As any writer knows, there are times when you sit in front of your computer (or typewriter or notebook) and just...stare. And as badly as you want to write or be productive, nothing happens. You're just not motivated to write. Unfortunately, it can just be a part of the writing life.
I'm finding that since I have much more time to write these days, my motivation wanes more quickly than it did when my writing time was more limited. So I've had to develop tricks to keep myself productive so I don't sit around all afternoon and watch I Love the 80s reruns on VH1.
Editing sometimes gives me the break I need from writing while still maintaining productivity. And many times the process of editing gives me ideas of how to continue the writing or where to take a plot, character, or setting once I've finished editing. and when I'm editing, I don't feel like I'm wasting valuable working time!
As much as I value the time I have to write, sometimes when I'm unmotivated, I just have to do something else for a while. Sometimes the best thing I can do is walk away from what I'm working on, give myself some space from it, then come back to it with a refreshed mind and a new perspective. Even teachers suggest students should take a ten minute break for every hour of studying, so why would writing be any different?
Though it may be cliche for a writer, it can be helpful to take a walk when feeling unmotivated. This goes along with doing something else for a while. It gives you the opportunity to step away from what you're writing to clear your head a bit, then come back to it with renewed energy and motivation.
You should be careful about these next two tips. Each of them can be helpful, but they can also suck you into a black hole of procrastination and feeding into lack of motivation. If you're feeling unmotivated, try calling a friend or catching up on email. As I've said before, writing can be a lonely life, and by reaching out to other humans on a semi-regular basis, you may find that you find stores of creativity and the motivation to keep working. And the added benefit of communication with friends is the possibility of picking up great dialogue for stories!
You'll find your own methods to boost your motivation, and while I encourage you to use them, just remember that every artist, no matter the medium, needs a little bit of down time. A little time away from writing doesn't hurt!