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How to Motivate Yourself to Write Today

These 9 tips for finding internal motivation will help you write now. Internal motivation is more effective than external writing motivation; every tip on this list comes from within you. This will keep you motivated to start writing and keep writing until the end of the page, chapter, and book!

The most important tip on how to stay motivated as a writer is to find an internal reason. Your purpose or mission has to extend beyond yourself, or you will power down before your book (or blog post) is written.

If you’re one of the millions of aspiring writers who lack motivation, perhaps you haven’t found your own personal or internal source of inspiration. Why do you want to be a writer? What purpose does your writing fulfill? Answering those questions may be the writing motivation for struggling writers.

Staying motivated to write doesn’t just require you to find your internal reason for writing. Motivation also requires you to find what works for you. Maybe you love telling stories, or playing with words. Maybe you enjoy startling readers, or expressing your opinion about politics or the weather. Maybe you’re an advice columnist or relationship blogger whose motivation is helping readers build healthier relationships.

9 Motivational Tips for Writers

Maybe you don’t even know what motivates you to write. Like me! I just love blogging. I don’t even know what drives me anymore. Not money. Not a purpose or mission. Not even comments from readers, or the knowledge that I’m helping people. I guess my internal motivation to write goes so deep I don’t even know what it is anymore.

The secret to sustaining a long, healthy, successful writing or blogging career is to find what motivates you. Then, keep fanning the flame and feeding the fire.

1. Write in mixed company (with motivated and unmotivated writers)

Community is a crucial tip for writers who lack motivation. Sometimes we need other people to encourage us with their motivation. We also need unmotivated writers to show us that if we don’t write, we will never achieve our goals.

In an interview with Psychology Today, Natalie Goldberg said she needs to write with others. “I can definitely write on my own, but sometimes I need a kick,” she told Mark Matousek in The True Secret of Writing: A Talk With Natalie Goldberg. “I’m lazy or I’m not becoming alive enough. I have a friend who I write with every Thursday evening for about an hour and a half. And then when I teach I always write with my students. I tell them I use them.”

2. Join an online group of other “struggling writers”

In Write More, Faster, Shelley Lieber describes how she began working with a writing group in a Google Hangout. “We sprint for 25 minutes at a time, break for 5–10 minutes, then go again,” she says. “At first, I resisted. I didn’t think that was long enough to get anything done. Indeed, the first few sessions, I felt like I had just gotten going when the timer buzzed. Then I realized I was producing more words per minute than ever before. I had my first 5K words in a day, a goal I’d been working toward for years.”

If you’d like to join an in-person writing group but there isn’t one in your area, read 7 Tips for Starting a Writers’ Group – Writing Alone, Together.

motivation tips for writers

3. Wait and see how your writing unfolds

If you can’t seem to find the right source of writing motivation – if you can’t see yourself as more than a struggling writer – think about how the farmer saw everything that happened in his life. Nothing was good or bad…it just was. Maybe you’re in a dry writing season right now. Maybe you won’t find writing motivation because your fields are fallow. Or, maybe you need to water your fields, plow them, plant them. Only you know why you’re calling yourself a struggling writer right now…and only you can find the key that unlocks your potential.

4. Get your “bum glue” out

“A couple of years ago I met Bryce Courtney, author of The Power of One, at a writing conference.  He said that what I needed as a writer was “bum glue”.  Meaning, I need to glue my bum to a chair and write.  I remember it every time I set myself down to my blog. Bryce! I am using your bum glue!” – Shirley VanScoyk, writer and blogger.

5. Embrace your procrastination

“When I was a freelancer, I used to set aside about 20 minutes for procrastination activities every morning before I started to write. I took care of a lot of administrative and housekeeping tasks that way, while honoring the part of me that took writing so seriously that it was convinced I was the least-qualified person ever to attempt it. Once I paid tribute to the procrastination judge, I was free to sit down and let it flow!” – Claire Bardos, screenplay writer.

6. See beyond the rejection slips

“I’ve received enough rejection slips to cover a room’s wall. What is a rejection slip?  It’s a motivator.  It demands you try harder. A rejection slip isn’t a jab at your writing ability. Remember that other factors stir into the editor’s decision. Perhaps, a similar piece was previously submitted and published. Don’t turn-away from your writing dream simply because you received rejection slips.” – Marcella Glenn, writer and blogger.

7. Write what you got

“Unless your assignment is uber specific, don’t use precious hours searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack if there’s plenty of good stuff on hand.  Look at the material you have -and decide what you can make of it.” – Joyce Wilden, publicist.

Need motivational tips because you’re facing writer’s block? Read 7 Ideas for Writers Who Have No Idea What to Write About.

8. Never settle for “good enough”

“Never settle for your first idea, first draft, or even your tenth! Writing requires a great deal of work. Even if you have the best idea in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can write a good book. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, you must learn each aspect of the genre that makes your book a success. You must know how to create an attention-getting introduction. You must be able to sustain interest by creating a page turner. You must end chapters with an intriguing hook. You need to create interesting, yet believable characters and realistic settings. You must know how to build an excellent plot that leads to a gripping climax. You must understand how to wrap things up and create a strong conclusion. – Cindy Kenney, freelance writer and editor.

9. Don’t use external measures to judge yourself as a writer

Being rejected by agents and publishers means you’re trying to be a writer – it means you haven’t given up. Not having a thousand blog followers means you’re blogging, you’re sharing your writing with the world. Feeling like you’re not a good writer means you actually know what being a good writer means, and that you’re growing into a different writing style. Feeling guilty for not writing means you want to write, you yearn to write, you wish you wrote more. All these things can increase your writing motivation, can transform you from a struggling writer to a successful writer.

