Don’t rely on the muse if you want to write more, because she’ll disappoint you every time! Instead, learn practical, effective tips for increasing your self-discipline and moving one step closer to achieving your writing goals.
“As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. “The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you.”
If you need to increase your self-acceptance and motivation to write, read Big Magic. Gilbert’s passion for writing and creating stuff that matters will encourage you. You’ll learn how to write through your fear and hesitation, with or without the muse. If you need motivation to write, read a page of Big Magic a day. “If you don’t have the courage, let’s try to get you some,” writes Gilbert. “Because creative living is a path for the brave. We all know this. And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it.”
What scares you about writing? Maybe nothing does. Maybe you just find it boring to write. Maybe it’s lack of discipline, lack of motivation. Maybe you have no ideas, no goals.
Read these tips on how to write more, pick one, and apply it to your daily life. If it doesn’t work, then try something different. But whatever you do, don’t give up on your writing.
You owe to yourself – and to the world – to keep pushing forward.
5 Practical Tricks and Tips to Help You Write More
After inspiration, the most important gift you can bring to your writing is a schedule, and self-discipline to stick to that schedule. It sets the writer in you free.
1. Stay hungry
Find what your writing motivation is, and work it, baby. Work it! Me, I write to earn money. My writing goal is to earn a few thousand bucks a month – which I’m actually struggling with this month because all I want to do is blog. But earning money as a freelance writing is my self-discipline. “Stay hungry” is a writing tip that involves finding what keeps you motivated to write, and stay focused on that.
2. Balance self-acceptance with challenging yourself
Every writer needs to learn self-forgiveness. More importantly, every writer needs to find the balance between self-discipline and self-forgiveness. Err on the side of too much self-forgiveness, and you’ll barely meet your writing goals. Err too much on the side of discipline, and you’re a workaholic. The best way to learn how to write more is to find balance.
3. Vary your writing projects
When I’m struggling to write, I work on one assignment for an hour, then reward myself with a blog post or a visit to a writer’s forum. The more I break up my writing assignments, the easier they are – and the more writing I get done. This tip doesn’t work for every freelancer, because some need to stay focused on one assignment at a time. The trick is to find your own way to increase your writing discipline, and find the freedom in that.
4. Make a plan, and create habits that support your plan
Set your writing goals, whether it’s 500 words a day or 3 hours a week.
Or, set a writing schedule: every day from 7 – 9 a.m., or after the kids go to bed until 11 p.m.. Once you have your schedule set, then your writing motivation may increase because, perhaps paradoxically, you’re free to be creative, inspired, and productive. It’s the same as sticking to a fitness plan or building a healthy relationship: you need to be committed and focused to be a successful writer.
5. Learn how discipline sets you free
If you’re disciplined or motivated to write, then you’ll struggle less with inspiration and creativity. That is — if you’re not trying to avoid writing distractions, then you’re free to concentrate on what you really should be doing: writing books, pitching queries, or creating poetry that touches readers’ souls.
“Creative entitlement doesn’t mean behaving like a princess, or acting as though the world owes you anything whatsoever,” writes Gilbert. “No, creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”
Do you have any tips or thoughts on how to write more? Comments welcome below…