Writing is hard when you’re motivated to write. But what happens when you lose your motivation? Writing becomes a hundred times harder!
As a writer, I write because it is a form of expression.
It’s how I make sense of the world I live in and a way for me to contribute to the world. More importantly, it’s the best way I can share my story.
Other people may feel more comfortable with different mediums but words, sentences, and paragraphs are my idea of a fun time.
So what happens when the very thing that fills you with joy suddenly becomes the very thing that drains you? What happens when you lose the motivation to write?
That is exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago. In fact, I almost didn’t realise the writing was making me miserable because I was so convinced I loved writing as it was the only thing I have ever wanted to do full-time. So what was going on?
Put simply, I had forgotten the reasons for why I write and instead started to focus on the below:
- Focusing on short-term gains rather than the bigger long-term view i.e. creating a new path as an author-entrepreneur.
- I had traded the joy of writing for external rewards and validation I.e becoming obsessed with hitting best seller lists.
- The pressure of these convoluted expectations was suppressing my internal joy.
If you feel the same, here are a few tips to help you get your motivation back for writing:
#1. Recognise how lucky you are!
If you are writing then you are truly lucky! You are one of those few people who actually write rather than the 99% of people who say ‘i wish I could write’.
#2. Showing up every day makes you better every day
It can be easy to lose motivation when you are behind the curve compared to other successful writers. I know I can feel like this a lot.
Stop comparing yourself to those writers who are 30 years ahead of you. The only writer you need to be better than is the writer you were yesterday. All you need to do is show up every day and your words and your creativity will also show up alongside you.
#3. Remember the reasons for why you write
There is a good chance you write because it adds something to your life. I know I write because it brings me joy. It’s a way to express my soul.
And I would still write whether one person was reading this blog or 100,000 people. Words are a way to connect with others and it is my strongest and most comfortable medium.
#4. I write because I have a story to share
This is what propels me to write. I write because I want to be able to make a full-time living doing something that brings me meaning. And writing brings meaning and direction into my life.
#5. Don’t seek external validation
I need to remind myself that I left the corporate world because I wasn’t happy with the need to constantly chase external validation from others. The same applies to writing. I need no one’s validation other than my own.
#6. Change your environment
I am a big advocate of habits, rituals, and routines to help me become a productive writer. But the downside to so much structure is that sometimes it can leave your creativity feeling stifled and stale.
This happened to me a few weeks ago when I started to struggle to churn out the words. Why? I had been practising the same routine for 4 months and I was creatively burned out.
I was creating content but not taking the time to consume and digest fresh content. As a result, I was getting frustrated with myself for not being able to produce the quality I wanted.
Now I can see that I needed some fresh air, some space to just breathe and live. Words come from our experiences of life. And you cannot write when you are not experiencing fresh life.
#7. It’s OK to take a break
This one relates to the above and is about self-care. Writing is hard! It’s hard to get a book out into the world! If it wasn’t so hard then everyone would be writing books.
But the truth is that writing is hard and it takes a lot of energy to do this. Recognise this is hard work and give yourself a break when you need it. Don’t feel you need to power through your word count goal if you really feel stuck.
Perhaps you are feeling stuck because you need to step away for a while? Listen to what you internal voice tells you and respect yourself by giving your body and mind what it needs.
You are not just a brain attached to a body. You are a whole human being that needs to be taken care of. And if you miss your word count goals for the day, just take a break and tell yourself you will be back to the words tomorrow.
#8. Reward yourself!
I need to do this more often! Reward your writing efforts no matter how big or small.
Hit your daily word count goal? Then take a break and treat yourself to your favourite beverage (mine is a cup of tea!).
Kept to your word chain for 5 days? Then treat yourself to have the afternoon off at the weekend.
Big success is made up of tiny smaller successes so you keep yourself motivated and reward yourself for the small things and not just the big things. In this way, you will enjoy the whole process of writing and not just the end result i.e. the book.
Writing is more than just the end product. It is the entire journey from idea conception to book production which makes you a better writer.
What else do you do to keep motivated when writing? Please share in the comments below.