divide up my day. Writing for work and then writing for fun. Writing for fun can be as simple as putting one word in the center of a page, and then building more words outward from it, Scrabble-style. Or fun writing can be making up a description of the next person I think I will meet at the train station, the grocery store or at the boutique down the street. Creating imaginary dialogue between two strangers I see in front of me will also work. Or taking characteristics of two friends and switching them in a written description to create two new characters. Or just thinking up character names that sound plausible and not made up. Or maybe just blogging about work? 🙂

Anything. Anything to stay motivated….

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