Staying Motivated In Writing
One of the biggest issues I have faced when it comes to writing is not what to write about, not getting a rejection letter, not even the tedious task of editing. My biggest issue with writing was staying motivated.
I can recall many days where I would sit down in front of my computer, plug in my USB and then get up and walk away—go back upstairs and go to sleep, make some food, even watch a movie. There were many days where I would be behind on my writing goal, but I simply did not care because there was no inspiration.
When it comes to careers that are set in entertainment, motivation is a huge factor. If you don’t have that inspiration—that passion—then you have nothing. The difference between writing and many other careers is that motivation is what pushes us. We don’t get feedback on our product until it hits the shelves; we spend months or even years perfecting the whispers of our hearts only to have it amount to the opinions of others.
There are no facts in writing—that’s a bold statement that could start a lengthy debate but it’s what I believe. There are thousands of people who would probably surrender their left ear to get an early copy of Book II of some fantasy trilogy I’ve never heard of, meanwhile there are other readers who wouldn’t mind using the pages of that same book as toilet tissue.
You might say there are authors who undeniably stand out, and you would be telling the truth. But its also true that not everyone enjoys their writing.
Writing is a subjective art form—all art is subjective! What’s beautiful to you may be the worst thing I’ve ever read; what’s heart-pounding to you may be the most boring book on earth to me. Subjectivism is the word of the day, people.
So how do you find motivation in this realm of opinions and thoughts and feelings?
The first thing you need to do is find out why you write.
Are you writing a book you hope to publish someday?
Are you hoping to make a living from the earnings your writing will get you?
Would you keep writing even if you don’t get published or make any money from it?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then its safe to assume you are writing because its your passion. That’s good! Because when you’re passionate about something its much more difficult to lose motivation, writing is a motivation in and of itself.
But what happens once you’ve reached a point where you’ve lost motivation for your passion?
These are a few tips that I’ve done in my past:
The first thing is to stop editing.
Usually I’ll write a chapter and go back and edit until I’m happy but when I’m not feeling so encouraged, it helps to just keep writing. Get all your ideas out and get them securely locked onto the page; you might not like everything but at least your thoughts are moving, and your mind is working—constantly thinking of what comes next.
Even though my last tip was to keep writing, my next tip is the exact opposite.
When I’m not feeling very motivated, I find it helps to stop writing and do a little reading. Reading is my biggest inspiration; its where I learn what’s popular, what’s unpopular, and what looks good for certain genres. It also helps that reading is entertaining! One of the reasons I’m giving this tip to you is because doing something else will take your mind off of your own work for a while. I’m sure you believe your mind should be completely focused on your work—especially when you’re trying to find motivation, but, trust me, forgetting about your writing for a moment will help put your mind at ease. Sometimes a break is all we need!
My last tip to help writers find motivation is to write something else.
Sometimes I find myself totally uninterested and uninspired by what I’m currently working on, it’s a real downer but one of the best ways I get my creative juices flowing is by writing something else. I’ll start a new story, pick back up on a different project, or—my favorite—I’ll work on an old fan-fiction for one of my favorite shows. Yes! I do write fan-fiction, though I never publish it, its my dirty little secret and one of my favorite things to do when I want to spice up my writing day. You’d be surprised by how motivating it can be to write something fresh and new or return to an old piece of work that’s been buried for a while.
I know I haven’t given you many tips here, but I do hope I’ve given you something that could help anyone looking for a bit more inspiration. If you’re looking for other tips and tricks, feel free to read any one of my other articles—they’re really good, I promise! But before you go, I always try to give a bit of advice from a Christian perspective. These last three tips are great for anyone to use but as Believers you know our true motivation comes from Christ.
Every good thing comes from above [John 1:17], that doesn’t just mean riches, good health, and true love—it also means all of your great ideas and wonderful writing! If God gave you the idea, trust and believe that He will help you finish it. If you feel that you’ve lost motivation in your writing, ask God for help. He wants you to succeed after all.