Have you ever been in a writing slump where you know you want to have a finished story, but you can’t seem to make yourself write? I have.
In fact, I have struggled with motivation slumps my whole life. I’ve had months on end when I was completely devoid of motivation to write. I wanted to have a finished novel, but thinking about writing made me sick. Every night, I was plagued with guilt for not having finished what I knew was an amazing story. I thought I was lazy, stupid, and completely alone.
I was wrong. Turns out, most writers struggle with motivation as well. In fact, writers are known to suffer from anxiety, depression, and a host of other conditions that make writing difficult and tedious.
So why do we write?
Because we have to. You don’t become a writer; you are born one. It’s in your blood, it pumps through your veins, and if you deny the call of writing, it will eventually burst your heart. Your thoughts, your emotions, your deepest feelings will splatter across your world in an ugly mess. So, do yourself and everyone else a favor, and write.You don’t become a writer; you are born one. It’s in your blood, it pumps through your veins, and if you deny the call of writing, it will eventually burst your heart. Your thoughts, your emotions, your deepest feelings will… Click To Tweet
It isn’t that easy, of course.
A million and ten different things can zap your emotion and leave you feeling empty and useless. Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration, something to spark motivation in you. If all you need is a kickstart for your motivation, I have another article that lays out the steps to find motivation that will drive you to write.
If you would like to read ‘10 Ways to Get Motivated to Write’, click here.
But here is the hard, cold truth: no matter what you do, you won’t always be motivated. You will have days when you are tired, grumpy, and frustrated as a writer. You may need to take a week off, and that’s okay. But what if that week turns into a month, which turns into a year. Or maybe your lack of motivation makes your writing schedule inconsistent. You write here and there, but you would rather write every day and just can’t seem to find the motivation.
Don’t wait for motivation; chase your dreams now. Motivation might start a novel, but discipline will finish it.Don’t wait for motivation; chase your dreams now. Click To Tweet
So, what do you do on days when you have zero motivation?
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s also highly effective. To deprave someone means to hold something back from them, and that’s exactly what you need to do to yourself. Find the one thing you are willing to write for. Maybe you can’t go to bed without watching a T.V. show. Perfect! Tell yourself (and use your stern tone) that you aren’t allowed to watch a single thing until you write for a certain amount of time. The key to this strategy is that you have to stick with it. Don’t cave to your own desires. Use some self-control, tell yourself who is boss, and kick butt at the keyboard.
Have a Reward System.
On days when you don’t feel motivated to write, you may still feel motivated to get a reward. This is a hit or miss strategy. If you are going to use the reward system, you have to meet two criteria. First, the reward has to be something you really want or enjoy. Second, you can’t get the reward unless you complete the task, and you have to know that. You can’t be thinking in the back of your head that you are going to buy that new laptop whether you meet the word count or not. Thoughts like that will sabotage this strategy. Don’t get in the way of your own success. Check out my Pinterest board ‘Christmas Gifts for Writers’ for reward ideas. Also, a reward doesn’t have to be something huge. Not everyone can afford a new laptop. Maybe your reward is going for coffee at your favorite shop or having an at-home spa day.Don’t get in the way of your own success. Click To Tweet
Tackle Something Small.
When you are running low on motivation, writing a novel sounds like a horribly impossible task. A short story about one of your novel’s characters may not seem as intimidating, though. True, it doesn’t add to your novel’s word count, but it does have its benefits. For one thing, the act of writing will improve your writing. Second, this will help tremendously with character development. It’s better than watching time slip away as you catch up with Netflix.
Location, Location, Location.
Changing your writing experience can make a huge difference. Go to the coffee shop. Take your laptop to the park. Edit your writing while soaking in the sun on a lawn chair outside. Switching up where you write can help make writing more bearable on a low motivation day. I am way more excited to write when I know that I get to do it in a cute little coffee shop with a sugary drink that hardly tastes like coffee. Don’t have the time to leave the house? No problem! Enhance the writing experience by including something you love. Are you a big fan of a certain tea? Brew a cup and enjoy it while you write. Adore a certain set of pajamas? Snuggle up in them while typing away. Having something you enjoy while you write will create the illusion that you are enjoying writing.
15 Minute Rule.
This is also known as the ‘suck-it-up-buttercup’ rule. You tell yourself that, yes, writing sounds miserable today, but it is going to get done. Then you comfort your newly distraught self by giving the assurance that you only have to write for 15 minutes, and then you are free to go. You will be so relieved by the thought of only 15 minutes that you might actually get excited to start writing. After all, 15 minutes isn’t very long at all. The great part about this strategy, though, is that once you get started, you most likely won’t want to stop after 15 minutes. The wheels in your brain will be turning by then, and you’ll start to feel the passion for writing come alive. Even if you don’t want to continue after 15 minutes, you’ll probably have a solid page written, and you can feel proud about that.
Want more tips and tricks to stop procrastinating and start writing? My FREE ‘No Excuses’ Kickstarter Kit comes with 19 pages of articles, prompts, and printouts to help you banish procrastination and increase your word count. Click here to get my FREE kit. You can also receive this FREE kit by signing up at the top right side of this page.
Now it’s up to you.
You can do this. You can write the next bestseller. You can be the role model future aspiring writers look up to. But you have to want it, and you have to be willing to work for it. Commitment is what keeps you going long after excitement has disappeared.