I’ve been a travel writer for coming up on four years now and there’s no doubt it was the best decision I ever made. Nothing beats making money doing something that you are passionate about. Although I have now sold close to 500 articles, I still get a buzz when an editor sends me a link to one of my newly published works. Although I’m living the dream, there are occasions when I struggle with motivation. I sit down at my laptop and just can’t focus. I check out Twitter, email a friend and get myself a coffee—anything to avoid writing! As a travel writer, I am more often than not located somewhere beautiful where the sun is shining and a walk along the beach is a tempting alternative to sitting in my room typing away. So what’s the best way to motivate yourself if you are struggling to concentrate and you just can’t get those creative juices flowing? Here are six tips to help you refocus:
1. Give yourself a break
Creativity ebbs and flows—sometimes you can be on a roll and other times, it’s a challenge to string just a few words together. If you’ve been putting the hours in and things still aren’t coming together, it could be that you just need a break. Take a stroll or maybe a nap. Recognise when you need to walk away from the task at hand for an hour or two. Recharge. Re-energise.
2. Create goals to motivate you
A deadline should be the biggest motivation, but make smaller goals too and allow yourself rewards for reaching them. For example, I will treat myself to a movie or nice dinner if I have completed an article or section of a travel guide by the end of the day. Small goals broken down into components are easier to manage.
3. Write about your passions
Even when you are a travel writer, you won’t always be engaged in what you are writing about. Churning out hotel and restaurant reviews isn’t as exciting as recounting the hike you took to Machu Picchu or that amazing road trip across Australia. Although it won’t always be possible, try and secure work that ignites the fire in your belly. Writing will be so much more enjoyable and easier too.
4. Remove all distractions
Admittedly, it isn’t always possible to attain the perfect working conditions when you are on the road. I’ve occasionally been in a hotel room attempting to write while my partner has been watching TV—not conducive to productivity! Leaving a phone on can be distracting, as can notifications on your laptop. If you can, turn everything off so that you can totally focus.
5. Try to construct your days effectively
Unless you have a really tight deadline, construct your days so that you have a good work/leisure balance. If I am traveling, I will usually do something fun in the morning such as explore a new city or take a hike and then spend the afternoon writing. Not only do I obtain new material, but I am not overworked and able to be more productive and inspired.
6. Focus on the bigger picture
The most important thing is to get things into perspective. I remind myself that I am doing what I have always dreamed about—sharing my adventures and knowledge of travel through the written word. The rewards that I reap from writing allow me to explore the planet and live a life of freedom that I never thought was possible. That is the biggest motivation of all. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]