So, you want to write a book. You have some great ideas up your sleeve and your initial excitement carries you through the first dozen pages.
But somewhere along your writing journey, you suddenly hit a road block—or rather, writer’s block.
When you don’t know what to write next or how to continue your story, staying motivated can be a challenge, especially if you have another job or everyday life issues to worry about.
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to boost your productivity and stay motivated.
How to Stay Motivated While Writing
The following steps can help you stay motivated and on track to meet your writing goals.
1. Write Every Day
If you want to make significant progress with your writing, you need to turn writing into a habit. One way to do this is by writing something every day around the same time, even when you’re feeling less than inspired.
To develop this habit, start by identifying which times of the day you are most productive. If you’re a morning person, for example, you might commit to writing for 3–4 hours each day as you sip your morning coffee.
Not everyone is a full-time writer, so if you can only commit to 30 minutes before bed each evening, that’s perfectly okay. What’s important is that you find your groove and stick to your commitment.
2. Set Goals
You should also list small goals that you wish to accomplish every day. Perhaps you want to write for four hours, or complete a certain number of pages.
Whatever your goal for the day is, make sure it’s ambitious enough to help you make progress but also realistic enough that you can safely achieve it if you stay focused.
Setting goals that you can’t realistically reach will only make you feel less motivated if you fail to meet them.
Always write down your goals and review them each day so you can create an actionable plan before getting started.
Even if your work for the day seems small, always keep the big picture in mind: You may be writing just a few pages at at time, but within months you will have a complete book to be proud of.
3. Write Now, Edit Later
The biggest mistake that many writers make is editing as they write. This actually blocks your creativity and significantly slows your productivity.
Try to turn off your internal editor while writing your first draft. Switching back and forth between creating and editing will not help you kill two birds with one stone—rather, it will interrupt your natural flow of productivity.
Instead, let your ideas flow naturally onto the page. Don’t worry about what might not work or what doesn’t sound perfect—you’ll fix all that in the editing phase.
4. Avoid Distractions
Limit potential distractions as much as possible before you begin writing because this kind of creative work will require all of your attention.
Look for (or create) space where there are few to no distractions. Turn off your phone or put it on silent—stalking your friends’ Instagram stories won’t help you out of a creative jam anyway.
If you have roommates or family members that like to check in on you, consider placing a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. Inform anyone you live with that you should not be disturbed unless something is urgent.
If you like music, you can pop in your headphones and find a playlist that helps you stay productive.
(Some people can work just fine with any kind of music, but for many, lyrics can be a major distraction, so consider sticking with some classical tracks.)
5. Take Breaks
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to salvage your productivity is step away from your work completely for a brief period.
Staring blankly for one more hour at your monitor will not help you get published any sooner. In fact, what you might need to get your blood pumping and ideas flowing is some time outdoors or a few laughs with friends.
So don’t burn yourself out by handcuffing yourself to your computer or notebook—there are really only so many hours you can actually be productive anyway before you hit a wall or end up scrolling through Facebook.
However, make sure that your writing hiatus has a deadline that you’ll adhere to, or your little break could turn into a distraction itself. Give yourself just enough time to clear your mind and relax, so that your new ideas can find their way, then get back to work.
You may also just need a change of environment to help you feel inspired. If you encounter a creative block, try writing in a different room, outside in your backyard, or in a peaceful cafe.
6. Talk it Out
If you’re having trouble writing, write as if you’re telling a story to a friend.
Having a conversation with your book is an excellent way of talking through the problems that you need to solve, whether you’re having issues with the plot development, characters, or layout of your book.
But you don’t have to just write as if you’re talking to a friend—try actually calling a buddy over for lunch and asking them to take a look at what you’ve got so far.
It’s always helpful to get a new set of eyes on your work. They might catch mistakes or offer up helpful ideas about the direction of your story.
For a lot of people, talking is easier than writing—which is why this practice might just break your writer’s block.
7. Try Creative Writing Prompts
If you need some more inspiration, try creative writing prompts. These might include describing your surroundings or imagining a character in a different genre. While these might not lead to your next novel, they will get your ideas flowing and help you around your writer’s block.
Writing prompts can increase your creativity and renew your motivation—you just have to find the ones that work well for you!
Every writer encounters writer’s block or a lack of inspiration at some point. But don’t throw in the towel (or pen) next time you feel stuck.
By following the tips above, you can boost your motivation and productivity to help you stay on track with your writing goals.
We Accept Submissions
If your newfound motivation helps you finish your novel or nonfiction manuscript, take a look at TCK’s submissions guidelines—we’re always on the lookout for great material!
Do you have any tips for staying motivated as a writer? Share them with us in the comments below!