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4 Reasons Writers Don’t Write – Goal Setting Tips for Writers

When writers pinpoint the reasons they don’t write, they’re motivated to write more! These goal setting tips for writers are inspired by a writer on Twitter…

“Yea, that’s why I hate summer,” says @ProcrastWriter. “I always feel so messed up and un-centered in the summer. I’m a fall and winter person for sure.”

Me too! I was mesmerized by how Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers tweeted about the uncertainty of writing (Will I ever get published? Will a magazine editor give me this article assignment?) and the frustration of wanting to write, but not being able to.

“I wish I was writing every day. More like I’m sh*t-talking myself every day for not writing,” tweets Jennifer. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll find 73 Ways to Fire Up (or Just Fire!) the Muse helpful – it offers tips for overcoming writing obstacles, from dozens of successful freelance writers and published novelists.

And, here are four reasons writers bang their heads against their desks instead of banging their fingers on the keyboard…

4 Reasons Writers Don’t Write – Goal Setting Tips for Writers

1. Self-fulfilling prophecies. On Twitter, Jennifer and I agreed that summer sucks. The season has no structure! It’s too hot to write. Lazy sunshine-y days lure us to the grassy knoll. Kids are underfoot, complaining they’re bored. Marvelous margaritas and mojitos and martinis….see what I mean? Summer is the worst time to achieve writing goals, right? But wait a minute! Is summer the problem, or is it our preconceived notions that hold us back? For instance, as a child I survived summer by forcing my friends to play school. Summer was always so boring…and this belief affects my writing life. I don’t know about Jennifer, but my preconceived notions about summer is probably the biggest reason I don’t write more in July and August. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Goal Setting Tip #1: Identify your preconceived notions or your reasons for not writing (eg, you’re not a good writer, there are no freelancing opportunities at magazines, etc). Recognize the difference between a preconceived notion and reality (for instance — there are freelance writing opportunities all over the place – I turn them down regularly!).

2. Distractions. Omigosh – I love love love Robert Pagliarini’s The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose. Last week I created my own “Goal Achievement Plan” (daily schedule) – and I can’t believe how much more productive, creative, and focused I am (in just a week!). My new daily schedule frees me to be a better writer, blogger, entrepreneur, freelancer, friend, and wife. I’m not distracted by Twitter, emails, tweaking my blogs, reading other people’s blogs – those were the reasons I wasn’t writing as much as I wanted. Distractions are a major reason writers don’t write – especially when we have the whole wide world at our fingertips.

  • Goal Setting Tip #2: Create a daily and weekly schedule, and stick to it for one month. That’s probably the best way to achieve your writing goals – a schedule. It’s not a glitzy tip, but it works.

3. Boredom. Writers don’t write because they’re bored. If you were enthralled and entranced by your subject, wouldn’t you write more? That’s partly why novelists advise new writers to “Write what you know.” If you have personal experience with it, you’re probably interested in it. That’s also why six-figure bloggers encourage new bloggers to pick a blog topic they’re interested in: an innate fascination makes it easy to write.

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4. Lost motivation. Ah, perhaps this is the main reason writers don’t write! After all, where would we be without motivation? And, what slays writing motivation more than uncertainty, doubt, insecurity, self-criticism? This is especially true for writers who want to get published. We look for external validation of our writing – and if we think we’re not gonna get it, we have no motivation to write.

  • Goal Setting Tip #4: Find reasons to write that don’t involve external validation. Instead, focus on internal validation (eg, achieving your writing goals, sticking to your writing schedule, becoming a better writer, increasing your writing confidence — the list is endless!).

What are your reasons for not writing?

If you need more goal setting tips for writers, I’d be happy to write more! I welcome your comments below…

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