Motivation, that elusive beast… until you find a friend at least!

Motivation, that elusive beast... until you find a friend at least! // My experience with using a blogging buddy to help get things done. // Blog post and illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

Okay, can we take a moment to appreciate my rhyme in today’s blog post title before we continue? Motivation, that elusive beast, until you find a friend at least? I didn’t even plan for it to happen, it just did, and it works so well for what this post is about: using buddies to inspire you to finally get shit done! (Go me!)

Okay, moving on…

Wanting to do it but lacking motivation

I feel like we’ve all been there – whether it’s as bloggers or creators or gym-goers. We have the things we need to get things done, we know we want to do it, and yet we just can’t get ourselves to actually put it in action. Somehow, what starts as motivation and excitement for what’s to come slowly drifts into this feeling of impossibility.

I mean, look at this blog. I’ve planned launching atypicalnarrative since… November of 2016? I had the design done, knew what content I wanted to create, had plenty of ideas, even had a stockpile of drawings to pull from. But for some reason I kept feeling like I couldn’t do it. I would have moments of inspiration where I would work of things, but then it would all fall away and I would end up putting it off for another day.

It took me four months to publish my first post and, I’ll be honest, my main motivation was the fact that my good friend Josette launched her blog: Made of Mint. I had one of those “shit, if she can do it so I can!” moments. (And here we are, two months later, already struggling to keep it up.)

But hey, you know what that made me realize? Sometimes the best way to get things done is to brings your friends along for the ride.

Motivation, that elusive beast... until you find a friend at least! | Five reasons friends are great when your thoughts on a task move from excitement to frustration | post and illustration by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Friends who are as blind as I: click on the photo to be able to read/zoom the text.

Friends to save the day

After I published my first blog post, I realized I needed something (or someone) to help me keep things on track. I took to Twitter to request a blogging buddy and Inge and Iris both volunteered. We came up with a set time, an hour or so on a certain weekday, and devoted that time to motivating each other, discussing our thoughts, and getting shit done.

And you know what? Best decision I ever made for this blog. While I did have a lapse in content this past month, I am finally back on track after reaching out to Iris once again for our weekly blogging sessions (we took a hiatus while Dave was here).

You see, having a “blogging buddy” (or writing buddy, exercising buddy, etc.) is great for so many reasons:

Motivation, that elusive beast... until you find a friend at least! | My current blog buddy and motivation trapper: Iris @ eattrainread.com | post and illustration by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

my current blogging buddy: Iris @ Eat Train Read
(and her cat, Fury, of course)

  • Schedule: Setting aside a certain amount of time each week to dedicate towards what you want to do is so, so beneficial. Knowing that Iris and I are going to each devote a certain hour Mondays and Wednesdays towards blogging automatically puts me in the state of mind of getting things done.
  • Accountability: Of course, sometimes it’s tempting to just shrug your schedule off because you’re not feeling it. This is a lot harder to do if you have a buddy. Even if you can’t actually devote that hour as you intended because other things get in the way, it’s a lot harder to abandon it completely because you know the other person is counting on you. (For example, this week Iris had to work on an essay so couldn’t devote our hour to blogging, which was fine, but she still made herself available to chat with me which meant I still felt supported.)
  • Soundboard: Sometimes its nice to get feedback about a post before publishing it into the wild. Whether it’s struggling with what to write, worrying about a controversial or taboo subject, or just wanting someone to proofread, it can be great to have a buddy around. While Iris and myself don’t actually trade posts that often, we do often talk about the content we’re creating and share our general thoughts on the matter.
  • Motivation: Obviously this is a reason, otherwise this blog post wouldn’t make sense. Beyond the internal motivation that comes with having a buddy, you get external motivation as well. I love that when Iris and I are done with our hour we usually mention what we’ve accomplished and congratulate each other, even if we didn’t do all that we wanted. It helps you recognize your successes instead of obsessing on all the things left to do, which can sometimes be difficult depending on your state of mind.
  • Inspiration: I mean, geesh, without a blogging buddy I wouldn’t have this post, would I? haha. But no, even beyond that, you may find that your discussions with your friend may help you come up with something new that you hadn’t thought of.
  • Friendship: Lastly, and I think this is one of the best things, having a partner working with you towards your goals really helps build up a friendship. I considered Iris a friend prior to this blogging buddy business, but I feel it even more so now that we’ve worked together towards our goals. We devote two hours every week towards working together and I enjoy the chats that go with it – even when they go outside the blogging realm. ❤

I mean, I think you get the gist. Having a friend working with you towards accomplishing the same goal makes capturing the elusive beast of motivation so much easier. If there’s something on your list that you’ve wanted to get done but haven’t found the time/motivation, consider asking for a buddy online. I highly recommend it.

