Six tips for staying motivated to write, from successful writers, freelancers, novelists, playwrights, and poets — because they know how to stay motivated to write despite rejection.
In Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg tells you how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome procrastination and writer’s block. She includes more than thirty provocative “Try this” exercises to get your pen moving.
If you lack writing motivation because you haven’t been published, you don’t have an agent, or you’re too shy to start a blog – or your blog has 15 hits a day and a puny newsletter – then you need to dig deeper than those external validations that you’re a writer. That’s the first tip for staying motivated to write: find an internal reason that doesn’t depend on other people.
How to Stay Motivated to Write
Before the tips, a quip: “I’ve never met a writer who wanted to be anything else.” – Natalie Goldberg.
She hasn’t met me! I’ve wanted to be many, many things — I love writing, but I want to experience everything else, too. Since I be everything, I’ll settle for being a successful writer 🙂
Here’s a roundup of tips for staying motivated to write from successful writers…
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
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
Don’t be a wannabee writer
“The best writing advice I ever received (and pass on) is: ‘Writers write; wannabees talk about it.'” – Shelley Lieber, author
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
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
If you need practical tips, read 10 Ways to Increase Your Writing Motivation.
Accept that writing is hard work
“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.
Another tip for staying motivated to write is to find out why you can’t write.
What are your tips for staying motivated to write, fellow scribes? I welcome your thoughts below…