12 Simple Ways To Flip Your Writing Motivation Switch
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I have not motivation to write today?”
If you’re looking at a blank page and wondering how to get motivated to write, help has arrived. We’ve been there, too. It’s not fun.
But once you learn effective ways to have writing motivation, you’ll have the tools you need to tackle any new writing project and get into creative flow faster than you ever thought possible.
So, enjoy the following tips for writing motivation, and get back to creating like the mad, unstoppable genius you know you are.
In this post, you’ll learn to:
- Cultivate the right mindset to get inspired to write.
- How to enjoy writing without self-judgment.
- Determine your optimal writing time.
- Prepare yourself and your space before you write.
- Use positive affirmations to reinforce your writing motivation.
- Set up an accountability and reward system to reinforce a daily writing habit.
Your Writing Motivation Mindset
To flip that motivation switch, you need to remind yourself that what comes out of you at first probably isn’t going to be great. And it doesn’t have to be.
To keep your writing mindset on track, keep in mind the following truths:
- You can’t edit a blank page.
- The raw material that comes out of you is what makes it possible for you to craft something your readers will love.
- The first words you allow yourself to write don’t define you as a writer.
- The more you allow those messy, disconnected thoughts to come out, the more gems you’ll find that you can then polish and present to your reader’s advantage.
It’s your mindset that allows you and your work to shine. And the sooner you banish all thoughts like “If what I write looks like incoherent garbage, it must mean I’m a terrible writer,” the sooner you can take whatever comes out of your brain faucet and use it to create something beautiful.
How to Enjoy Writing
Do yourself a favor and just write without expecting anyone — including yourself — to criticize what you’re writing. Tell your inner editor to sit this one out.
Sometimes, you don’t know how good (or how bad) an idea is until you articulate it.
So, let your mind play with all the colors it wants to use. Let it explore all the corners of your mind and draw out whatever might make your final draft richer.
You’ll have more fun, and your writing will have greater depth and resonance than if you spend the entire time being too careful of every word you write.
12 Simple Ways to Find Your Writing Motivation
1. Set aside a specific daily writing time — and honor it.
Writing is serious business, so take it seriously. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, but you should respect it enough to make space for it every day and to honor your daily commitment to it.
Set a time and a place for it and show up consistently. The muse will know right where and when to find you. You don’t wait for writing inspiration; you make time for it.
2. Get motivated to write by not eating heavy meals.
It’s hard to focus on writing when you’re ravenous. So, if your stomach is crying out for attention, give it a little something to work on while you write. Keep it healthy, balanced and light to avoid fluctuations in your blood sugar levels and avoid artificial additives, some of which are neurotoxic.
Be as kind to your brain as you are to your stomach. It has a lot to do.
Related: How to Find Your Peak Writing State
3. Inspire yourself for a productive writing session.
Declutter your workspace and get yourself ready for writing. As far as possible, eliminate anything that could distract you:
- Social media notifications
- The ringing of phones
- Distracting ambient noises
- Harsh or inadequate lighting, etc.
- Email notifications
Keep what you need close at hand, too — whether it’s your favorite drink, your blue light blocking glasses, or your favorite pens and notepad (or a stack of index cards).
Time yourself, too, so you can quantify how much time you spent that day writing and compare it to how much you wrote (or edited).
4. Play pretend writing.
If everything is all set, and you’re still staring at a blank screen, pretend you’re writing busily, the words flowing out of you. Start typing, even if you’re just typing strings of gibberish.
Keep typing and allowing yourself to feel energized and excited, as though the words coming out of you are the best yet.
You can keep this up until the words in your head start shouting, “My turn, my turn, pick me!” and you start typing them instead.
Keep reminding yourself that you’re a creative and unstoppable writer and keep that faucet open.
5. Start by writing out some positive affirmations.
You can also start by writing out affirmations instead of strings of gibberish. Allow yourself to visualize and really feel the affirmations as you write them. Set them in the present tense.
Write “I’m a prolific and effective writer, who easily attracts the best clients and business partners,” rather than, “Someday, I’ll be a prolific and effective writer, and the best people will want to work with me.”
Or try “I sit down to write and the words start flowing effortlessly. I make the best use of my writing time,” instead of “If I keep this up, eventually I’ll be able to sit down, and the words will just come to me.”
You’re living and writing in the present, so that’s where those affirmations should be.
6. Give yourself a writing reward.
It’s not cheating to offer yourself a treat as a reward for writing a certain number of words or spending a certain amount of time writing. You’re human. And the promise of treats can give you that extra bit of writing motivation you need to get started.
Whether it’s chocolate, a fresh cup of coffee or tea, or your favorite sandwich, giving yourself something to look forward to when you’ve reached a micro-goal can at least get your butt into the chair and your hands on the keyboard.
