There’s not many people who pull on a tracksuit at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to go for a run, especially if it’s raining cats and dogs. The same is true for writers. For the small few that long to get back to the keyboard as soon as they’ve left it, there are others that would rather do anything than spend their day getting a numb bum.
If you’re in the first category, you can breeze past this chapter, and I salute you. For the rest of us, myself included, you’ve got to find ways to motivate yourself. Firstly, to get in that seat, and more importantly to stay in it. Here’s ten thoughts and tips that I hope will help you.
1 – Keep Moving Forward – Like pushing a broken-down car, the largest amount of effort is needed to get it rolling those first couple of inches. Once it’s going it’s easier to keep the momentum going. However, when you stop pushing and the car slows down again, you need to dig deep again to get it started once more. The same is also true for writing.
Even if you’re only writing one page a day, it’s easy to keep the momentum going. Leave a larger gap between sessions and it becomes a bigger chore. Remember, even if you’re only writing one page per day you’re still moving yourself in the right direction. And for those times that you want to give up, ask yourself this question, ‘Do you really want to skip today and lose that momentum you’ve built up?’
2 – Does Your Book Excite You? – Is the book you’re writing exciting? If you don’t feel any excitement for your writing, maybe you’re writing for the wrong genre, or the wrong audience? If so, then maybe it’s time for a rethink. Look at it this way, if you’re not excited for the book that you’re writing, how do you expect your reader to be excited to read it?
If, however, you are enjoying the book that you’re writing, but you’re just going through a hard patch, then maybe it’s time to think of a goal outside your writing that will excite you. Could you plan an exciting date for yourself when your book is written? Maybe a treat at the local spa? Or how about an expensive purchase that you’ll get once you’ve completed your book? The excitement of treating yourself could help power you through that off-peak moment.
3 – Picture Your Finished Book – If you’re anything like me, you’re most excited about your book when you’re in the final stages of writing it. Beginning the first chapter and knowing there’s so much work ahead of you can make you feel like giving up.
So why not use the power of visualization to build some enthusiasm? Close your eyes for a few moments and picture your book being read by readers. Picture them thumbing excitedly through it desperate to find out how it ends, or how you turned your life around. Now, how would they feel if they couldn’t get that book? What if they had to wait an extra six months while they waited for you to get your act together? This feeling of letting down others can help you take your mind off yourself and onto the end user. Do you really want to be selfish and do that to them?
And if you can’t bear the thought of writing that day, why not set aside a little bit of time for writing the book description? You may find by that by writing a captivating and exciting description for your book it may enough to get you excited about completing it and getting it published.
4 – Hold Yourself Back – It’s easy to go all ‘Gung-ho’ with your writing, sit down and write three chapters in one go, and then burn yourself out for the following day. So why not keep your motivation in check and hold yourself back? Maybe you only write one chapter on the first day, and then leave yourself excited for the next chapter for the next day?
If you feel yourself excited and want to carry on writing, maybe you should cut it short. Stop halfway through that exciting paragraph you’re writing, that action scene, that beautiful dialog from your villain, and leave it for tomorrow. Knowing that exciting paragraph it’s going to be the beginning point of your next day’s writing means you’re going be excited for the moment when you’re back in the seat and finishing it.
5 – Sleep More – Like every part of life, if you’re not getting enough sleep it’s going to affect your writing and your ability to think clearly. If you’re constantly rewriting the same chapter, or paragraph over and over again, being frustrated with your writing, then maybe it’s time you caught up on a little sleep and gave your mind and your imagination a break. Coming back to your work with fresh eyes and a fresh mind could make all the difference you need.
6 – Organize Your Space – It can be hard to motivate yourself when the area you’re working in is cluttered and distracting. Try and clear out some space that’s purely yours for writing. If you want to, you could also hang up some motivational posters, or quotations from writers or people that inspire you. If you’re writing space isn’t a happy space, it’s going to be hard to motivate yourself for your writing.
7 – Motivate Yourself With Music – Is there any inspirational music that you like to listen to, movie soundtracks that motivate you, or even speeches on YouTube that get you buzzing. Then now is the time to bring them out. If music doesn’t work for you, you could try out some type of brain entrainment soundtrack to help focus your mind and help you concentrate better.
8 – Set Goal And Deadlines – Sometimes all we really need to focus our minds and motivate us is a goal or a deadline. Having something concrete to focus on can give us a feeling of accomplishment when we achieve it. Whether that’s a fixed daily word count, or an amount written by the end of the week, having something to measure your progress by may be all you really need to stay motivated. You could also motivate yourself by having to do something you hate as a penalty. The thought of losing and having to give money to a cause you hate can also put a fire under you.
9 – Mix It Up A Little – If your motivation is low and you’re always writing in the same place, maybe it’s time to mix it up a little. If the weather’s nice, why not take your laptop outside and write outside. If you think you need a little company would help, (a buzz of conversation in the background), why not take your laptop to the local coffee shop and write there for a while?
Or how about the way you write at your desk? If you write all the time sitting down, why not try standing up and writing that way for a change? It may feel a little awkward at first, but maybe a change of body position might be enough to free up your mind and freshen up your writing?