Motivation is important in our day-to-day lives. For writers, it is almost equal to inspiration. And if it's equal to inspiration, you need to guard it jealously.
Getting motivated is oftentimes a controversial subject for writers. Some writers say we should concentrate on writing no matter what and the motivation will come. Others feel they cannot start writing until they feel motivated enough. Either way, you need to find the right kind of motivation to be productive.
How to Find Motivation and Stay Productive as a Writer
Here’re some top tips to help you find your own motivation and stay productive all through the process of writing.
1. Set your priorities straight.
Motivation is much stronger if it comes from you. External motivation, such as earning money, becoming a respected author, getting famous, being just like this or that writer works only to a certain extent. It fades quite quickly. If you don’t enjoy the process of writing, you will soon get disappointed in it. So, be honest with yourself and set your priorities straight to make this whole process comfortable and enjoyable. When setting priorities, choosing and committing to your goals, be specific. For example, don’t think about getting paid; think of what you want to do with the money.
2. Write down why you are doing this.
When you’ve chosen the goals that exactly suit you, write them down. This is very useful when you feel stressed. Make a mind map of what you want to achieve and check it once in a while. It will help you tap directly into your source of positive motivation and spur your productivity and performance.
3. Break down large projects into smaller tasks.
Our brain ‘tells’ us that we are happy and motivated when we complete tasks. Let’s presume that you want to write a novel. How much time do you think you need for this? If you think only about completing your novel after a couple days of work, you’ll feel the most unmotivated person in the world. On the other hand, if you split your main goal into small ones, and the little ones into even smaller tasks, and the tasks into habits, and praise, reward yourself for making every single step - you will get enough motivation to complete anything.
4. Create a habit tracker.
Habits and routines are actually what our lives are made of. Good habits make your personal and professional life better. If all the other spheres of your life are in order, good habits will allow you to have more time for your writing. Track your habits, including your good writing habits and those bad ones that you want to get rid of. Tracking your habits will help you identify your progress and allow you to praise yourself for it. Another positive aspect of tracking your habits is that when you think of your goals every day, you are motivated to achieve them sooner. You can use a number of special apps to keep track of your habits and goals, but a simple notebook will also do.
5. Stop multitasking.
It is well-known already that multitasking kills our productivity. If you switch activities too quickly or try to do too many things at the same time, you will hardly succeed in any one of them. But, multitasking is also bad for your motivation. Having a load of things to be done immediately and not having an idea on how to find time for everything is a strong unmotivating factor. Set aside dedicated time for writing. An hour, two hours, half a working day, the whole day - no matter. Forget about other tasks and focus on writing for this period of time. Take small breaks every 25-30 minutes. The Pomodoro technique for time management can help you with this.
6. Minimize procrastination.
Easy to say, huh? Well, as hard as it may seem, there are simple things you can do to stop procrastinating like not giving excuses for it. Procrastination can really waste your time and cause you to blame yourself afterward, at which point your motivation hugely suffers. It is possible that you can’t get rid of procrastination completely. Some people just need to procrastinate and it’s beneficial for them. If you feel that you are one of those people who find benefits in procrastination, find the right time for it. Nevertheless, it is still vital to remove all distractions that enable procrastination when writing: social networks, email, online games and other notifications. Convince yourself that you have less time than you actually have—at least for the period of writing.
7. Forget about perfectionism.
Some people try to use their perfectionism as motivation. I will write a perfect essay, they say. No, you won’t. Even if your essay is very good, there is very little chance that you will be totally satisfied with it. And what will you feel afterward? If you dwell on perfectionism and start writing to create something perfect again and again, soon your disappointment will get overwhelming. So, forget perfectionism! Don't insist on being perfect. Write to achieve your goals and to provide the most value. Write because you love what you do, at least.