Sometimes all it takes is the first step to get up the mountain. Picture of Ashley finding her motivation as she struggles up some steps towards a red and white light-house.

This week, we’re talking motivation. I could dive right into a post about character motivations. But that’s not the motivation I’m talking about. This blog is all about that about the fundamental motivation to pick up the laptop after a long, stressful day of work and get words on the page.

I’m talking personal motivation.

You know, telling the little voice in your head that watching TV for the next few hours won’t get that novel written any faster.

I would be a liar if I told you I managed to write every night. Most weeks, I scrape together three work nights and a few hours on the weekend. It’s a decent effort, but of course I wish I could do better.

At this rate, I can usually put out a chapter a week depending on how difficult my characters are choosing to be. And recently, they’ve been incredibly moody which doesn’t help getting me into the writing headspace.

How do I get motivated to write? For me, it is as simple as making it a habit and putting words on the page no matter how much I want to shut my laptop. Of course, some carefully selected music, and the right setting helps get me in the headspace. But if I can motivate myself to open my chapter document, things get done.

Just like putting one foot in front of the other gets you to the top of the mountain, one word after the other will eventually become a novel.



It’s about time for a lab update!

I have spent the past few weeks juggling lab work, grant writing and the preparation of lecture material. And, as far lab work goes, it’s been a roller-coaster. Much like my writing has been these days.

Harvey and Lewis have been working diligently, but the molecules they work on have been temperamental. Some days I’m rewarded with great successes (good yields and clean reactions), on other days it’s a disaster. And I end the day in a worse situation than when I started. Those are the days I try to forget about.

Mike has been hard at work too. Though as usual, his work is much more dangerous than the others. He’s been dealing with explosive reactions, again. And while they have been behaving, the reaction outcomes have been a failure. I’ll spend a couple days meticulously tending to them making sure they don’t explode, only to find that the reactions have failed.

But such is the life a research scientist. Most days are marred by failure, and constant trouble shooting. Yet, it makes the days when you make a break through even more rewarding. Let’s hope one of those days in on the horizon!


Ashley's lab, an island in the center of the room with various chemicals and equipment on the top. Finding motivation at work can sometimes be a struggle too.