(And now, back to our regular schedule of nonsense content because this whole “tips/advice” post makes me a little squeamish. Since when do I feel able to recommend how to do things to others? I’m no role model!)

What do you think? Has anyone else had success wrangling their motivation with the aid of a partner? What kinds of tasks do you feel you need help getting done? If anyone is looking for a yoga, C25K, or art partner, let me know. While I’m working on sticking to a daily schedule in which they’re included, I’ve been pretty hit or miss on my own so far. 

Asti signature

Want more of my madness? Don’t forget you can follow me elsewhere:
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Or, if you’re interested in another friend-worshipping post:
In which I ruin my friendships by giving everyone big eyebrows

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18 Comments

  1. Love the drawing of Iris and little Fury! So cute!

    I seriously need a way of motivating me to do things sometimes.

    Iris is good at cheering friends on! ❤

    I’m glad you’re persevering with blogging, I love your posts! It’s OK to take a break now and then if you need it though. 😊

    • Thanks Chantelle! I love my posts for the most part too, so I’m glad I’m not the only one. 😉 And hey, you seem to be doing quite well motivating yourself with that event you’ve been organizing. I’m sad I won’t be there to support you!

  2. Firstly, the title of this post = so catchy!! And so wise!

    Secondly, I love that you linked your photo to your drawing! I couldn’t read it lol. And I love those pyjamas, they’re pink and cute.

    Thirdly, I know what you mean about being so excited for something and the drive slipping away so you become less excited and more frustrated. Me and the gym have this sort of relationship. I had all of these big ideas about going in the morning before work. I did that for one week, and then it became too hard and I was too tired, and there was nothing tying me to the act of gyming in the morning. I had no accountability for it! I still go during my lunch break at work, but it’s not the same because I have a lot more time in the morning and the gym isn’t as full. Plus morning gyming gave me so much more energy for the day!

    Having a blogging buddy is SO the way to go! I’m really happy you’ve found something that works for you! It sounds like you guys really inspire each other, it’s really nice 🙂

    I used to have a gym buddy, we split a PT together for 6 months. And it was the best. I HAD to go to the gym otherwise I felt like I was letting her down. And I never missed a PT session unless I was really sick. So it really worked. My friend no longer lives in London, and none of my other friends go to the same gym I do. But I feel like I could have a gym buddy that went to a different gym and we just held each other accountable. It might work!

    Arghh I really want to learn how to run! C25K sounds really interesting, I know so many people that have done it! I’m super scared of committing to something like that though because I hate running, with a passion. I have sever asthma, so running always gives me asthma attacks. I mean, running on a treadmill for literally 1 minute makes me really breathless, let alone running outside lol. But I feel like this is the sort of thing that would help me conquer that fear. Like the more running I do, the easier it will become, the more fit I will become, ergo the fewer asthma attacks I will have. But this is only a theory lol. I really need to test it out!

    But not this week (or perhaps the next), I currently have an inner ear infection that is wreaking havoc on my balancing skills and the skill of even standing up for longer than 5 minutes :/ I’m so over it!

    Do you enjoy running at all?

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

    • I’m glad someone actually noticed I linked to a bigger size of the picture! I wasn’t sure if anyone would care enough to check but I’m blind so knew if it were me I would want to be able to see it more clearly to see what the words say!

      I totally get you with the gym thing! It’s so weird how even when you know it’ll make you feel better and give you energy all throughout the day, it’s so hard just to get yourself to actually do it. My mom and I were really good for a couple months last year at going together once she got home from work so it became sort of like a buddy system as well, but as soon as she fell off I did and then we both ended up canceling our membership, haha.

