Just like most things in life (going to the gym, making home repairs, paying down credit card debt) seeing results can be motivating. Keeping tabs on your progress can magnify the light at the end of the tunnel.
Start recording your daily word count progress. I do this in excel so I can keep a running total and plot my progress graphically. Hey, I'm an engineer, it's what I do.
I absolutely love this painting. I first found it when it was on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Houston. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me at that time. However, I saw it again when I went to the Met in NYC (and being a tourist) had a camera with me and got the shot.
Although this is a portrait, there is also a dramatic story told behind the subject being painted. So much fodder for a short story!
Some of you may remember an earlier post of mine on how writer's block doesn't really exist. Unfortunately, burnout, self-doubt, and laziness do exist. These are the brick that comprise that writing wall that myself and so many others have butted up against.
Here are some strategeries to help you scale the writing wall you've run into:
Reverse psychology: Give you're self a dead line for "not-writing." If you're completely unmotivated to write, give you're self a directive that you ARE NOT allowed to write for the next 3 days (or one week). During this period of time you are absolutely prohibited from even making outline notes or documenting any plot bunnies. The idea here is that the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest and most desired. If you're not allowed to write, hopefully that will be the very first thing you want to do the next morning. By the time the writing ban has been lifted you should be chomping at the bit to lay down some words on paper.
Dangling the Carrot: Promise yourself a reward for getting a predetermined amount of words down on the page. For example, once you complete 10k words, go buy yourself a box of those frozen cream puffs or take yourself out to eat. The catch is that those 10k words must comprise a coherent story line, they can't be the same word 10,000 times.
Punishment: Need something a little more severe than a carrot? Try denying yourself something until you get some writing done. No cocktails or chocolate or fried food (whatever your vice) until you put down that 10k.
Throw Yourself a Bone: You may have a general idea of what you want to write about and maybe even where you want to start, but your mind digs in its heels every time you sit down to your computer in hopes of generating some word count. Begin by writing 3 sentences...no more...no less! Even after those three are put to paper, you are not allowed to continue till the next day. When you come back to those 3, the words should flow out more easily since the ball is already rolling. Sometimes those sentences are the little hurdle you need to get over and convince your brain that it's not going to be all that bad after all. This method is similar to reverse psychology, just with a slightly different approach.
These are just a few of the swift kicks in the pants I've used to get my fingers working over my keyboard. What do you do to keep your fingers flying?