Writing takes some serious momentum to keep moving, but what happens when you’re not feeling it? You need to know how to get motivated to write.

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Now, I’m not saying you’ll always be inspired. The muse don’t always show up. And you don’t always love what you’re writing.

In fact, I would argue that a lot of the writing process is just putting words on paper so you can edit them later.

And it can be really hard to be motivated to write when you know that, in the end, writing is just one small part of the process, and there are tons of re-writes ahead of you.

So, how do you make yourself keep going?

You gotta get motivated.

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I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m not saying you’re going to like it.

But here are my tips for how to get motivated to write.

(And if you’re about to start a novel, check out this post on how to start a big writing project.)

How to Get Motivated to Write

001: Use my 20-minute rule.

I have mentioned this rule a lot. So I won’t belabor the point.

Basically, you need to write for 20 minutes. This is the amount of time it takes for your brain to dive into the idea. And you have to push those first ten minutes of resistance.

And once you’ve done that, you’ll find that it’s easier to keep going. Most of the time.

I’ll be real, though, There are things that this won’t apply to. Like, if you’re writing a term paper for school. I can’t ever make you feel really motivated to write on those topics you were assigned.

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It’s never easy to write things you don’t care about, and it’s hard to build up that momentum when you’re actively hating every single step of the process with a particular project.

But if you like what you’re working on, usually those 20 minutes get you into the zone. And on the days when you just can’t get in the zone, at least you got 20 minutes of work done.

002: Do some outlining.

For me, it’s hard to feel motivated when I don’t feel connected to a project.

And a great way to build some connections is to outline the project. Creating this outline is like letting yourself in on the details of the project and getting a little excited about what’s to come.

But beyond that, it’s necessary to create the outline so you always know where you’re going with the story. One of the hardest parts of writing is making sure you know where the story is going.

So having this outline means that when you come back to your project the next day, or after a weekend off, you know what comes next. And you can keep moving.

Maybe the ability to keep moving has nothing to do with motivation. But it’s easier to feel motivated with you know what you’re doing.

003: Make sure you’re not burnt out.

Burn out is a sneaky asshole, and you gotta be vigilant.

Burn out can make you feel like you hate writing or like you weren’t meant to do it. But that’s not true.

When you’re burnt out, you just don’t have the energy to keep moving forward. You need to take a step back and make sure that you know the purpose of what you’re doing. And then you need to make sure you are giving yourself enough time and space to keep moving on the project.

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So next time you feel like you don’t have the motivation, take stock.

If you can tell that it’s burn out, then you just need to step away. Pushing yourself will only make it worse.

004: Keep that well filled.

One of the best ways to deal with burn out is to prevent it from happening. And I love refilling the well to do that.

If you’re just creating all the time and never taking in stories or inspiration, the motivation won’t be there.

You can’t love writing if you aren’t giving yourself space to love stories. So make time for reading or movie watching.

And make sure you aren’t always grinding away. You need down time too. That’s one of the best ways to refill the well.

005: Eliminate distractions.

You will never be as motivated to write as you will be tempted by Netflix.

It’s a sad truth, but one that I know all too well. If you want to write, you have to avoid distractions.

And I know that I just told you to refill the well, so let me be a little more specific. When it’s time to write, you write. When it’s time to watch a movie, it’s time to watch a movie.

Make it easier on yourself. to get into the writing zone, and when you do, it’ll make it so much easier to keep going.

But if you find that you lack motivation and you’re always giving into the easy stuff, well. It’s probably time to make sure you aren’t surrounding yourself with distractions all the time.

006: Know your why.

Remembering the reason you started writing is the best way to keep going.

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I’m not saying this reason is going to make it easier to write, but it will make it easier to feel motivated and keep going when the going gets tough.

I write because it’s what I believe I was born to do. It’s how I communicate. It’s how I am able to be myself.

So, that’s my why. I keep writing because I know it’s how I’m meant to leave a legacy.

Knowing this why keeps me going when I’m not feeling it, or when I think it might be fun to just pack up all the notebooks and the laptop and quit.

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007: Remember that motivation is internal, not external.

At the end of the day, motivation is something that you’re responsible for. No one can give it to you, and only you can feel it.

And while motivation is internal, you can modify the external to enhance motivation.

So if you’re finding it hard to feel motivated, figure out why. What is about your life or the way you’ve organized your workspace that doesn’t let you feel it.

Follow writers on social media. Read Big Magic. Drink a little more caffeine that day. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself in the writing headspace.

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How Do You Get Motivated to Write?

What makes you feel motivated to write? What sort of conditions do you set to ensure you hit your word count? Have you tried my 20-minute rule? And do you know your why?

One Response

  1. Thank you for this post! The content is great and it’s going to help a huge lot. Would you mind making a blog post on motivation for bloggers (who are also writers)? I have a blog and I’m writing on it frequently, and I’m looking for more tips on motivation.

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