I’ve written over 70 books over my 40-year career, and I can tell you that as much as we would like them to, books don’t write themselves. Motivation is the measurement of the energy that is put into any endeavor.
When you write a book you are bound to struggle with periods where you lack the motivation to write or experience writer’s block. To combat this, you need an arsenal of tools and techniques that you can use to help you overcome motivational issues like getting started writing, finding your message, or getting rid of writer’s block. Writing is a job and every job needs the “write” tool.
Here are a few techniques I’ve used to overcome writer’s block from time to time and really get motivated to write. I’ve used these same techniques to write 4-5 books a year.
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1. Write Every Day
One of the tricks that artists use and that works well for writers too is to write often. Even when you don’t want to type a single word, do it anyways… just write. It triggers something in your brain so that the pathway between your daily routine and your creative side is easier to find.
Create small writing goals that you can achieve every day. You can set goals like, committing to writing 100 words or one page a day. At the end of 365 days, you’ll have a 365-page book.
If you want to complete your book faster, you can write a chapter a day.
Make the time that you sit down to write each day a habit. If you set a time to write in the morning, sit down and write at the same time each morning.
You can also pre-release your book on Amazon and date it to give you extra motivation to have it finished by a certain date. Write down your goals and review them every day and you will complete your book in no time.
2. Don’t Edit as You Write
One of the biggest mistakes I see with writers is trying to edit as you’re writing. Save editing for the very end. Switching back and forth between being creative and editing causes you to lose steam.
One of the greatest tools to cultivate motivation is progress. Keep writing and save the editing until you finish the book.
3. Get Rid of Distractions
Get rid of distractions when you write. Writing a book requires all of your attention. Create a space where there are few if any outside distractions. Put your phone on silent or turn it off. Leave a do not disturb sign on your door. Filter outside noise with a white noise machine.Your goal is to eliminate all distractions and get into a state of flow.
4. Take a Break
Don’t be afraid to put your book aside for a few days when you’re feeling blocked, then when you are ready, resume writing. Just make sure that you specify the time that you’ll come back to writing. Give yourself a strict deadline, and adhere to it.
Changing your environment may be all you need to jumpstart your motivation. Try writing in a different room, outside, or in a different color.
5. Use Examples From Others
If you have had the good fortune to read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, then you might be familiar with another useful tool for overcoming lacking motivation. That tool is the creation of analogies that support your book.
In Think and Grow Rich Hill uses the comparisons of rich and famous people to support or outline his points. When you are stuck, look to people you value and their lives to show examples of what you mean in your book. That process opens up a door that bridges the gap between critical thinking and artistic thinking.
6. Talk it Out
If you’re having trouble writing, try talking it out. Write as if you’re talking to a friend. As you write, consider that you are telling your story to one of your friends and as you do, write it down. When you tell your friends that you are writing a book what do you tell them? Write it down. What message are you trying to convey?
Having a conversation with your book is an excellent technique for talking through the problems that you need to solve for others in a casual manner. Talking is often easier than writing which is why this technique helps break your writer’s block.
7. Try Creative Writing Prompts
Try creative writing prompts as a way to challenge yourself to write. Those might include: Describe your surroundings — Look out the window and describe the first thing you see in great detail. Keep a journal of these entries as though you are Darwin traipsing through the jungle.
Try a word challenge — Open the dictionary and choose the first word you see. Use that word in a haiku or short quote that your main character might say. There are many writing prompts that writers use to jumpstart their brains and their motivation. Find a few that work well for you.
Being motivated 100% of the time just isn’t possible for most authors. So don’t get discouraged if you’re having a hard time getting started. These tools and techniques have helped me persist many times when I simply did not feel like writing.
Everyone has a book inside of them. It’s your job to find out what your message is, take action and just start.