The Motivation to Write

Three of my friends are currently fretting over the writing of their books, or rather, their lack of it. I too know this feeling from time-to-time. An idea can brew around in one’s head for quite a while, but getting those first few words down are always the hardest, especially when you feel your motivation waning (but believe me, excitement for the project comes around again; it always does–these things are so cyclical).

If you can relate, the following strategies might help give you encouragement when you feel you’re in a writing funk:

  • Set small goals for your writing. A mere ten minutes a day is better than nothing (even if half of that time is spent pondering, “What to write, what to write?”
  • Make a pact with yourself by writing down/deciding how many words you’ll commit to writing during this sit (even if it’s only a small word count of e.g. 200/300-500 words per entry); tell a trusted mentor or friend your word count commitment if you like and have them hold your feet to the fire over it! Sometimes having someone to report in to/someone to whom you promise to complete your task, helps (like using a personal trainer at the gym, instead of doing your routine all on your own). Most of us work harder at the gym if we have the personal trainer on our backs. Agree?
  • Take some form of writing tools everywhere you go, whether a blank book you keep in your car or a smaller wire-ringed notebook and pen you stick in your pocket or purse, so you’ll be spontaneously ready when the muse comes. Most days have at least some empty and idle moments, whether sitting in the car waiting for your kids after swimming, skating, piano lessons, riding public transit, or whatever
  • Like a Pavlovian dog, setting aside a particular time slot and place to write could eventually condition your subconscious into snapping into writing mode when you arrive there…just like the ring of a bell. Maybe it might even be kind of fun and symbolic to actually have a bell to ring when you start!
  • Some writers practice “free-association” writing as a preliminary or warm-up session (and sometimes instead of an actual serious writing session on the odd day); write whatever stray thoughts come to mind, like Julia Cameron’s suggestion of “Morning Pages” (from her book, The Artist’s Way). I know you may have a TON of reading on your list, but, The Artist’s Way, may be a valuable volume to read if you’re feeling stuck or blocked.

When it comes to enthusiasm for your writing, give these suggestions some thought and hold fast to your dream to create your article or book.

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