How to Find the Motivation to Write Through Tough Times
One thing we all can agree on is that life can be hard. Pain is powerful. Heartache is horrible. We do our best to show up every day, determined to present our best self, when at times, all we want to do is crawl to our safe place and wish the tough times to pass by. As writers, we must keep writing to continue to be there for our characters because without us, they can’t exist. And without them, to some degree, we don’t fully exist. But how do we find motivation at times when all hope seems lost?
Recently I had to say goodbye to my devoted canine writing companion, Marley. For 12 faithful years, not a day went by where he wasn’t at my feet, looking up at me with those big brown eyes that spoke louder than words ever could. He patiently listened as I worked through my prose. Gave nose nuzzles to ease times of frustration. Stubby tail wags to celebrate the accomplishments. The purity—and intensity—of our bond was stronger than most humans in my life. How could I go on without him?
I catch myself looking for him before I step out of bed in the morning. Reaching for the leash to take him outside for a walk. I still can’t bear to wash his little nose print off my front door window from his final dash at the mail lady. When I look out that same window, I see life moving on around me at a time when I don’t want to move on.
Marley was like my security blanket. Piloting life didn’t seem so hard because when things got tough, I had him to wrap in my arms. Together, we grieved when we lost Magnum, our other fur baby and Marley’s best friend. He was there for me when I lost my dream job, learned a new normal during a not-so-normal pandemic, and overcame health issues related to a virus that shall remain nameless. Now my security blanket is gone.
What I realize during this difficult time is that I need just that—time. I need to give myself permission to grieve, to process, to learn to navigate life without Marley at my side. It’s not a selfish act to hit the pause button. Emotions are valid. I cry when I feel like crying. Speak of him when I feel like speaking. Write about him when I feel like writing.
This article is the first I’ve written since Marley’s passing two weeks ago, and as I type this, I’m clicking the keyboard through tears, a snotty nose, trembling fingers. But I’m figuring out how to move at a comfortable and healthy pace. Learning to let go is hard, but I know his memory will stay alive in my heart, and it gives me the motivation to push the play button and type this message to you.
Whatever tough times you may be facing, know it’s OK to let yourself feel all the feels surrounding it. Grief leaves the heart in its own time. Have patience. Hit the pause button when you need to. Don’t feel guilty. Be good to yourself. I promise, peace will find you.
One step at a time. One day at a time.
Cheers to the new chapter that lies ahead. I’m off to continue writing in my story, for I have a new character to introduce. His name is Marley, and he is magnificent in every way.