to stay motivated when writing have a mug of tea

How to stay motivated when writing

Are you struggling to finish a piece of work? It can be difficult, keeping the momentum up at the end of a project. As we approach the end of NanoWriMo, there will be lots of people looking for some motivation to get to the end. It’s not all doom and gloom though! There is hope! Below are some of the ideas I use to stay motivated when writing.

The story is horrible. You’ve made so many mistakes along the way that there’s no point continuing. Every character is plastic, every plot twist predictable, and every story arc clichéd. You should give up now. Blah, blah, blah… It’s that little negative voice inside you. It sounds a little something like this, and it can destroy your enthusiasm for a story. Have you ever experienced any of these thoughts?

These thoughts are unhelpful, but they can be beaten. You just need to change your mindset.

Test your surroundings

Are you writing in an area conducive to it? Or are you stressed and trying to balance a child on your lap as you try and describe a science fiction space battle? Make sure you’ve got yourself set up to write properly.

Know you are not alone

What you’re going through? It happens to everyone. Everyone looks at the story at some point and thinks it absolutely stinks. This is a natural human response to anything that is as personal as a story. And with something that is so subjective (i.e. stories and plot) you are always going to have negative thoughts at some point.

Realising that everyone goes through that process is one of the first ways to beat it. I doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned movie writer getting paid six figures a script or a teenager plodding away in your parent’s basement, self-doubt is normal.

When you realise that all writers go through this phase, it makes it easier to break through to the other side and stay motivated when writing. Everyone can’t be right that their story stinks, because if that was true then no one would read anything anyone produced! So stop wallowing in self-pity, have a biscuit and a coffee, and you’ll be ready to start again.

Why did you start the story?

There was something that made you want to write the story in the first place. Some reason that you wanted to get words down on paper and eventually in the brains of other people. So, if the actual art of wordsmithing is dragging you down, return to that first idea and reflect on why the story is so important  to you.

Looking at your original motivations for the story should renew your enthusiasm for it. After all, this is your story. You weren’t coerced into writing it. You felt that the world needed to hear about it! You wanted to comment on a particular theme. Or maybe someone offered you some cash for it. Either way, these are all great motivators.

Test the story

Have you told anyone about the story yet? Despite the connections available to us, most writers continue to insist on writing on their own. In a dark room, possibly with the curtains drawn. If that’s what you need to help your process, then great! As I’ve said before though, there’s no such thing as writing in isolation anymore. So embrace that! Find yourself an enthusiastic, positive friend and simply tell them about the story.

If you can’t find any of the above, look for a supportive online writing community of beta readers and ask their advice. Explain that you’re losing a bit of enthusiasm for the story and could do with a bit of encouragement. Unless they’re total monsters some people will engage with you. You’ll get to see how they react to the story (Outrage? Intrigue? Excitement?) and will be encouraged by that. It’s all about small steps to keep your spirits up and stay motivated when writing.

There’s a small risk with this that the person won’t be complimentary – so that’s why its important to choose a positive person and explain how you’re feeling to them. Anyone but an absolute monster will offer you some encouragement, and as a bonus you’ll probably get some tips on how to improve it moving forward.

Remember – you can do this!

 

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