Writing Motivation -- Inspiration for Writers and Novelists
Finding the Motivation to Write -- Books, Wall Art, and other Tools to Keep You on Track
Writing motivation is the one thing that gets books written. Yes, sound writing skills will make it a book an editor might read, and a fine-tuned style of writing together with an imaginative idea are necessary to ever stand out. But to get that novel or non-fiction work finished in the first place you have got to have the motivation to write.
Of course, it can be easier said that done! That's why it can be helpful to create your own backup team of quotes, inspiring authors, even images. Because the one thing about writing is that although it can feel lonely, you are never truly alone. Other people right now are fighting the same battles with writer's block or even good old laziness. Believe it or not, even the great authors of the past have been where you are write now.
It's a battle worth fighting if you have something to say. Whether or not you believe we all have a novel in us, if you have a burning idea for a book, don't let it turn into one of your life's regrets that you didn't ever finish (or start) writing it. Keep reading for a few ideas of how to get fired up to write once more.
Image copyright of the author.
How Do Writers Get Motivated?
It's the big question!
The question we all want answered, naturally, is where does this writing motivation come from? It is not enough to want to write a book. It's easier to find people who don't want to write a book than to find those who have a secret -- or not so secret -- desire to be a novelist. There is a gulf between these people and those who are published writers that intention, no matter how sincere, simply can't fill.
Motivation for writers is the fuel that will keep you going all the way from the first page of your first draft to the final correction. If you found that fuel dried up somewhere around the second paragraph, first know you are not alone! Second, take some time to explore some tips, tools and tricks you can use for writing motivation. Discover what works for you. And then... write!
Writing Motivation Tip 1
Use a Guidebook
You wouldn't set out on a long and complex journey without a map, no matter how well you could picture the final destination. Just because you know where you want to get (a finished novel) doesn't mean it will be plain sailing getting there. The smart thing to do is to find yourself a guide. Someone who knows the terrain, has been there already and can tell you about all the shortcuts and pitfalls.
Ah, but I already have a load of "how to write" books...
When it comes to writing, we are spoiled for choice. If I had spent the time writing that I have spent in reading books ON writing, my finished books would line a shelf. There are some fantastic books out there on writing technique. You probably own a few.
But here we are talking about writing motivation, right? So we can call on our guides to grammar and opening scenes and building convincing characters when we need them. These people will make you a better writer, if you put their ideas into use. First, it is necessary to write the book.
For this, we need a special guide. One who will focus on the mechanics of getting yourself to physically sit down, to mentally get into gear, and to type or write the words that make the sentences that make the chapters that make the book.
Call it writer psychology, motivational science, or anything you like. The whole point of writing motivation books is to get you started and, even more important, to keep you going.
Who can do that for me?
This depends. Since we are talking about psychology here, you need a writing motivation guide who is on the same wavelength as you. You might respond well to coaxing and need a lot of encouragement, and that's OK, you just need to find a writer whose style fits with that. You might need full-on discipline. Again, you're going to need to meet your match from among the published writing motivation guides.
I'll offer you a couple of recommendations here of writing motivation books that worked for me. Check them out, and if the style doesn't fit, explore some others. Somewhere out there you'll find the right writing motivation guide for you.
The Right to Write - by Julia Cameron
Give Yourself The Right to Write
Julia Cameron is well know as one of the most motivating writers out there when it comes to the creative professions. From The Artist's Way to The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart, she has been inspiring artists and other creative people for years.
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life was written specifically for writers and those who want to write, but need to give themselves permission.
Cameron believes that we all have the ability to be a writer, it is not some magical talent that only the chosen few can exercise. In each short chapter, she introduces us to aspects of writing as a way of being. This is followed by "Initiation Tools" that guide us past our own psychological blocks to writing.
Is this book for me?
This book is writing motivation with a gentle touch. The voice of this book is kind, like speaking with a cherished friend, and makes it an excellent read for those whose lack of writing motivation comes down to a lack of belief in themselves.
This guide to writing is not a one-trick pony, though. There are valuable lessons to be learned about discipline and how to find it, and about the sheer delight of writing. If you want permission to be a writer, and to know how to become one through daily habits, this is the book for you.
