15 Tips for Motivating Yourself to Write
For writers, hitting a wall is inevitable. Follow these 15 writing tips to find the motivation you need to let the creative juices start flowing and kickstart your writing process.
- Set writing goals. If you want to complete a novel but are intimidated by the thought of writing 65,000 words, set goals that are easier to tackle. Give yourself a minimum daily word count you need to reach. At the end of each writing session, record your word count in a writing diary. If you’re blogging, set an analytical goal of how many people you want to reach with your next post. Goal setting is a good strategy for getting to work.
- Set deadlines. There’s no better motivator than a deadline. Look at your calendar and set a due date for each chapter of your book and a completed first draft. This will light the fire and force you to put the time in every day. If it helps, pretend this is for a client.
- Write now, edit later. An essential part of creative writing is to just get your story down. When the words are flowing, don’t stop to edit. You’ll forget your thoughts and ideas and you’ll lose momentum. Get the story down first. You can go back and edit later.
- Find the perfect writing space. Find a spot where you do your best writing. Make sure it’s away from distractions. Turn off the TV and put away your phone. Some people find music helps their state of mind when they write. Try it, but if it’s more distraction than inspiration, keep it off.
- Remember that the journey is the destination. The thought of writing an entire novel can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Try focusing on the writing process rather than your ultimate goal. Be in the present and enjoy the experience of writing.
- Commit to a regular writing time. Getting into a writing habit is easier when you use time management skills and schedule a specific time to write every single day. Honor the appointment like you would any other meeting, and show up at your computer at the time you set aside, no matter what.
- Change your thought processes. Procrastination gets the best of every writer, but bestsellers don’t write themselves. Remind yourself that the only way to become a better writer is to sit down and write. Strengthen that will power to keep temptations at bay. Stop saying, “I’ll write tomorrow,” and instead commit to writing today.
- Join a writing group. Sometimes, writing for yourself is simply not enough motivation. Join a writing group that meets regularly so you are accountable to other people to turn in what you write. Your peers can also be a great resource for free writing advice. Join NaNoWriMo—National November Writing Month. Every year, on November 1st, people around the world commit to writing 50,000 words over the course of the month.
- Take five. If you have writer’s block, step away from your writing routine. Go for a walk or a jog. Sometimes just getting exercise helps open the creative floodgates. If that doesn’t work, come back to it the next day. Watch TV or listen to podcasts. Tapping into other creative outlets might trigger an idea. When inspiration hits, get back to your keyboard and start typing.
- Switch up your setting. Changing where you work can get you out of a creative rut, give you a new perspective, and kickstart your writing motivation. Get out of the house, away from your desk, and sit in a coffee shop or a library every once in a while. You might even find writing inspiration by people-watching.
- Switch directions. When you stall out during the middle of a writing project, change what you’re working on. Switching to a new writing style can refresh your thoughts. If you’re tired of novel writing, work on a short story. If you’re a blogger, try writing blog entries or a guest post for another website. If you just need a short break, head on over to social media and write a creative tweet. Sometimes you just need to switch directions and force your brain to think of something else before you get started again.
- Try writing prompts. A fun way to find motivation is to use writing prompts to ignite a story idea. Prompts are most often a short text passage that a writer uses as fuel to launch into a bigger story. You can also use a real-life writing prompt simply by recalling a moment from earlier in your day. Story prompts are easy to find online, but you can also be inspired by reading a newspaper or magazine to mine for inspiration.
- Reward yourself. Using bribery for a little motivation now and then never hurts. Promise yourself a sweet treat, a cup of coffee, or some little reward for reaching milestones throughout your writing session.
- Read a book. If you’re having a hard time finding motivation, pick up something to read. If you’re writing fiction, try a non-fiction book. Reading will turn off your creative engine and give your mind a rest. Absorbing the work of other authors can also serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for your own writing.
- Remember why you started writing. Remember why you started writing in the first place and refocus on the story you set out to tell. Visualize your idea as a completed novel with characters and a world you created. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment when you finish. Then, sit back down and start typing.
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