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I’ve seen lots of posts on here about the best ways to motivate yourself, and some of them are really good! However, people work differently, they respond to stimulus differently, and they get motivated differently. I, personally, cannot stand making to-do lists. I hate them. So here’s my guide to getting motivated, the other way.
- Make a have-done list. - I simply cannot stand looking a list of things I need to do. It’s daunting, and I end up putting it off for ages because ugh, look at it all, there’s so much to do! Having it all there in one place, especially if you have a lot to do, can be quite scary. So don’t make a to-do list, make a have-done list. Your brain already knows everything you need to do, so start doing things, and then write them down once they’re done. It’s much more satisfying looking at a list of things you don’t have to do than things you do.
- Think about your tasks one by one. - Don’t think to yourself ‘I have to do this and then when that’s done I need to do this and then this and this and this…’ your brain will scream, and you’ll be weighed down with hours worth of chores. Instead, think: ‘I need to do this, and that’s all.’ What’s the most important thing you need to do that day? Do that one thing. Get the most important thing done. And then add it to your have-done list, right at the top, with a big fat line under it. It’ll feel great. For the rest of the day you’ll feel motivated because wow, you’ve already that big thing! And if you can do that big thing, you can for sure do those little things.
- Reward yourself only when appropriate. - Don’t be too hard on yourself, but also don’t let yourself get away with being a procrastinating little shit! If you know you’re slacking, turn your phone off, log out of facebook, take yourself to the library or somewhere where you know you’ll be forced to be productive. When you’ve done a task, DON’T GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Your mind is in such a good place, it’s feeling motivated, it can see the task is finished because it’s got a place on your have-done list, there’s no better time to move on to task two! Look how long it took you to get into the studying mindset, don’t just throw that away! Keep it going as long as you can, and get as much done as possible. Once you’ve truly burnt out, give yourself at least an hour off. Watch TV, go on Tumblr, just have a cool down. It can be quite draining giving yourself fifteen minute breaks every hour because your essentially letting your brain cool down, and then having to warm it back up again. Keep that brain hot!
- Mix up your mental and physical tasks! - I find this super useful. Let’s say you have an essay to write, pots to wash, clothes to iron, and a bedroom to tidy. Start with tidying your bedroom (if there’s one thing I do agree with, it’s that you need a tidy workspace in order to think clearly). Put some music on to get you in a good mood, have a dance while you tidy, and when you’re getting to the end, start thinking about your essay. What do you want to write about? What sources do you need? Start thinking about these things as you make your bed. Room done? Great, add it to your have-done list! Now sit down, and write down everything that’s in your brain. You want to write about the representation of masculinity in Medieval societies, that’s great. Write it down, and then Google! Never underestimate the power of Google. Do a search for masculinity in Medieval societies, go on the Wiki page to get an idea. Scroll, read odd sentences, read what interests you. DO NOT force yourself to sit and read through lengthy paragraphs. Just get an overview. Scribble notes all over a piece of paper that you always have next to you (but not the same piece of paper as your have-done list!). Now you’ve made notes, go and wash the pots. While you’re washing the pots, think about how you want to incorporate everything you just found out into your essay. What interested you most? What direction do you want to take? Pots are done! Great, add it to your have-done list. Rinse and repeat.
- Be realistic. - Give yourself one main task to do a day. The big one you know needs doing, yeah, that thing, do that first! You won’t want to do it tomorrow any more than you want to do it today, so just get it out the way. You’ll have lots of motivation afterwards and you’ll be able to get through all the other little things. Another important point: It’s not meant to be fun, so don’t expect it to be. Just understand that you’re the only one who can do it, and the more you get done, the better you will feel. Don’t set yourself 8 hours of reading and 4 hours of studying, because it isn’t going to happen. Set yourself 1 hour of reading and 2 hours of studying, but use that time wisely. Challenge yourself to see how much you can get done in an hour!
- Ignore my advice. - Like I said, people learn differently. This is just how my motivation works. If this works for you too, then that’s great! If not, well, you’re procrastinating, now get back to your essay!
Today’s one of those days where I just don’t really feel in the mood to get things done. Often times, it’s hard to pinpoint the causes. We wake up and we just feel like doing nothing. Instead, we’d prefer to take a break off or just sleeping more. Today’s one of those days. It’s often hard to pinpoint exactly why we feel that way. We may be be tired from yesterday, burn out from repetitive work, discouraged, or even being hungry? It’s hard to know, but there are things that I found helpful for myself. They may be helpful for you too!
1. Tell yourself to get even just a little done.
Tell yourself that you know today’s not going to be a productive day but you are going to do the best you can. This helps you acknowledge the problem and forces you to be realistic. Sometimes, people feel ashamed of themselves for feeling the way they do; but if you can acknowledge your feelings then it will help you move forward. Hence, tell yourself “Yes, today I don’t feel like working because I feel overworked, but I will get as few things done as possible instead.” You may not get as many things done, but at least you will have something done. Getting something even just a little done can make tomorrow less burdensome for you and help you progress closer to your goals. Take baby steps because those baby steps make a difference.
2. Get your favorite food or snack and put it in front your work place.
Maybe you’re hungry? Or maybe you’re just tired? Eating something you like can be a big motivator. Just having your favorite snack or drink in front of you while working can make you feel a whole lot better.
