5 secret tips that keep writers motivated

by - March 26, 2018

Contrary to popular belief, writing is extremely difficult. There's a reason why so many people express an interest or a lifelong dream of becoming a published author and so few hopefuls actually end up turning that dream into a reality. William Zinsser said that hard writing makes easy reading, while easy writing makes hard reading. This is the core of why most people get demotivated when they've finished the first 10 pages of a book or even just the first sentence. Writers all want their writing to be an enjoyable reading experience, and first drafts are anything but enjoyable to read.

If you find yourself wanting to take your hard work in your hand and balling it all up into one monstrous fist, before you set it on fire and chuck it into the nearest bin then these tips might just work for you!

This is not a five-step programme, but it might as well could be. If you're going to get over being demotivated you'll have to sit down and ask yourself why. Why have you been looking at a blank page for the past hour? Are you distracted, do you need to do more research or are you simply not interested in what you were planning on writing? The best thing to do is to identify what is keeping you from making progress and then you can focus on improving on that roadblock. Do more research, find a different approach to what you want to write or find a place where no one can distract you and start typing away.

If you don't have a publisher yet, the best way to have yourself do the work as quickly as possible is to form your own deadlines. Give yourself rewards once you've reached that deadline and you submit what you were supposed to. Reward yourself with a break, a relaxing episode of your favourite TV show, or a bit more time to spend with your family. Whatever it is that you crave at that moment, reward yourself with it, but make it a point to only do it once you've reached that deadline. 

HR specialists Gerhard Furtmüller, Christian Garaus and Wolfgang H. Güttel were tasked to do a study regarding the participation of students on an online business course. They found that when given a small reward of extra credit, students perform much better than the groups that didn't have a reward promised to them. The group without the small reward answered 13 per cent fewer questions than the group with the extra credit. You will be doing yourself a favour by working hard and reaping the rewards.

Another way to stay motivated is to create a routine that your brain can adjust to. Once you've established what time you are most productive, you should sit down to write at that time every single day. This will train your brain and allow it to associate that time with productivity. Try not to write at the same place all the time, because you'll run the risk of making the space your routine too and then you might find it difficult to write while travelling which gives you another "reason" to not get your work done.

You should remind yourself that there is no writer on earth who has sat down to write a book or a textbook and had it sent off to bookstores exactly as it is. That would be madness, and no one would want to read that. If you think your work does not compare, that's probably because it doesn't. When you've put the words on the page, it is up to you and a team of experts to make sure that your work transforms from an incomprehensible mess of words into something that can be read, understood and enjoyed by someone other than yourself. So give yourself a break, writing is rewriting; remember that when you can't seem to string together a proper sentence.

No, don't be alarmed, this is not an instruction to plagiarise someone else's work. Examples of the work that you aspire to produce, is a big part of the writing process. You have to read in the field that you are writing in order to make sure you know what the market is expecting of you. Once you've done the proper research and once you've become inspired by the work of people who you value and look up to, you'll be more inspired and you'll have a better sense of what you should expect yourself to accomplish. Keeping ones' goals close to heart is a healthy way of keeping yourself motivated.

The next time you find yourself staring at a blank page, look to these five tips. Diagnose the problem at hand and make it your mission to find a healthy solution. We often find that it's much easier to resolve than we think.  

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