If you are like myself and any other writer I know, keeping yourself motivated is the biggest obstacle to getting your words on a page. So many distractions – life, social media, that spice rack that suddenly needs alphabetising – and too little time. You’ve got the ideas, you know what comes next, but you just need to sit down and write the damn thing.
Today, I am going to share some of the things I use to trick myself into writing:
If you haven’t heard of Freedom by now, you’re really missing out. It’s an app – with both free and cheap versions – that blocks out either selected internet sites, or just your entire internet, for a selected period of time.
I generally choose ‘all internet for 1 hour’ and it is amazing how productive I can be when I am not checking Twitter every two minutes.
This is a lifesaver to keep you focused, particularly when you only have a limited window in which to write. Definitely worth the purchase price if you can afford it.
- Word Wars
This is great if you also have a writer friend that is struggling to find the motivation to write. Set yourselves a selected period to write for – 30 minutes, an hour, even a day – and then write like the wind. Comparing your wordcount at the end can be wonderfully motivating.
Knowing that someone else is struggling with the same things you are is also really comforting. You can beat the lack of motivation together!
- Finding the Right Accompaniment
I don’t tend to listen to music when I write, I find it too distracting, but I have a little trick when I really need to kick myself in the pants and get writing.
Behold, an extended loop of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song:
14 and a bit minutes. But it’s usually enough. When that music is on, I feel like I can conquer any writing obstacle there is. Nothing seems impossible with the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music playing. I don’t like to overuse it in case it loses its power, but it’s great for a last-ditch attempt at getting myself in the writing mode.
- Competing with Yourself
Sometimes, you need the motivation of a Word War, but you don’t have any writerly friends available to compete against. So, you can do the next best thing: compete against yourself.
My way of doing this is playing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme above and trying to beat my personal best of words written in that 14 and a bit minutes (480). I have also been known to try to beat my personal best of words written in a day (6,000).
- Reward Yourself
Set yourself a word goal – I generally go with 1,000 words, but it can be whatever you like – and give yourself a reward when you get there. Each person’s reward will be different for them, but mine is almost always food-based.
These are some shortcuts I use to motivate myself to write, but quite honestly the best thing in the world is to develop a habit of doing it every day, and don’t break it for anything. It’s the best way I have found to make writing easy. Whatever it is – 200 words a day, 1,000 – just create a habit and before you know it writing will no longer be a chore, it’ll just be one more thing you do in your day.