Three Easy Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write

by Will Kalif

Writing is a wonderful, yet sometimes, very hard thing to do. Often it is very easy to not “make the time” to write and nobody is going to motivate you. You have to motivate yourself. Here are three techniques that will get you writing.

Technique 1: Modify Your Internal Dialogue

The biggest reason why a person doesn’t write is the internal dialogue that is run when making the attempt to write. It usually takes the shape of unreasonable questions like “What should I write? Or What if my writing doesn’t make any sense? Or What if my dream of writing is just silly?” These questions become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you hear yourself asking these questions you should immediately interrupt this pattern by replacing it with new questions like: “What kind of fun things are going to happen in my fictional world today or what challenges will my main character overcome today?” This shifts the focus from you to the world you are writing about. This is extremely effective in that it erases the thoughts of doubt you are having and starts a train of thought about the writing.

Technique 2: The Carrot

There are common tools used to motivate people in all sorts of ways and there is no reason why you can’t use these tools on yourself. I keep a pint of my favorite ice cream in the freezer with a note on it: “Did you write?” It is as simple as that. If I don’t write I don’t get the reward. You can set yourself a word or page count goal and then establish a reward for achieving it. And with writing it is very important to establish a time line too! You have to say something like: “If I write a page every day this week I am taking myself out to dinner on Saturday to celebrate.” And make sure you stick with it. No writing and no ice cream.

Technique 3: The Stick

As funny as it sounds this is a technique that really works on two different levels. Assign yourself an unpleasant task like cleaning the bathroom or organizing the garage. If you don’t make your writing goal then this will be your penalty. I have used this technique and it is really effective. And the interesting thing about how this technique works for me is that while I am doing the chore I assigned myself I am thinking up new ideas, scenarios and plots for my writing. For me, simple tasks that take a few hours seem to clear my mind and free me to think. So even if I lose the challenge I still win.

Writing is an extraordinarily rewarding pursuit. Yet sometimes it can be a very hard thing to do. It is just putting words down on paper and you have been doing this since the age of four. So don’t worry about anything and just write. The only way to get good at it, as with anything else, is to actually do it.

About the Author:
Will Kalif is the author of two epic fantasy novels. He is currently working on his third novel in that genre and his fourth novel in the genre of horror. You can check out his writing and his other interesting projects on his website – http://www.stormthecastle.com

Other Related Links:

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

On Writing

Childrens Writers & Illustrators Market 2007 (Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market)

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3 thoughts on “Three Easy Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write

  1. Excellent points. I’ve also been flipping it upside down by getting myself to do other arduos tasks by telling myself that I can write later.

    I’m dying to write but no bloody time because of work. Uck!

  2. When I first started, I used to get up at 5 AM to get time to write everyday, so getting up earlier is always a good way to find time (or skipping TV and staying up late 🙂 . And I never stop writing at a passive spot, so I don’t get stuck. I’ve got to stop right in the middle of the action, so I can pick it up the next day right where I left off.

  3. Benjamin, I do that too. I think it’s a guilt thing. But it’s something we have to get past. I’m trying hard where that’s concerned.

    Kaleb, I would love to get up earlier, but I feel exhausted as it is and I know I’ll feel worse if I do that. Like you, I always stop in the middle of that action too. It’s so much easier to get going again.

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