7. Mix up where you write.
You don’t always have to write in the same place or at the same time. You don’t have to dress the same way, either. So, if you feel like you’re in a rut, try taking your laptop to a coffee shop or cafe that you like.
Order something small, open your laptop, check the time, and start writing. Keep going for at least a half hour — longer if you can (unless it gets busy, and they need the table).
You might feel a bit self-conscious about it if this is your first time typing in a public place, but give yourself an incentive to just get started — even if you start with gibberish or with affirmations. Give yourself a finish line.
And then go for it.
8. Picture this (and feel it).
If you have to write in a certain place, you can mix it up by picturing yourself somewhere else.
Say, for a totally random example, you spilled wine on your keyboard, and now you need an external keyboard for it, and you don’t want to lug around both of them (plus, it looks weird).
You could just stay home with your laptop hooked up to its external keyboard and its larger, more eye-friendly external monitor (because why not?).
But to make the process more exciting, you could picture yourself working in a top secret bunker with a holodeck. You can change the settings for this holodeck office to whatever you want, while still typing away at your computer.
Or you could picture yourself typing at a cafe in Paris or Sydney or Edinburgh — or wherever you’d like to visit. Picture it and allow yourself to feel what it would be like to actually be in one of those places (or in another place you fancy).
You can also play music or prepare a writing drink (or snack) that reminds you of the setting you’ve chosen. For extra motivation, tell yourself your client will be meeting you there in an hour to check your progress.
9. Use music for writing inspiration.
Who hasn’t gained some creative motivation from the music they listen to?
It’s almost as though the stories are embedded in the music itself or as if the mind behind the music is conveying ideas to the listener.
Even if that sounds far-fetched, it’s nothing new to receive writer inspiration from music.
This is about more than what some scientists have called the “Mozart effect,” but that does come into play.
Simply put, the ability of some musical pieces to evoke strong emotions also excites the brain into paying closer attention — boosting your memory and making you more receptive to new information.
And that new information could be an idea for a story or for a nonfiction book.
Need some ideas? Spotify has an excellent playlist for writers who need some background noise or motivation to write.
10. Do not disturb!
Sometimes, those headphones are enough to remind those around you that you’re working and do not want to be interrupted.
And sometimes, they aren’t.
So, make sure those who share the same living or working space know you have work to do and cannot be disturbed between the hours of X and Y, unless there’s an emergency. They’ll appreciate the heads-up, and (hopefully) will respect your need to focus on your writing.
If you have kids at home, and they want your attention, let them know your work schedule for the day: when you need to write and when you’ll be available for talking, meals, etc.
11. Remind yourself why you are writing.
Think of your goals, but remember to be grateful for what you have, now. Think of what you want to accomplish and visualize it, but don’t forget to be happy about what you’ve accomplished so far. Really feel those positive emotions, too.
Visualization helps with this, but mental pictures aren’t enough. See yourself living the life you want and feel the gratitude, joy, and excitement that go with it.
Feeling those emotions is an essential part of the growth process, and you’ll accomplish so much more if you take time daily to remind yourself to feel happy, grateful, and at peace as you work toward your goals.
12. Find a writing partner for accountability.
Announce your intention of writing every day, and invite someone to be your accountability partner. It could be a fellow writer or someone with different goals. The important thing is that you both commit to asking each other how the day went (or week, if daily isn’t feasible) and what you accomplished.
It could be someone you live with who asks you every evening how the day went and how much writing you did — and who encourages you to focus on and be proud of what you accomplished, to build on it, and to keep up the good work.
Whatever goals this in-house accountability partner has, you can provide the same back-up.
Writing Motivation Quotes
Still not motivated to write? Read through these quotes to ignite your inner writing flame.
“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.” ― Lisa See
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank
“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e. do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meeting on those days.” – J.K. Rowling
“The first draft of anything is shit” – Ernest Hemingway
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worse enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Always be a poet, even in prose.” – Charles Baudelaire
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” – Robert Frost
“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” – Jane Yolen
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury
“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.” – Mary Lee Settle
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wadsworth
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.” – Ray Bradbury
Go Forth and Be Awesome!
So, now that you have these ideas to add to your personal “How to motivate myself” list, you have the tools to reach your daily writing goals and to enjoy the work more than ever.
That was, after all, the whole point of writing this article on motivation for writers.
And if you found value in these tips, I hope you’ll share this article with others and encourage them to keep passing it on.
As fellow writers, it only makes sense to support each other in striving for and reaching our goals. The more we share what we learn, the more we pay it forward and help other writers accomplish more with their writing time and to live their best lives.
I hope you’ll share the love and allow it to infuse the words you write today.