Do you have the right writing personality? Read The Most Important Personality Traits of Successful Writers and Authors.

What are your tips for staying motivated to write, fellow scribes? I welcome your thoughts below…

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20 thoughts on “How to Motivate Yourself to Write Today”

  1. How to Be a More Productive Writer or Blogger

    1. Figure out what’s holding you back. I’m wrapping up a new book proposal, which I hope my agent sells to a big publishing house early in the new year! But, working on that proposal was like pulling teeth. At first, I couldn’t figure out why…but I soon realized it’s because I’ve written other three book proposals and not one of those books was published. I detest wasting time and energy, and this current book proposal might be a waste of both…and this niggling thought held me back from writing the best book proposal my agent ever saw. But after I figured out why I wasn’t being productive, I made a list of the benefits of writing the proposal even if the book never gets published…and I was able to happily work on it every day for two weeks straight.

    2. Break a big writing project down into small steps. If you’re writing a book or book proposal, break it up into chapter outlines or a table of contents. If you’re starting a new blog, research a list of steps you’ll need to undertake before it goes live. If you want to write a feature article for a big national magazine, research the past issues to learn the writing style and format. Start with the small, easy tasks and move to the larger, more difficult ones.

    3. Set a time limit on the “worst” tasks. The worst part of working on my most recent book proposal was the “Features and Benefits” section. So, I scheduled myself fifteen minutes a day to work on that part, and as soon as that time was up, I moved on to other more enjoyable part of the book proposal (creating growth charts of all my Quips and Tips blogs was a blast!). To increase your writing productivity, set aside small amounts of time to do the things you like least, and reward yourself afterward with one of your favorite tasks or activity when you complete it.

    4. Let yourself do a bad job the first time. I’m sure you’ve heard Anne Lamott’s writing advice to “write a sh***y” first draft” (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life). Go ahead, fellow scribes: write a bad query letter, create a terrible book proposal, or sketch an ugly blog logo. To be a more productive writer or blogger, let go of perfectionist tendencies. Lower the bar, fellow scribes. Once you get the dreck out of your system, you’ll be free to move onwards and upwards (and your writing skills will improve, too!).

    5. Work with your rhythms. My best writing and blogging time is first thing in the morning, from 5:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.. That’s when I do my “real” writing and thinking. The afternoons, I save for uploading blog posts or researching story ideas because that’s when my energy flags. What are your natural work rhythms? To be productive, be strict about scheduling your most difficult, attention-requiring tasks in the hours you’re most with it. Save the drudge work for when you’re tired or usually experience low energy levels.

    6. Savor the past to increase your writing productivity. Remember that article you published, the blog post everyone commented on, the latest writing gig you landed? To be more productive as a writer, enjoy those victorious feelings – and picture yourself feeling those same feelings when you’ve completed this current writing project. And if you want to earn a living as a writer, remember that increased productivity equals more money!

  2. Laurie,

    I’m reading “The 4 Hour Work Week” right now and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen so far is to go ahead and set very tight deadlines for yourself. In applying this to writing – especially freelance writing – it makes perfect sense. If I am under deadline I write in a focussed manner and concentrate on what is important. Give me two weeks to write something and I’ll be all over the map until the very end.

    George

  3. Thanks, Yolanda! I appreciate your comments and am glad you took time to comment 🙂

    I’ve been thinking that the biggest source of writing motivation has to be internal, not external. So we writers need to be motivated by our own selves instead of the glory of being published and the fame of being a bestselling novelist!

    What is your motivation for writing? Find that, and you will be one step closer to writing consistently and powerfully.

  4. The Parable of the Poor Farmer was very insightful. It teaches us to not to try and figure everything out ahead or waste time pondering on what may be. Furthermore, it encourages us to be grateful for what we have no matter what we see and continue on our path. We cannot measure life by what we have or don’t have but each have purpose to be productive with what we have. I needed this gentle reminder, thank you.

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I found that my motivation to write – and to revive Quips and Tips for Successful Writers – comes from a REASON to write. My reason is that I want to help people not to lose heart. I love Parables, and I’m now putting parables into practice on this and all my blogs.

    My writing motivation is coming from God. I feel called to blog, to connect with people online, to write articles that encourage and inspire. Maybe the best motivation for writers is something internal – a purpose for living, not just a reason to write.

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hello Nisha,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, setting goals can help you be a more productive writer or blogger…and so can that inner drive to excel.

    Happy writing,
    Laurie

  7. Gary ~ Yes, it increases writing motivation to care about what you’re writing…but I think that even when you really care about it, you may still struggle with motivation and self-discipline. Getting the bum glue out and staying motivated is difficult for most writers, I think.

    Anne ~ That’s great — your online community sounds very helpful and motivational! I’ll go check it out…I’m definitely a goals person 🙂

  8. As the guys on the Writing Excuses podcast say, BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard!

    Some years ago I joined a great online community called Forward Motion, dedicated to supporting writers working towards publication. We post our goals each week and cheer one another on, as well as talking about writing. Now I have a short story published (I don’t write many!) and a finished novel doing the rounds…

  9. I may have commented about this previously, but I think the best motivator is writing about something that you truly care about. If it only holds your minimal attention, maybe it’s not interesting enough to go forward. If it feels like your writing is meandering or hitting walls, maybe it’s time to change directions or to ‘juice it up’ and add some dynamism. A writer should be excited about their subject, otherwise, who else will be?