If you’ve ever started writing a book, you’ve probably wondered how to stay motivated while writing a book. There is no one method that works for all writers, but I have some ideas.
The motivation to finish reading a book is sometimes hard enough to find. But when it comes to writing? Jeez.
Before we get to my tips to help you stay motivated to write your book, I think it’s really important to think about where you are right now. You won’t always have the energy or drive or time or whatever to write a book, and that’s cool.
Motivation can only take you so far, and sometimes you need some time to rest and recharge. If you’ve been struggling to write anything since 2020, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of stuff that’s been catching up to us, and motivation is scarce.
Again, that’s okay. Take care of yourself so when the motivation does hit you again, you’re ready to take advantage of it. In the mean time, I recommend trying some morning pages or these ideas for artist dates.
Now, let’s chat about how to stay motivated while writing a book.
How to Stay Motivated While Writing a Book
No one really knows how to motivate a writer. We’re all different, and I would argue a lot of us have weird brain chemicals that keep us from operating the way the average person does. Even so, I have some ideas to help you stay motivated while you brave the dark night of the writing soul.
001: Know what motivates you to write.
What’s the one thing that keeps you going when it comes to writing? Is it the idea of a finished product? Do you like to hit tiny goals? Are you the type of person who needs to see visual progress being made?
Whatever it is that works for you is going to be the thing that helps you keep going. I like to check writing sessions off to do lists or print off the pages I’ve worked on so I can see the pile steadily grow and know I’ve made progress.
But how do you just jump into a writing session? Well, you need some inspiration.
I like to make playlists for the books I’m working on and I’ll listen to those as I jump into writing. I also burn a scented candle when I have a writing day because it helps me get into the novel writing mood.
You also can’t beat clearing away distractions. I recommend blocking sites that distract you and going into full-screen mode with whatever writing software you use.
Sure, that doesn’t seem like motivation, but if you’re distracted, there’s no room for motivation.
002: Create a daily routine.
The best way to build daily writing motivation is to create a writing routine. If you have the routine set, you don’t have to worry about motivation.
The goal with a good routine is to know what motivates you and to make that second nature. So I recommend thinking about how you work best and creating a routine to make those conditions the norm.
I mentioned in the last point that I like to clear away distractions. So, my writing routine is coming into my office, lighting a candle, and setting Self-Control to block the apps that distract me the most.
From there, I set a timer and write until it goes off.
It’s worth noting here that you don’t have to write for hours on end. You can set a timer for half an hour if that’s what works for you.
Having a manageable routine that isn’t a big daunting time block is a great way to help yourself stay motivated. That way you aren’t dreading the four hours marked off on your calendar. Of course, if you want to write for four hours, you totally can. But on the days when you just want to make a little forward progress without burning out, a small writing session as part of your routine is super helpful.
003: Focus on the habit over the writing output.
In the beginning of building this routine, you need to focus on the habit you’re building more than the writing output. That sounds weird, but the focus needs to be putting this routine on autopilot. Once it’s there, then it’s a lot easier to fall into the writing session and you’ll find you don’t need the motivation because you just do the writing.
That’s the secret of motivation in creative writing, by the way. It’s also the secret with building a workout routine, or any other habit that you don’t do naturally. You build the habit until it’s just what you do, then you don’t need the motivation. The habit carries you through the days when you don’t want to do anything.
004: Keep your goals manageable.
It’s impossible to get motivated to do the impossible. So if you have on your to do list that you want to write 20,000 words that day, you aren’t going to do it unless you have a deadline and your career or financial well-being are tied to that goal. And even then, you aren’t going to be happy about the amount you’re writing, and you’ll burn out hard.
So when you’re trying to build this habit so you can consistently work on your writing project it’s imperative to keep your goals manageable. That way, you keep coming back to the habit instead of burning out or putting it off because it’s an insurmountable hill.
I recommend starting smaller than you probably want to. Shoot for around 300 words. You can knock that out relatively quickly, and when you’re done, you’re 300 words further than you were when you started.
Sure, this is a very slow pace, but that’s just for the beginning. Once you feel pretty comfortable with the 300 words, then you can up that goal. Eventually, you may be at a 5,000 words a day pace.
But remember, you can’t start there. So keep it small to start.
005: Celebrate wins.
Celebrating wins is the best way to keep yourself motivated. So, after you set a manageable goal that you hit every single day for a week, it’s time to treat yourself.
Go grab a paperback from the store or take yourself out to breakfast. Whatever prize works for you is what works for you. The key is to celebrate.
Celebrating is going to reinforce that habit. You need to keep reinforcing the habit until it’s strong and steady.
And after a while, you’ll find that habit is there and there’s no need for motivation because you’re writing your book without it.
How Do You Stay Motivated to Write a Book?
What’s your secret to staying motivated? Did you build your writing habit so you wouldn’t have to be motivated? How do you celebrate your writing wins?