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Are you running low on writing motivation?
It happens to the best of us, so no judgment here! In fact, if you didn’t feel ebbs and flows in your desire to write, you wouldn’t be human.
The important thing is to recognize your lack of motivation, refuse to dwell on it, and seek a solution to get through it. The worst thing you can do is start tweeting about your lack of motivation and making writer’s block a part of your identity.
While you don’t always choose to feel unmotivated, it’s always a choice to push through it.
Here are 33 doses of writing motivation to get you back on track.
Write somewhere different
Writing in the same location is an important part of productivity for some writers. However, switching up the place you write in can give your brain a sense of novelty and spike your creativity.
This can be as simple as writing in a different room in your house or as elaborate as taking a vacation to an inspirational location. You can always choose a middle ground and work in a cafe you’ve never been to before.
Try a new writing app
There is a vast number of specialist writing tools and apps out there. Making a switch, even temporarily, from your usual choice can help you feel more motivated.
If you write in a fairly conventional app, why not try a fun, gamified writing tool instead? Or if you find the businesslike environment of Google Docs or Word to be uninspiring, give a minimalist, zen-like writing tool a try.
Use a new writing device
Sometimes, sitting down at the same old computer feels tedious. If you want to experience something new, try outlining some work on your phone or tablet.
It’s not ideal for long writing sessions, but using a mobile device can give you the impetus to start outlining, allowing you to then return to your main writing device to continue your project once you’ve made an initial breakthrough.
Set a writing streak
Some writers find setting an unbroken streak to be an effective way to stay productive. Try marking all your writing days on a calendar or a whiteboard.
Even when you find yourself low on motivation, you might find your desire to keep your unbroken streak outweighs your desire to stop writing.
Write by hand
A lot of writers swear by the power of writing by hand, especially if they usually write using a computer or other digital tool.
Try finding a nice pen you enjoy the feel of using and a notebook that gives you joy to write in. This can unlock your creativity and give you the motivation to make progress on your writing projects.
Make a bet
If you’re the type of person who’s competitive and hates the thought of losing, consider making a bet with another writer or even a friend or spouse.
This bet doesn’t have to be financial. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be. Instead, have some fun and offer to buy them a cup of coffee if you can’t achieve your writing target for the day. This should only be used sparingly as you don’t want to come to rely on betting to feel motivated to write!
Partner with another writer
Having a writing partner is a great way to feel motivated to write. It’s a little like if you have someone to exercise with. It’s a lot easier to simply not do something if you’re the only one who will know or be effective. If you’re impacting someone else then it’s a lot harder to not show up, even if you’re feeling unmotivated.
Some writing partnerships are simple and consist of sending each other a quick text along the lines of “let’s both write for x hours and check-in after”. Others involve meeting up and writing together for a defined time. Find what works for you and your partner.
Set a low bar
Setting yourself a very low bar for success can almost trick your brain into feeling motivated to write.
If you know you need to write 2000 words or for three hours, you might feel too overwhelmed to even start. However, if you tell yourself you only need to write 100 words or for 10 minutes, and then you’re allowed to stop, you’re likely to end up getting some initial momentum and writing for far longer than the short target you set yourself.
Use a writing prompt
The simple act of writing something, no matter what it is, is often powerful enough to let your writing flow again.
Using a writing prompt removes the burden of having to think of what to write. Find a writing prompt that intrigues you, or failing that, commit to choosing one at random and working on it no matter what.
Although some writers might have an unrealistic view of writing as some kind of pure art form that should be pursued for its own sake, that’s just not how things are. Like anything else, we are motivated by rewards.
You can motivate yourself by setting external rewards for your writing. For example, if there’s a TV show you enjoy, you’re not allowed to watch it until you hit your writing target for the day. This only works if you’re self-disciplined or have someone else on hand to make sure you don’t cheat!
The opposite of rewarding yourself also works. You can restrict yourself from things you enjoy unless you do them while writing.
For example, if you love going to Starbucks, make it so that you are only allowed to go to Starbucks to write. No other times. Of course, this only works if you keep the bargain with yourself and write while you’re there!
Listen to motivating music
Some writers love working to music. Others hate it.
If you’re the type of writer who finds motivation through music, consider making a special playlist of songs that get you in the zone to work. You might have different playlists for different types of writing or just a general writing playlist. Also, if you don’t like listening to music while you write, you can use music exclusively before writing to get you in the zone.
Set public targets
The pressure of making a goal public can have a motivating effect for many writers.
When people have a big target, such as running a marathon or losing a certain amount of weight, they often find that making the goal public is helpful. That’s because we want to appear consistent in the eyes of others. Try this approach for your writing goals.
Leverage social media
When the only ones watching out for your writing motivation ( or lack of it) are your cat and coffee cup, you might feel like it doesn’t make a difference if you write or not.
Social media gives you access to writing partners, communities, hashtags, and advice, all at the click of your mouse or touch of your screen. Just make sure to avoid falling into the addictive trap of endless scrolling instead of writing!
Take some exercise
The mind and body work in harmony.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, a quick burst of exercise might be the solution you’re looking for. Ideally, get out into the fresh air and enjoy the benefits of exercising outdoors. However, even just a quick run on the spot, several pushups, or a quick YouTube yoga routine can do the job.
