Seeking Motivation


Seeking Motivation


As I’m writing this, it’s June 1, and I’ve told myself for months that on June 1, I will begin to write my next manuscript. It’s past noon on June 1. Have I started? No, I have not. Will I start today? Well, maybe. Probably. As a former longtime journalist, I often push right up against deadlines—but I do make them. Usually. Even if it’s almost midnight tonight before I write word one.


So how do I get motivated?


1.   Do something completely different for a while. Take a walk. Okay, so it’s 90 degrees out right now, sun mixed with clouds, going up to a forecast high of 93. An outdoor walk sounds a little intense.

2.   Work on something else. There’s always work to be done for my book blog (that’s what usually happens, I turn to my book blog. It is an immense, pleasurable source of procrastination). Look at the edits for my manuscript that’s coming out in the spring. But that’s intense too, for other reasons. Think about a freelance piece I need to write. Work on a different manuscript that might need some tuning up. Query agents and publishers about various other manuscripts (way too stressful, and anxiety-producing. The phrase “I think I’ll have to pass” has seared itself into my brain).

3.   This is something that works when I’m in the middle of writing a manuscript and I’m stuck: Have two of the characters embark on a conversation. Could this work to start a manuscript? Perhaps.

4.   Wait until later. After dark. Watch as the clock creeps closer to midnight. And sit down and hope the words emerge.


--Deborah Kalb


  1. I'm at the halfway point with a manuscript, and I'm feelin' the slog. I need to find the joy in this project again!


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