Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Four Ways to Keep Motivated for Writing

Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated. For me, this most often happens after I've sent out some queries and I'm trying to stop thinking about them by working on a new project. The "not for me" responses start trickling in and the beginning excitement of the new project wears off when I actually have to work at it. Then I start looking for ways to avoid writing, like blogging or cleaning my desk (a sign that I'm really in trouble). Does this happen to you?

Here are a few ways I get back on track:

1. Take a writing workshop. Getting an expert's view of the process often inspires me to get working on my writing. Somehow, I see my writing differently after getting another perspective.

2. Talk with a writing group. So much of my inspiration comes from my family and my writing buddies. Lately, my writing buddies and I have been checking in with updates on our writing progress. Knowing that they are working hard on their writing inspires me to work hard too.

3. Set a simple goal. I'm not talking about something like "Finish novel by end of the month". I try to set goals that I feel like I might actually accomplish, especially if I'm trying to build up some writing momentum. If I start small, and then actually meet my goal, it inspires me to reach higher next time.

4. Read (or listen) about writing craft. When my writing is stalled, sometimes I pick up a writing craft book, seek out some writing blogs or tune into a writing podcast for a little inspiration. I don't like to read books in my genre or visit bookstores when I'm lacking motivation, because it just reminds me of what I'm not accomplishing.

How do you stay motivated to work on your writing?

If you're stuck for an idea, check out this post by my MiG Writers group about where we get our best ideas.


  1. It's definitely hard to work and think straight when querying! But it's the best thing!

  2. Read is the one that motivates me. Great list.

  3. Yes and yes to everything you have here...great advice and insight (esp. on the things you do that tell you you are in my case it is the detail and attention I pay to the laundry and spring cleaning an entire room in the wrong season).

  4. Okay, that described me to a T! I totally do that. I've been procrastinating writing a lot lately. I think setting a goal will help.

  5. Talking with a writing buddy definitely helps to motivate me.

  6. Yeah, cleaning is a sign for sure. :)

    Reading a favorite author always pumps me up. Let's me know that it's possible.

  7. Reading and the blogs motivate me but they also suck at my time. Great post.

  8. I have a friend who's published several novels. Her daily writing goal is 20 words. It's a simple goal to accomplish even on "bad days", so you can be consistent. But it is enough that it gets her over the beginning-hump and she usually writes much more than that.

  9. Such great ideas! I love to talk to other writers, and read writing blogs and books. Energizes me every time!


  10. Andrea, you have just described exactly where I am and where I've been for longer than I care to admit - stalled and discouraged and looking for anything but actual writing to do. Thanks for all the great ideas about how to unstick. Hopefully some of them will work :)

  11. "These are four excellent ideas," said Anonymous Marcia. "I would add that reading somebody else's great MG novel motivates me."

  12. Susanna, I hope you find something that works for you! Lately I've been thinking that I need to revisit my plan for the novel, to see if there's something I can do to strengthen it, and get more excited about it.

    Marcia, sometimes reading another great MG novel helps motivate me, but at other times it makes it seem like my goal of publishing a MG novel is far out of reach!

    John, that is excellent advice! Just starting with a little writing can definitely have a snowball effect. I always think, "I'll just write for five minutes" but it turns into a lot longer, usually.


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