      I would say give the gym buddy thing a go though, if you can find someone who’s interested even though they go to a different gym! I would think it could still work potentially as well as the blog buddy thing. There’s just something about having an extra person going “hey, we’re going to gym now, right?” to make you take it a little more seriously!

      I don’t LOVE running, but I don’t hate it. I think I just tend to get bored with it? (I’ll actually have a post about it in a week or two so don’t worry, you’ll soon get a fully detailed explanation of my thoughts towards it, haha.) I did recently fall off my C25K schedule though so may end up restarting. The nice thing about it is that it gradually works you into running longer intervals, so instead of just trying to run a mile and dying you get put on these little alternating run/walk cycles (so like run 1 minute, walk 3, repeat). It helps slowly build up your endurance and you can always repeat weeks if you don’t feel ready to move on. If you really want to try easing yourself into running I’d recommend it as a nice starting point, though yeah, can’t guarantee it’d save you from your asthma attacks!!!

  3. I love having you as a blogging buddy! It really motivates you to actually sit down and get some work done. It’s really helpful to know that someone is doing the same. ❤

    • If you ever want to plan additional blogging sessions, just let me know! I enjoyed having you as mine as well 🙂

  4. Asti, this is such a brilliant idea! I’d like to have blogging buddies, too. That sounds lovely. I like the idea of having friends who can hold you accountable to your writing duties. That drawing of Iris is awesome. I have quite a few writing things I want to get done. Novels, poems, blogs.

    • Do it Dina! Find someone online and bully them into being your blogging buddy! It usually works best if someone has a similar time zone as you (Iris and I are six hours apart so it can be challenging at times), but as long as you can find a time that works for you both and a method for checking in during, you’re good to go! 🙂

  5. I love the title! Nice work.

    I agree with you, buddies definitely help. I wish I could find buddies for more areas of life, haha. I’m so glad having a blogging buddy is working for you, though, because I love reading your posts.

    • Haha, what other areas in life do you want a blogging buddy for? A bookstagram buddy?

      (And thanks! I’m glad others seem to be enjoying the posts because even though they’re a bit different, I love them!)

      • Oh, just all the things I have to really force myself to do. Socializing, speaking German, applying for jobs, etc.

  6. Hey! That’s me! ❤ I am so grateful to have you as a blogging buddy, cause, honestly, I wouldn't get any work posts done without you. Life gets in the way, and having a set day and time to work on my posts (with you) works like a charm!

    • Yesssssss! I look forward to them every week! (And it’s even better because then I get the added bonus of reading new content on your blog <3)

  7. Completely get this. How much do I need a blogging buddy! i think an online one is a good idea, as a real life buddy would mainly distract with coffee and cake! lol

    • Haha, yes, it’s always best to be limited to virtual coffee and cake, otherwise it’s way too easy to get distracted from the task at hand! If you want a blogging buddy (which I highly recommend), but it out there on Twitter like I did! You may be surprised who will volunteer (and if for some reason no one does, go searching! There’s usually people complaining about lacking motivation online or in their blog posts, team up with them :D)

  8. I think accountability can be so important in accomplishing goals that otherwise feel unattainable. For me, I’ve made a commitment to my Patreon sponsors that I’ll share at least one new piece of writing with them every Thursday – whether that’s a poem or a short story or an essay or just a scrap of an idea, all that matters is that something is written down. That is incredibly (& surprisingly) beneficial, especially when life gets in the way & it would be much easier to skip writing for a few days. I’m so glad you’ve found ways to hold yourself accountable as well in blogging, & make some friends while you’re at it – I know I adore reading atypicalnarrative & would be really quite sad without your beautiful posts coming in on the regular! ❤

    • Ooh patreon! I’m not going to lie, I have had my eye on such a thing and may wind up opening my own account someday in the future. I just have not yet built the self-confidence to do such a thing. I feel like the only people who would support me on there are friends and while I appreciate that so so much, I find their words are enough for now and feel I’d have too much self-guilt receiving their support when I can’t currently repay the favor. But I think for established artists like yourself who have won awards and published pieces and all the things – it’s perfect. Your patreons are lucky to get extra pieces of writing from yourself (and it’s so amazing how they help you in return, even beyond their monetary contributions)!

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