How to Stay Motivated As a Writer
It’s a beautiful summer evening. A slight breeze is blowing. You would love to go outside and enjoy the day. Yet, you have a deadline for your current novel, so you’re chained to the computer.
No matter how much you love to write, some days it is very difficult to stay motivated. That’s normal. Especially for fiction writers, many whose deadlines are self-imposed, it is too easy to let the day slip, thinking that you will get back to it tomorrow. I know. I’ve been there.
What is a writer to do when you need to get your words, but sitting in front of the computer is the last thing you want to do?
Nine Tips to Stay Motivated
Here are nine simple tips to help keep you going when you find your motivation flagging.
- Remind yourself why you enjoy writing. Maybe you’re writing because you love finding out what happens next. Or perhaps it’s making the puzzle pieces fit together into a seamless plot. Take a few moments and write down the reasons. Revise it until you can feel the passion in the words. The make a couple of copies and post them next to your computer, by your bathroom mirror. Wherever you will see it frequently. Then make sure to stop every time you pass it and read it at least once.
- Make sure your writing space is comfortable. Whether you write at the kitchen table, or in an extra closet, take some time to make sure it’s a comfortable space that you enjoy being in. Nothing will keep you from writing like having to write in a place you hate. Hang pictures, or buy new cushions. Find creative ways to make the area as inspiring and inviting as possible.
- Change your writing area. Sometimes, a simple change of location while you’re writing can be enough. If it’s a beautiful day, take the laptop outside and enjoy the breeze. If your house is too noisy, maybe a trip to the coffee shop, or the book store, is what you need.
- Use a different tool to write with. If you normally write on computer, you might try switching to pen and paper. If you like using writing software, exploring a different program may kick the writing juices into gear. By switching how you write, plan, or research, you will use different muscles (or parts of the brain) that may help your mind make new connections, or connect you to memories of different times that will help get the spark going.
- Reward for yourself. Bribery can work wonders when you’re trying to motivate yourself. Plan an outing with friends, but only allow yourself to go once you’ve hit your goal. Or buy yourself that new CD that you were wanting as a reward for meeting your goal. Just make sure you don’t cheat and buy it before you’ve met the goal.
- Picture the novel finished. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and a novel can seem like a huge task at times. By picturing the finished project, you help inspire yourself to make it that far. You can take a few moments, close your eyes, and visualize a big box of books hot of the presses. Every time you’re at the bookstore, find where your books will be on the shelves, and picture it there. You can make a fake book cover to wrap around another novel and keep it sitting next to your writing space.
- Alternate projects. If you’re avoiding writing because you don’t know where the next scene is heading, it might do you good to start working on another project. You can alternate back and forth between them to keep the creative juices steadily flowing.
- Make a habit of it. Just as you will keep doing something that you know is bad for you, making writing a habit will ingrain that pattern into you so that it feels wrong when you don’t do it. Like Pavlov’s dogs, your mind will kick into gear faster (and quite often, early!) when it knows that it is time to write.
- Join a writing group. Whether online or off, talking with others that share your same interests will help keep you motivated. You might discover a new technique or idea that you want to try out. But make sure to keep friends and activities that don’t involve your hobby. they are essential for a healthy mindset.