For some, the process of writing is easier than for others. However, there is always a challenge involved with writing regardless of your level of skill and experience. One of those challenges is how to stay motivated when writing on a schedule. The fact is: it takes dedication, focus and mental energy to formulate compelling, original content on a daily basis.
However, if you are in the content marketing business, or if you’re an Indie writer creating your first, second, or 10th book, you know that writing is not simply an option – it is a requirement. Whether you’re involved with producing white papers, social media posts, blog posts, how-to guides, or any other form of commercial content, you need to produce a steady stream of writing in order to make your brand, product, or service visible and appealing.
In order to do this, you need to know how to conquer the ‘blank page’ syndrome. Let’s look at a few ways you can boost your motivation and get your creative juices flowing with less laborious effort.
How to conquer "blank page syndrome" and stay #motivatedwhenwriting #iartg
Why are you writing in the first place? What is the reason you write? What do you want to achieve with your writing?
You want to be clear about these motivating factors and keep them front and centre.
Jot the answers to these questions on little sticky notes and put them in prominent places where you'll see them: on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, in the middle of the steering wheel of your car.
The more you can remind yourself for the reason you want to write, the easier it will be to stay motivated when writing.
You probably use your calendar to book the appointments you have with other people. Use it for yourself! As a writer, you often have many other things going on that need your attention in addition to the actual writing itself. This may include administrative tasks, marketing tasks, organizational tasks, and more.
However, it’s important to schedule ‘writing only’ time from which you will not stray. Don’t even think of calling, emailing or reading other unrelated material. You need to remain focused during the ‘writing only’ portion of your work. If you can do this, eventually you’ll be pleased with the progress you make over time, which means it will be easier to stay motivated when writing. You'll want to push forward.
Schedule 'writing only' time to help stay #motivatedwhenwriting #amwriting
Sometimes family, friends and even coworkers may not realize there are time slots in the day, your ‘writing only’ time, where you must remain undistracted and undisturbed to get your work done. It’s important to let them know about these times, so they can positively participate in your quest to stay motivated when writing.
If you’re not a morning person then don't try to schedule your writing during the morning hours. Test out this option by setting aside a certain segment of time in the morning, possibly right after you eat breakfast to begin practicing your writing wares.
Your morning session may be followed by an afternoon or evening session to either continue to add new content to your work or move onto a new section altogether.
Those who consider themselves night owls might work best late at night or even beyond. You may encounter little to no distractions, no phone calls and fewer family obligations at night. If this is you, test to see if your best inspiration, your thoughts and emotions can be assembled and infused into your writing during this time.
Breaking up your work into smaller segments can help you advance with much less effort. For example; plan to write a reasonable number of words each day, say one thousand. If you think about breaking that down further into several words per hour, say two hundred, you will find it easier to complete five thousand words a week, and within about twenty business days, you will have completed a twenty-thousand-word manuscript. Use the rest of your time taking care of business, family and a bit of rest and relaxation.
Form a habit of when you’re going to set aside time to write each day. This can help you stay motivated when writing and stick to a routine that will help you get the project finished on schedule.
Stay aware of your goals from day to day and week to week, and dedicate the necessary time to meet these goals in those smaller, designated chunks. Before you know it, you will have completed your project.
I make use of headphones and my favourite lyric-free music. This cuts out all the extraneous noise and makes it more difficult for my wife Boni to open up a conversation (haha). For me, the lyric-free thing is important. Because as soon as someone is singing words, I’m listening to those words and no longer immersed in the words I’m trying to write. That might not be a problem for you – maybe a little Led Zeppelin loud in your earbuds will be just the thing. Experiment! Give the music and headphones trick it a try!
The environment in which you work can make a big difference with your motivation. To help ensure you stay motivated when writing, find a safe writing space, whether it’s in a room of your home, outside in the garden or in some other venue. They key is to find a space with surroundings where you know you can be efficient and productive and remain focused on your writing.
If your phone rings or beeps excessively throughout the day you should consider making a few adjustments. Either ignore the ringing or better yet, turn off the phone to minimize the distractions. Decide to check your phone only during short, five minute breaks. This will help you respect your ‘writing only’ time while allowing you to respond to matters that really do need your urgent attention.
Deliberately setting rewards for yourself during the course of your writing project may help you stay motivated when writing on a schedule. For instance, treat yourself to a nice meal or a yummy snack after you have completed a certain block of content within a certain period.
If you know you have a nice reward waiting for you on the other side of a pre-determined block of writing time you will find it easier reaching the finish line and meeting your writing goals.
Carrying around a journal, a notepad or even an audio recorder for the purposes of capturing your thoughts can be quite useful to you as a writer. You never know when a flash of inspiration may hit. If you think of something valuable to include in one of your writing projects while you’re on the go or away from your work, capture it while it is top of mind. If you don’t, you may forget it all together. Having this information readily available can give you added motivation to include it in your project.
Although writers may have varying opinions on this, if you need additional motivation, try leaving the editing work until after your completely finished writing the blog, chapter, or entire book. Going back and forth between writing and editing may cause you to lose focus and break your creative flow and hinder your motivation. Don’t be afraid to try different concepts to help you stay focused and motivated when writing on a schedule.
As you proceed in your journey as a writer, take advantage of the tips mentioned above. They just might help re-energize your writing, start your creative juices flowing and move you a few steps closer to becoming a successful author.
John is the technical and creative operational genius behind Ingenium Books. Creating a better world is John’s personal purpose.