By Justin O’Leary
Probably the easiest way to get motivated about writing is to focus on the benefits of writing. Yes, there are benefits, don’t be silly! Have you ever read a story which you enjoyed? I mean really enjoyed? Can you imagine the joy the author must have experienced in writing that story? To create a whole new world with new characters and new situations and then look back with a feeling of immense accomplishment – that’s a benefit of writing. Another benefit is knowing your story can give other people something to enjoy, not just this year but forever. There’s also the escapism benefit to writing. You get to fantasise, play, act, thrill, play Cupid, get revenge, sound off, make a martyr, give birth to a heroine and so on. But the best benefit of all is you get to have total control!
A simple way to motivate yourself is to make a list of benefits you get out of writing and to place it where you’ll see it. It’s no good putting it in a drawer or under a bunch of papers on your desk. If you want to remind yourself of the benefits, you should force yourself to stick it up around your computer monitor or hang it from the ceiling above your desk, so it’s right in front of you. That list is your inner voice talking – listen to it!
Another way to motivate yourself is to set yourself easy achievable goals. Did you know if you were to write 250 words a day, that’s roughly a page, you would end up writing 91,250 words in one year? That’s more than enough to complete a novel. But in day-to-day life, these numbers mean very little don’t they? Keep a log of how many words you write however, and soon those numbers start to mean something. You can look back with a sense of achievement at how much you’ve written. This will have the effect of spurring you on to keep writing. Just don’t forget to set yourself easy achievable goals. For some, even 100 words can be exhausting.
‘But it’s too difficult!’ I hear you say. This happens to all writers at some stage. When this happens it’s important to reassess your goals. Perhaps things are going on in your life which are affecting your concentration. There’s nothing to stop you from having a holiday from writing. Remember, you’re in total control. Go to the calendar and work out how long a break you feel you need. Mark the date on which you’ll resume writing, then go off and sort out your life problems.
Ultimately, when it comes to motivation there’s only one person who can help you and that’s you. That might sound like stating the obvious but think about it. We often say ‘if only … ‘ as if someone else is stopping us from writing. Every now and then stop and ask yourself ‘why do I want to write?’ Hopefully you’ll get a jolt along with a thought such as ‘hey! I remember now’ and then you’ll just write.
© Justin O’Leary 1998 – 2011