How to Find the Motivation to Write

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Hey, it’s Peter here with another weekly installment designed to help you find the motivation and inspiration to be at your most productive. This week we’re talking specifically about how to find the motivation to write.

As we enter a new week, many of us will have writing and editing goals that we wish to accomplish. But there’s one small truth that can often impede our progress; writing and editing can be really hard work, and when things get difficult, finding the motivation to even begin can be even harder.

Some days the words flow effortlessly and you’re filled with satisfaction and contentment with what you’ve created. Sometimes, however, nothing comes at all—even thinking about writing or editing makes you groan in anguish. The whole process begins to feel too much like hard work and less like the pleasurable creative process that you had once imagined.

There must be something we can do though, right?
I’m more of a carrot-person than a stick-person. I believe that motivation, inspiration and rewards are far more likely to assist in the accomplishment of goals than the brute enforcement of self-discipline. Discipline certainly has its role to play, but I believe we get there by learning about ourselves, our environment and what tools we can use to help us become our most productive selves.

So how do we find the motivation to write and edit when we really don’t feel like it?
Firstly, if you’re serious about writing (and it’s ok if you’re not) then you must understand that sitting down to write daily is a principle and not a feeling. There will be many times when you don’t feel like working, but how you feel about it is irrelevant. Your goals don’t care how you feel. You’re committed and professional, so you’ll simply write because that’s what you do.

That all sounds a little tough, can we make it easier?
Okay, I did promise you some tools to help with this process. By following these steps, that elusive motivation will be much easier to find, and they all share the same idea at their core; making it easy to write. The less that stands in the way between you and the chair, the better. So here are the things that most help me find the motivation to sit my butt down and work:

1. Permission to suck. If we expect to sit down and produce our Magnum Opus, then that’s enough to stop anyone trying, right? You can improve it later. No one is looking over our shoulder judging what we write, so write whatever you want. This is your time.

2. A writing sanctuary. Create your own space to be creative. A clutter-free, well-lit creative space for you to work will certainly make the whole job more appealing. I love sitting down at my desk. It feels like my space. Maybe you’ll want a separate place to edit. Whatever you do, try not to play games or rest here. It’s better to associate this place with working. If you have to tidy a space to work each and every day that’s just another reason not to get to work.

3. Find and keep a schedule. Figure out when you’re most productive and try to keep to that time. Eventually, it will become a habit.

4. Set a daily limit. When writing or editing, set yourself a limit and stick to it. This is in keeping with your principles as a writer/editor. Soon, words will start to come much easier than they ever did. Muse? Who has time to sit around waiting for a muse when you have a word count to hit? The more you hit your word count, the more professional your working day/hour will feel.

5. Remove distractions. You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Turn off Facebook. Silence your phone. It’s time to work. A lot of our time is spent getting into the task, and when you’re distracted, you have to waste time getting back into the zone. By removing distractions, we can find the motivation more often and increase it.

6. Congratulate yourself. Tick off your word count on your task list. Grab a cup of coffee. Tell your writing community that you hit your quota for the day! You sat down and worked no matter how you felt. Good job!

7. Tell people. It’s important that you keep up this habit, so tell those around you that this is your new routine and you’ll be unavailable at this time of day. Hopefully, they’ll be supportive. They might even hold you accountable if you’re not working during this time, which is even better!

So there’s my seven tips to find the motivation to write. I really hope they’re useful to you. Let me know how you get along with them. And as always, keep writing, keep learning, and build a better book.

Are you still here? Break’s over. Go on, scram! It’s time to get started.

Peter Turley god of the word

Peter Turley

About the author

Peter Turley is a writer, editor, podcaster, education, and training professional and academic from the North West of England, UK.

His love for the written word began with reading and writing fantasy fiction before moving into the world of non-fiction writing self-improvement articles back in 2010.

In 2018 Peter graduated with an Honours degree in Creative Writing and English Literature and progressed onto an MA in Creative Writing, graduating in 2019.

Although an experienced editor of fiction, over the course of his studies his lifelong fondness for poetry grew into his preferred medium driven by his desire for linguistic clarity and self-expression.

In late 2018, he was honoured to represent his university in reading a collaborated piece at the London Camarade event which was subsequently published in the Leeds Human Rights Journal exploring the theme ‘Borders’.

In 2020 Peter was accepted onto a Doctorate programme and will commence his PhD in Creative Writing in January 2021.

When he’s not busy working in education and training, reading, writing, editing and studying, you can find him…well, those pursuits pretty much take up all of his time, but you can find him here at the Book Editor Show.

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