Motivation is key to any creative work – when you’re excited about your work, it hardly feels like work at all!

At its core, motivation is about desire – the desire to do something, according to the dictionary – but it is also about willingness. Thus, motivation is twofold: you have to want to do something, and then be willing to follow through with the action of doing it. It can be very hard to feel both of these driving forces at the same time. Often, we may have a desire to do something, but no willingness (time, energy, etc.), or we may have all the time and energy in the world, but no desire to write.

As such, then, it is important to give in to motivation when you feel it. Don’t wait – the second you feel like writing, sit down and do it! Even if it’s only for five minutes or a few sentences fumbled into the notes app on your phone, that is the power of motivation – and chasing that motivational movement will only lead you into sustaining it longer.

Motivation is often elusive, and ephemeral – it is often tied to our energy and stress levels, and can’t simply be generated by willpower alone. Sometimes, as authors, you must write even if you don’t have motivation, or worse yet, don’t feel like writing at all. So how can you harness the motivating power of – well, your motivation, when you first feel it at its strongest and most energizing?

We have compiled some tips below for utilizing and even sustaining your motivation.

  1. Write for yourself first and foremost writing for yourself, i.e., being indulgent, is one of the best ways to find motivation, as you are writing something that you, as a reader, desire to see out there in the world. Make sure each of your projects has a little bit of your reader wants and needs in it, and you should find motivation meet you all the sooner.
  2. Garner community support from fellow writers – nothing is more motivating than community feedback! Find a group of fellow writers, or even some friends who are avid readers, and ask them for feedback and advice. This kind of community can really help you feel driven to continue, if only to have something to show your friends and friendly author group. They can also be a great source of support when morale is low, and commiserating with other writers about the difficulty of the work is a great way to relieve some stress.
  3. Focus on what you have done – not what you haven’t – it can be easy to become demotivated by looking at all your lacks – missing a deadline, not writing enough in one day, mixing up a plot point and needing to backtrack; but try not to focus on what you haven’t done or haven’t done right. Instead, make a list of what you have accomplished – even including the corrections of your writing mistakes! This is a great way to see what you have accomplished, because, guaranteed, you have accomplished a lot since sitting down to start that first draft.
  4. Keep track of the small successes – hand in hand with the above, note those small success somewhere easily accessible, like a notepad on your desk or a sticky note on your laptop. These small successes can be as simple as “I wrote today” or “I finally thought of a last name for that character” and so on. All of these smaller triumphs ultimately add to the biggest goal of all: finishing that book! It can be greatly motivating to see that, every day, you succeed in something related to your writing, again, no matter how small.
  5. Consistency or motivation – or both! – at the end of the day, consistency is key. Since motivation is so elusive, and sometimes can evade you for weeks or months at a time, staying consistent in your writing is a good way to keep up the momentum. Write every day – even if its only for fifteen minutes! This will help train your brain and body to expect the task every day, no matter what – and one day you might find you don’t need motivation at all! The work – and habit – has become enough to drive you forward.

How do you stay motivated? Share with the KWL community! And, as always, happy writing.

%d bloggers like this: