I think that writing every day is one of the best ways to stay motivated if you are a writer. But that’s a hard thing to do and the demand to write every day could weigh you down.
Here’s five tips that I find useful for making sure you do write every day:
Have a regular writing time. In the morning is great because then you know you have definitely done some writing during the day. You can always do a bit more writing later if you have time. If you just can’t write in the morning then choose another time when you won’t have too many distractions.
Remember that you write because you enjoy it.Dean Wesley Smith has an excellent post about this – we write because we enjoy don’t we? So try not to forget that and have fun with it. Don’t think of it as a chore – although some days it may feel like it!
Don’t worry about what you actually write.Neil Gaiman says that he thinks of everything he writes as a really rough draft so he just gets on and puts the words down without worrying too much about them. If you’re not stressed about quality the words will
come easier and you’ll end up being able to start writing and write more.
Don’t take time off for the holidays! Just because its the weekend, you’re travelling etc doesn’t mean you can’t spend twenty minutes or more doing a little writing. Learn to write in a notebook, tablet or even a smartphone. Don’t break the habit. Once you do you may lose track of the story you’re telling or forget how much you enjoy writing.
Don’t despair you miss a day! It happens. You get ill or there’s a crisis. Just try to write again as soon as you can, even if it’s just a few words so that you get back into the habit.
Hope these tips help someone – I’m always trying to remember them myself!
I write fiction. I am not a bestselling author. My work is mostly self-published at the moment and the work I have available sells modest amounts. I write because I love writing, but also because I would like my work to be read by others and I would like to be successful. So I am probably like many other writers starting out on a career in writing. I have had some good feedback and reviews, which is nice, but I also feel that I could reach more people with my work.
How do you stay motivated when success and fulfillment as a writer seems a long way off?
I am not going to offer a secret bullet, a magic cure, but there are some strategies that you can employ to keep yourself going – which I need to keep myself going. Here’s some ideas that are working for me at the moment:
Write Every Day
This really is important, I think. Like anything – exercise, brushing your teeth etc – if you do something on a daily basis it becomes habit forming. If writing becomes something you do every day then you will keep doing no matter how you feel your career is going. You could choose a certain time of day, but it could just be squeezed in during the day in an odd moment in the same way you might check out Twitter for ten minutes!
Keep Going With Projects
What I mean here is don’t give up on stuff just because you’re having a few bad days with writing it and you think its no good. Sometimes you can be writing good stuff and its still a real struggle. You can always take the attitude (used by Neil Gaiman no less) that whatever you write is just a really rough first draft and therefore doesn’t matter – you can always go back and fix it. If there seems to be something fundamentally flawed in what you’re writing then yes maybe stop, but if you can think of a way to rewrite it so that it is what you want to write.
Multitask Writing Projects
This is something that works for me, but may not work for others and I know goes against some other writing advice out there. I know from experience that I get pretty distracted if I’m writing a novel or other long piece of writing. I am also keen to write short stories and develop that part of my career, so instead of trying to fit those in between novel-length projects, I actually write novels and short stories concurrently. I always prioritize the novel-length work, but if I have a second writing session available in a day then I will use that to do some short story writing. I find that it keeps me fresh and also gives me the satisfaction of finishing a piece of fiction every week or two, which I can then send out to editors.
Don’t Worry About Sales and Promotion or Rejection
This is the one that is really difficult to come to terms with as a newbie writer – and after nine years trying to write I still class myself as a newbie! It can feel like you put a lot of effort into writing with very little gain either financially or from praise of readers or editors. The best way to handle that I think is to remember that you are just learning still. I haven’t written a million words of fiction, but I will do one day if I keep writing every day. And I know that I will get better and that the small number of readers who like my work will start to grow and then hopefully my career will begin to grow too.
Cherish the Positive Feedback
When you’re feeling bad go back and read the good reviews or comments you have – don’t use them as an excuse to ignore criticism, but do remind yourself that you have skills and talent as a writer that you can develop and that readers enjoy. Build on that. Spread the love!
It’s funny isn’t how the mind works to put off what we really should be doing. I got up a couple of days ago with the express intention of starting to write a guest post for another blog that I had promised to do. Somehow, instead I decided that while checking out the other blogger’s email about what she was looking for, I should also check the rest of my email. That lead to another non-urgent task vaguely related to looking at my email that I needed to do, but could probably have waited until later in the day.
Neil Gaiman is also having a similar problem – doesn’t want to do his proofreading apparently!
So the result? Well I lost my prime-time writing opportunity of an early morning start. But I did reduce my unread emails slightly from two inboxes.