10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write
By K.M. Weiland
Writers write. No brainer there. We write not just because we have to, but because we love it. And yet the irony here is that sometimes getting ourselves to write is about as easy as dragging a kid into the dentist’s office. As marvelous and freeing as creativity is, it’s also a difficult and even frightening endeavor. Sometimes we need just a little extra incentive to get our heinies into our desk chairs and our fingers moving over the keyboard. Following are 10 ways you can motivate yourself to write even when it may be the last thing you feel like doing.
1. Bribe yourself.
Who says bribes are a bad thing? Promise yourself you’ll do something special when you complete your book: go to Hawaii, buy a new dress, treat yourself at a fancy restaurant. Bribes can be a daily thing as well. If you fulfill your writing goals for the day, you can have a piece of chocolate while you watch your favorite TV show.
2. Threaten yourself.
Generally speaking, threats aren’t going to be as psychologically helpful as rewards. But sometimes swearing off good stuff if you fail to meet your goals is just the thing to get yourself in gear. If you don’t write today, no ice cream for you!
3. Create a writing spot.
Make writing as easy on yourself as possible by creating a special writing spot. This might be a rolltop desk or just a nook in the corner of the bedroom. Keep all of your writing tools handy, make sure the lighting is good, and aim for a beautiful aesthetic appeal.
4. Schedule your day.
Nothing beats a schedule for carving out writing time in your busy day. Take a look at your life and find the crossroads where convenience and creativity meet. If you’re most creative in the early mornings, try to work in at least 20 minutes of writing time. Once you’ve written “writing” on your schedule, don’t let anyone talk you into breaking your routine.
5. Create a writing playlist.
If you enjoy writing to music, create a writing playlist that has special significance for your work-in-progress. Listen to it only when writing or when you need an extra burst of inspiration.
6. Give yourself a time limit.
Sometimes the looming mountain of all those unwritten words can be daunting. Instead of focusing on the 80,000 words yet to be written, give yourself a short time limit. Tell yourself you only have to write for five minutes. Anybody can do that. If you still feel like writing after the original time limit is up, that’s just gravy! By the same token, you may find it useful to give yourself a much longer time limit (I prefer two hours). Make yourself sit there for the duration. Even if the words aren’t coming, sit there anyway. Eventually, your muse will get tired of staring at the blinking cursor and start coming up with words to entertain itself.
7. Allow for spontaneity.
If schedules aren’t your thing (and even if they are), give yourself permission to be spontaneous. The muse can strike anywhere—on the bus, in the shower, while mowing the lawn. Wherever you are, grab a writing utensil and start writing, even if it’s just a quick note for later.
8. Make yourself accountable.
If you’re having difficulty maintaining consistency in your writing schedule, bring in a partner on the job. Ask someone you trust (preferably someone who’s both persistent and a little bossy) to keep you accountable. When you know someone else is watching over your shoulder and observing your laziness, you’ll have that much more incentive to get cracking.
9. Ruthlessly avoid distractions.
Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Put the dog outside, tell the kids to watch TV, unplug the phone and the Internet. Resist the urge to grab a snack from the fridge, check the weather, clip your nails or even go to the bathroom. Writing time is writing time, not goof-around time.
10. Stifle your internal editor.
The infernal internal editor is a valuable asset—but only when editing. When you’re in the throes of that first draft, gag and bind your internal editor and throw him in a mental closet. At that point, the only thing you need to worry about is getting words out on paper as fast as you can. There will be plenty of time later on to edit them into perfection.
Each writer needs to find the writing process that works best for him and the environment that encourages the most creativity. Figure out what methods will best motivate you to write and then start putting them into practice in your life.
K.M. Weiland is the author of the epic fantasy “Dreamlander,” the historical western “A Man Called Outlaw” and the medieval epic “Behold the Dawn.” She enjoys mentoring other authors through her writing tips, her book “Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success” and her instructional CD “Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration.”
Learn more about K.M.:
Find her products: