Strategies to Maintain Your Motivation to Write
Do you feel stuck in a rut with your writing? Do you struggle to even sit down to write? Does the blank page seem to loom over you like a cloud, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, and heading for Netflix?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Many writers experience this same struggle (me included). Whether you’re working on a novel or just trying to write an article, finding the motivation to get started—or keep going—can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that can help keep your writing motivation high.
Why Writing Motivation Matters
Writing can be a difficult task, and whether you’re an aspiring novelist or a professional writer, it’s essential to stay motivated. But how do you do that? Let the book coach help! Having the proper motivation for your writing can make all the difference in completing your novel or other written work.
Strategy 1: Set Goals and Rewards
Having a book coach who's expecting pages every few weeks is great, but even if you don't have one, setting goals and rewarding yourself for meeting them can be an effective way for writers to stay motivated and organised. Whether your ultimate goal is finishing a novel or just writing 500 words a day, setting aside time each day (or week, or month) will help keep that dream alive and give you something to work towards.
Reward yourself when necessary. If you meet your daily word count goal—treat yourself with ice cream (or a workout - whatever gets those endorphins going).
Strategy 2: Create a Positive Writing Environment
Are you ready to turn your writing dreams into reality? Whether you're a first-time novelist or an experienced writer, creating a positive writing environment is essential for success.
When it comes to working on that novel, it's important to create a comfortable space where the magic of creativity can take place. Make sure your chair's comfortable, there's enough natural and artificial light for you (I prefer warm white light in the evenings, other prefer cool white) and that your screen's at the right height—the top of the screen should be level with your eyes. Minimise distractions like the latest copy of Vogue (guilty!) or the new action figure you just bought (also guilty). Setting up your workspace with success in mind is worth the effort.
So grab yourself your drink of choice, put on some good music (if you can think 'through' music) and get those words down. With a little effort and dedication, you'll be well on your way to achieving all of your wildest writing goals.
Strategy 3: Take Breaks & Recharge
When it comes to writing a novel, taking breaks and recharging can be one of the most important steps in the process. For some writers, this step can often be forgotten or overlooked, but if you're serious about writing a book, then taking time out should never be overlooked.
As any good book coach will tell you, it's important to take regular breaks throughout your project and make sure you get enough rest during the process. After all, when we're exhausted or overworked we tend to start making mistakes and our creativity begins to suffer. So make sure that you rearrange your work schedule so that you have enough time for taking breaks from your novel.
Take time out every now and then to do something completely unrelated to writing.
Strategy 4: Break Down Large Projects
Breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks can be a challenge for even the most experienced of writers, but it doesn't have to be an overwhelming process.
No writer should attempt a major writing project without first talking with their coach or mentor if they have one. A professional in the writing world will help you create an outline that enables you to plan out each step of your story—I use Author Accelerator's 'Inside Outline' with my clients—and manage the timeline for completion. They will also provide insightful advice on what elements need attention and how best to go about tackling them.
Once you have a plan in place, remember that breaking down your project doesn't mean taking away from its quality—it means adding clarity to the overall structure of your work.
It's important to set aside time and commit to writing, no matter how much or little you accomplish. For instance, some writers find they write best when they’re on a tight deadline; others prefer to have more flexibility with their creative process. Either way, having some sort of schedule will help ensure that you never miss an opportunity to put words on paper.
If you're struggling to find the motivation to write, I can recommend two fantastic approaches:
The Atomic Habit
I'm oversimplifying James Clear's Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones but for writers it boils down to this: write one sentence (even one word) every day. Easy, right? That's all you have to commit to—one sentence.
1 Word > 0 Words
1 Sentence > 0 Sentences
Chances are, you'll carry on writing, but if you're not feeling it, stop. You're still making progress and that's still motivating.
The 2 Minute Rule
A variation on The Atomic Habit, but spend two minutes writing.
2 Minutes > 0 Minutes
Again, you'll probably carry on writing, but if you're not feeling it, stop. You're still making progress and that's still motivating.
Strategy 5: Connect With Other Writers
Do you feel like you're writing in a vacuum? Are your ideas bouncing off the walls of your imagination with no one else around to appreciate them? You don't have to go it alone. There are plenty of opportunities out there for writers looking to connect with other authors.
Maybe you need a sounding board for confidence or an outside perspective on your latest novel. Or maybe you just want someone to celebrate your successes and commiserate over setbacks. No matter what stage of the writing process you're in, connecting with other writers can be incredibly helpful. Whether you choose to join a local writing group or hire a coach (who either writes or trained to 'get it') there's no better way to get motivated and stay on track than by reaching out and forming relationships with others who share your passion for storytelling.
In my time, I've created two writing groups: Writebulb in Essex and The Hertfordshire Writing Group in—you guessed it—Hertfordshire. The Hertfordshire Writing Group's first anthology is out now, and every writer encouraged the others to get their stories finished on time.
But that's not all. Each month, we set our intentions for the following month. Here's an example of the intentions some of us made in January 2021:
Upload maps to World Anvil and label them.
Edit 24 scenes and plot a story for April's Camp NaNoWriMo.
Write a proper outline for my WIP.
Finish the new chapter plan. Stretch objective: Write some new material.
Redraft everything up to Act 3.
Finish outline for project X.
Write another 10k of my WIP.
Finish the final chapter of my WIP.
After the meeting, I posted the intentions on our Facebook group for everyone to see.
During February's meeting, we checked in with each other. Most of them complete what they intended and say, "And I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't had to come to this meeting!"
Conclusion: Stay Inspired & Write On
In conclusion, writing motivation requires a bit of effort to maintain but it can be done. Whether you choose to reward yourself for completing each writing task, use an app to track your progress, or join a writing group that motivates you, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself motivated.
But it's important to remember that writing motivation is an ever-evolving process. Take some time to reflect on what works and doesn't work for you, then adjust your approach accordingly. Who knows? You might even come up with a few new strategies of your own.
So go forth and write with confidence. The world needs more great stories and you're the one who can write them.