How “Shooting the Bunnies” Can Get You Over Motivation Mountain
Confession time - sometimes, I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I feel motivated to do is to write. Isn't that a terrible thing for a writer to say? It happened to me quite recently, in fact.
A few Fridays ago, I rolled out of bed and migrated to the couch with a cup of coffee in one hand and my computer in the other. I snuggled into my spot with the intention to write intact, but only momentarily.
I don't know how much time had passed before my husband came downstairs to find me clutching an empty mug while staring blankly at a dark computer screen. (It seems we were both in sleep mode.)
He eased the cup from my grip and cautiously asked, "What'cha working on this morning? Did you submit that short story yet?"
Ugh, taking accountability on days like this stinks.
"No." My response was terse and to the point.
He handed me a fresh cup of caffeinated magic and asked what was holding me back. My voice might have quivered a little when I told him the creative juices weren't flowing. That I'd probably throw in the towel and never write another word. Was I being a tad dramatic?
Perhaps. But if you've ever faced the seemingly impossible terrain of Motivation Mountain, chances are you understand where I was coming from.
Thankfully, my husband has an uncanny ability to simplify any situation. "Just shoot the bunnies." An odd metaphor for sure, but he's a dude, and it's one of his favorite bits of wisdom.
And if you can bear with me, you'll see, like I did, that it makes a lot of sense!
According to simplyrabbits.com, a mama bunny can average 6-7 (sometimes up to 14) baby bun- buns per litter. And her little rabbit body is ready to carry another batch of fur balls almost immediately after delivering a litter. A thirty-one-day pregnancy means one female rabbit could have up to 164 kits per year! So if you're unfamiliar with the phrase "multiply like rabbits," now you know.
But what does a bunny's breeding ability have to do with writing? I'm so glad you asked!
Bunnies are small and (obviously) plentiful. So, by my husband's logic, if we break down the task of writing into small, plentiful steps, we can easily tackle Motivation Mountain! What's more, is the fact that with every step we cross off the list - or to adhere to the metaphor - every
bunny we shoot, we've made room for new ideas and creativity to flow.
Here's how it works:
Start small. Jot down any little task that relates to writing, preferably the ones that take less than five minutes. Check email for any writerly news or updates. Respond to social media comments or messages. (If you must scroll, limit yourself to checking out a few posts from other writers and drop an encouraging word.) Log into submission platforms (like Submittable) and do a quick search for any new submission opportunities relevant to the piece you're working on and save
them. Once these things are done, cross them off and move on.
On to bigger things. Now you'll have a sense of accomplishment and a little extra room in your brain for some slightly bigger bunnies, like reading over what you've already written. Whether it's an outline, an article, a short story you started months ago, a poem, or a chapter in your novel, give it a quick read-through and make notes. Working on multiple projects? Go through each one, but remember you're just noting any thoughts, ideas, or edits.
The summit. You've crossed those little distractions off your list, and you've read and jotted down your notes - perhaps finding a spark of inspiration along the way. You've freed up some valuable space in your brain and can see the peak of Motivation Mountain. Which bunny, er,
project has a looming deadline? Hit that one first. Look back at your notes and make the necessary changes and edits. Polish it up, set it aside, and move on to the next.
Follow the process daily; before you know it, the finished pieces will start piling up!
Whether you consider it "shooting bunnies" or simply prioritizing tasks, the point is - get started. Trust me, once you do, that mountain will look more like a molehill, and your creativity will begin to flow!
Disclaimer: No actual bunnies were harmed in the writing of this column. (But Motivation Mountain was conquered!)
About The Author:
Andrea Hunter is a writer currently situated on her wanna-be homestead in the suburbs of Chicago. As she makes her glacier-paced migration west, Andrea dreams of writing from her future goat farm nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her work has appeared in Fauxmoir Literary Magazine, Sad Girls Club Lit, Shady Grove Literary, WOW! Women on Writing Magazine and various print publications.
Visit her website: andreahunterwrites.com and connect on Instagram: @andrea.hunter3