Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Staying Motivated During Spring Fever

By Mary Allen

As buds bursts forth, spring fever can play havoc with the motivation to write. Days of rain can leave you tapping revelry with your fingertips trying to awaken inspiration while warm, sunny days cause you to gaze absentmindedly longing to be “out there”. Whether spring fever, winter blahs, back-to-school blues, or writer’s block, here are some ideas I’ve used successfully to freshen creativity and re-stoke motivation.

1. Go ahead and get “out there”. Walking, gardening, visiting with friends, family, or grandkids, whatever you do, do it OUTSIDE. I learned in England that it’s okay to walk in the rain on a regular basis. (Don’t tell my mother.)

Research shows that twenty minutes outside causes a physiological change that stimulates the brain to creativity. It's nice to have my personal beliefs backed up by scientific research. The activity and fresh air also improve sleep at night, a known mood enhancer and creativity-builder.

2. Watch a favorite movie, the sappy, intriguing, or feel-good kind that stimulates energy. You know which ones you walk away from thinking, “I just love that movie!” (On rare occasions I have to watch two back-to-back to pamper myself out of a mood.)

3. Read a favorite novel. New novels can be inspiring, but old favorites can be left when the writing mood is stirred without feeling the book is unfinished.

4. Choose a chore, craft, or game that you can complete quickly. Completion can be a big morale booster. Take an area of total chaos and create order - wash dishes or clear one counter. A hug from the kids or hubby for devoting a half hour exclusively to them to play a game or eat a meal can crank the creative juices into overdrive.

5. Drink lots of water. The brain doesn't function well when dehydrated. Coffee and colas, consumed to keep going, dehydrate the body, so lighten up on them.

Often we tell ourselves we don't have the time to do these things. However, they are the very things that keep us balanced, healthy, and creative. How can we afford not to do them?

I'd like to know, are you struck with spring fever? Do you get a kick out of walking in the rain? Do you have a trick to self-motivate? Can you change your mood or stir up creativity in 15-30 minutes?


  1. Although I love warm weather and springtime, I definitely get more writing done in winter. In addition to the need to mow the lawn and do other yard maintenance, the lure of the outdoors in spring is certainly distracting. I've tried writing on the patio with my laptop... but it's not the same. So, yes, it's okay to get out and soak up sunshine or to go for a jog. It's even necessary. For me, the trick is to maintain some eagerness to get back to the keyboard to add those next paragraphs....

  2. Unless I'm on the sailboat or vacationing, I don't spend nearly as much time outside as I should, not even on nice days. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. Rick - It's so true that discipline is the key. There truly are so many things that pull us away from the keyboard.

    Kathryn - Do you write on your sailboat? That would be really cool and energizing. Or do you use it as an escape from the everyday?