Writing on Both Sides of the Brain - by Henriette Klauser
Left Brain, Right Brain?
Another great choice for writing motivation is Writing on Both Sides of the Brain: Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write by Henriette Klauser.
I own this book too. It is a slimmer book than Cameron's, but just as packed with great advice to motivate your writing. The subtitle of this writing guide is "Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write" and it lives up to that promise.
Is this book for me?
While Cameron's writer is subtle and captivating, with the moral of the story revealed gradually, Klauser is much more direct. She teaches you to get tough with your inner critic. In rapid succession she hands you practical tools to achieve this.
As the title suggests, you'll learn something about the way the brain works. If you want to know not only how but also why, you might well find this an enlightening read. There's also some practical advice on planning and editing your writing.
How do you motivate yourself when writing?
What do you find the most effective writing motivation technique?
Motivational Tip for Writers 2
Use Visual Prompts
Books are wonderful things to read. You put them down feeling all fired up. Then you hit a challenge and your motivation can start to slip. Sometimes, what you need is a quick reminder of those clever ideas and tips.
A visual prompt can be a wonderful way to get past the doubts and right back on track with your writing. Choose the writing motivation poster or decal that is just right for you and put it right there on the wall above your desk, or in your writing corner.
Any time you need some encouragement, you need only glance up.
NOTE: A tip passed on by another writer -- move these visual prompts around occasionally. Otherwise you get so used to them that you stop noticing them.
Writing Motivation Tip 3
Don't Go it Alone!
Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? It happens every November. During this one month, people all around the world commit to writing a short novel. This novel must be started and finished during the month.
Sounds crazy? That's part of the magic. When you focus on writing within a short deadline, you don't have time to worry that you are not good enough and that your writing sucks.
Not only that, but you are doing it alongside an ever-growing number of other people. Any time, day or night, that you decide to bash out a few more paragraphs of your novel, you will have the comforting feeling that other people are doing the same thing. If you want, you can get involved in the whole NaNoWriMo community, posting on their forums or going to a local meet-up.
How NaNoWriMo helps with Writing Motivation
I completed NaNoWriMo twice, both times in the early years when there were only ever a handful of people in my country taking part. But, like all great ideas, it has snowballed and is now HUGE. It's a fun way to rise to a challenge and at the same time have your very own support team cheering you on. If you want support, you've got it. If you need competition as writing motivation, you've got that too as you find a like-minded soul to have a wordcount race with.
From my own experience, NaNoWriMo works. And it's fun. You might not have a publishable novel at the end of it. You might have a good first draft. At the very least, you might prove to yourself that you can be a motivated writer with the right support and mindset.
But it's not November...
There's an 11 in 12 chance that you are NOT reading this in November. If you can't wait until the next November to roll around, find yourself a writing buddy. Make your own support team, and set your own deadline. Writing can be a lonely business and to tell the truth many of us writers like it that way. However, don't underestimate the motivating force of being accountable to someone.
Accountability is a word well worth repeating here. We are quick to let ourselves off the hook... had a bad day; the cat's sleeping on my desk chair and I don't want to disturb it; I've got a bit of a headache; the weather is all wrong for writing...
Somehow we buy our own weak excuses. It's a whole different story when you commit to a target by telling someone else. Find yourself an accountability partner you work well with and, instead of sitting around waiting for writing motivation to mysteriously arrive, you will find yourself generating that motivation.
No Plot? No Problem! - by Chris Baty
Find Your Plot and Write a Draft Novel in 30 Days
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days is the official guide to NaNoWriMo -- and the best!
I LOVE this book! The author, founder of NaNoWriMo Chris Baty, is full of fun, making this a highly-entertaining read that you'll want to finish in one sitting. I know I did. He'll equip you with "secret weapons" and "magical tools" to help transform writing a novel into something that is so enjoyable that you won't want to miss out. This is followed by a week-by-week guide to surviving a NaNoWriMo writing marathon.
There is some fantastic advice between these pages. I particularly like the way he guides you towards writing about the things that excite your interest, instead of writing about the things you think you ought to write about.