A lot of motivational thought leaders such as Tony Robbins recommend the power of visualization.
Picture yourself completing a writing project. If you’re working on a book, picture holding the finished copy in your hand and the pleasure associated with that. This might motivate you to take action to move towards that outcome.
Picture the pain of failure
Some people are more motivated by the fear of failure than the possibility of success.
If that sounds like you, then make the vision of failing as realistic and painful as you can. Think about how disappointed you will feel in yourself and how others will see you as an underachiever. This technique should only be tried if you have the right emotional disposition for it!
Hire a coach
If you have the money, a writing coach can help keep you on track.
Some writing courses come with built-in coaching components. Or you can simply seek out a writing coach among your network. Even an informal accountability relationship with a writer a little more advanced than you can work wonders.
Take a course
Investing in a writing course can give you the financial and emotional investment you need to feel motivated.
Make sure the course is a good fit for the stage of your writing career you are at, and be sure to take action on what you learn. Learning for learning’s sake is not the objective here!
Use an accountability service
Accountability services exist to help people feel enough motivation to achieve their goals, no matter what those goals happen to be.
Consider using a service like Stickk or another specialist accountability tool to keep your writing on track even when you lack motivation.
Commit to a group
There are plenty of writing groups out there that offer a wide range of benefits, with motivation being only one of them.
While some writing groups are pretty casual, others are somewhat demanding, requiring a certain level of participation to remain a member. The latter type might be the precise motivation you need to succeed.
Take a limited break
Sometimes, trying to power through times of low motivation is counterproductive.
If you truly feel like you can’t write, and nothing’s working, forcing yourself to stay seated at your laptop can be the wrong move. Instead, give yourself a limited break. For example, you’re allowed to go and do something else for 10 minutes, but only 10 minutes. After that, you have to try to write again.
Make a routine
If you’re a student of success and the science of achievement in general, you’ll soon realize that a lot of the leading thinkers in this field talk about relying on routine rather than motivation.
Committing to a routine almost takes motivation out of the equation. Rather than waiting for writing inspiration to strike, you simply follow your routine. Establishing a routine takes time, so don’t expect to fall into one over night.
Switch between fiction and nonfiction
Feeling stuck often comes from allowing your writing to become somewhat stagnant.
For example, you might have only ever written nonfiction, even though you love fictional stories. If that’s the case, permit yourself to try something entirely new.
Try a new genre
Even the most successful writers sometimes tire of writing the same old style.
That’s why bestselling authors will sometimes adopt a new pen name and write in a different genre just to keep things interesting. You don’t have to be famous to try something new! Pick a genre at random or select one that intrigues you. Try writing it to see if your motivation returns.
Copy a writer’s style
When we write in our own voice, we inevitably have a certain level of ego invested in our work. Even though no one else is judging us, we are almost certainly judging ourselves.
If that sounds familiar, give yourself permission to try and copy the style of another writer. For example, write a chapter in the style of Stephen King or J.K Rowling. This is a fun way to work and similar to covering another musician’s song rather than composing your own.
Write in an existing fictional world
If blank page syndrome is causing serious stress in your writing life, try writing an extension to a story you love.
For example, you could write the next stage of a famous character’s life. Or, you could play alternate realities, such as writing The Shining as a comedy. This removes the burden of coming up with a fictional world from scratch.
Write about your life
Your life is a source of writing inspiration that is uniquely yours.
Why not write about your own life when you’re feeling unmotivated? You can recall the best of times or the worst of times. You can even embellish your own story. After all, no one is going to check unless you choose to share your words.
Go people watching
The best fiction writers often advocate for using people watching as a source of writing detail.
You can go to a cafe and observe people (without being creepy, of course!). Write about what you imagine their lives to be like. You can also do this purely online. Check out some random photos on news sites or dedicated image sites. Use them for inspiration to start writing.
Listen to an audiobook
There’s something about listening to an audiobook that can set your creative wheels in motion.
This could be an audiobook of writing advice or a spoken version of a fiction story. Sometimes, the rhythm of hearing good writing spoken aloud will activate your creative impulses.
Read a writing guide
We’re blessed to live in an era when the best writing advice of all time is available instantaneously.
Spent a few dollars to purchase a writing guide from an author you admire. Or simply check out a free blog post or podcast episode. Getting inspiration from external sources can be just the motivation you need.
Use writing as procrastination
You’ve almost certainly experienced the desire to procrastinate instead of getting down to writing.
But have you ever strategically used the converse? If there’s something else you really should be doing, like some dull chore or task, permit yourself to write as a form of procrastination. You might find your writing motivation has suddenly returned!
Enjoy a special writing beverage
You can use the principles made famous by Pavlov to boost your writing motivation.
Select a special beverage that you’re only allowed to consume while you write. This will differ from writer to writer, but a special type of coffee or tea is a popular choice. Eventually, your brain will automatically associate the taste and aroma of the drink with the activity of writing, resulting in automatic motivation.
So there you have it. 33 quick doses of writing motivation! Next time you feel stuck, give one of them a try. It might just be the jolt you need to get back on track.