Right now, I am staring at computer screen and having some of my favorite snacks beside me already makes me feel a lot better. It also serves as a reward and makes you feel less negative about having nothing good in your life.
Fig: My Desk (July 30) with snacks :)
3. Plan out something fun that you could do later today; (aka: Reward Yourself)
Hopefully, you didn’t wake up too late that you will be missing out things that you could do for the day. Lucky for myself, I woke up just before 12 leaving me with at least 12 more hours to do fun stuff outside if I wanted to. There were past experiences where I woke up at like 5-6 pm and I felt even more groggier because I already lost most of the days. It felt even worse knowing that today’s not going to be a productive day and that I won’t even have time to do anything outside if I wanted to (since by the time I get my work done, it will already be night time and no places are really opened). If you can, force yourself to wake up just a bit earlier on days you expect to feel not good cause at least you can apply these steps above.
Hope you guys enjoyed this article and me rumbling about my bad day. If you know more tips to help be more productive on bad days, reblog this and comment.
Fair warning: there is some slight language in this post.
My name is Jonathan Ponikvar. I’m the creator of Peter & Company and an avid cartoon fan; I have been trying (successfully or not) to draw them since I first discovered the magic of crayons and markers. Like most kids in the 80’s I grew up watching a crazy amount of cartoons. My favorites were the cartoons and films of Warner Brothers, Disney, and Don Bluth, so my earliest and crappiest of doodles always revolved around those characters in some way.
As I grew older and began seriously getting into cartooning, I noticed something odd going on around me: the cartoon animal was quickly becoming an endangered species. The animal designs of the 80’s and 90’s TV cartoons were being seen less and less in modern times within the industries that they helped create.
How could this happen? Are people just no longer interested in funny talking animals?
Relevant to my series. - BHS
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mad-hunter2185 said: Many people think books written by teens tend to be weak structured and lack certain elements. Why is that and how do I avoid this?
This is not a problem with young writers; it’s a problem with inexperienced writers, who are also often young. It gets attached to teen writers especially, whether or not that’s fair.
Here are some links that can help you with structure:
- How to Creature a Story Structure to Die For
- The Best Approach to Story Structure
- The Eight Point Arc
I recommend checking out books in your genre of choice (and other genres as well) and take notes as you read. Look for:
One big thing that all novels hinge on our strong characters. Here are some links that can help you with that.
I got a lot of questions regarding how to write a good character breakdown. An effective character breakdown comes from a character holding in their frustration/pain for a while before they finally let it out in an extremely emotional moment. Sometimes this involves screaming, crying, raging—basically all the things we do in real life to let out stress and eventually feel better. I guess that’s why readers find it so satisfying; because we want to know that the characters would be feeling the same things we’re feeling.
Here are a few general tips on writing a good character breakdown:
Your character’s breakdown has to be built up first.
If your character is constantly crying and breaking down, we won’t really care when the next one happens. A breakdown shows humanity. It shows that your character has been fighting to stay strong, but they finally need a release. Everyone feels emotional every once in a while, especially when the odds are stacked against us, and it’s perfectly healthy to let it all out. Just make sure you build up to the breakdown effectively.
A good breakdown doesn’t mean they’ll be down in the dumps for the rest of your novel.
After a breakdown, someone usually feels relief. They might feel stronger or more determined to never feel that way again. Use this to help your character develop. Use this as motivation. If you have them wallowing in self-pity afterwards, you’ll lose your audience. Obviously a breakdown won’t fix everything, but it will allow them to release some pent up frustration and pain.
A breakdown is great when it’s followed by an important scene between the protagonist and antagonist.
If your main character has to fight when they’re at their lowest point, that makes the stakes even higher. They will use the breakdown in order to understand what they’re fighting for and find the strength to do it. It’s great when characters finally picks themselves back up and defeats the villain.
If your character has a breakdown that doesn’t mean they are weak.
A breakdown just makes your character feel more human. Use this to your advantage and show that your characters actually care about what’s going on. If a character is “strong” the entire time, it might be harder for your audience to relate to them. Show some humanity.
Anonymous said: Tools to Stay awake please; and focusing for long hours. While writing. I get sleepy all the time. I would like to get more done in my book. Then thousand words a day. Thanks if you can help.
Even the most focused of writing needs breaks, at least once an hour for a good 10-15 minutes on average. Not only does it give you the opportunity to stretch, eat/drink, go to the bathroom, etc, it also gives your mind a chance to regroup and attack again with more energy. Timers are a great way to get yourself trained into this, and you don’t have to start out in hour-long stretches. Start with twenty minutes of writing, and then a 5-10 minute break and expand from there. While a word count target each day is what some writers aim for, not everyone has the ability to dedicate extended amounts of time everyday to writing until you reach that mark. If you do have the time available, great. If not, working to get yourself into a sustainable routine will, over time, increase your productivity and word count.
As for getting sleepy — if you’re trying to write a lot over a long period of time without breaks, you’re going to get tired. Get up once in a while. Try writing while standing at a higher table or desk. Take a quick walk or do five minutes of stretching or jumping jacks or dancing. Drink something — not just caffeinated beverages, sometimes you really just need some cold water to rehydrate. Eat something — protein packed snacks can help boost energy over time better than sugary ones.
Overall, the key is to get yourself into a writing routine, and it’s going to take time and experimentation to find what works for you, and these are just a handful of suggestions. You can also do a web search for writing productivity as there are many resources out there with tips.
Hope this helps!