By Ashley Chan
You know you’re definitely a writer when it’s fun, frustrating, easy, and challenging, simultaneously. Some days, you’ll feel like there are endless possibilities to your writing. Meanwhile, there are other days when you can barely get two words out!
So, here are 6 ways to stay motivated to write!
1. Create an outline
Ever have those moments when you have a constant stream of ideas, but don’t know how to organize them? Or perhaps it’s the complete opposite: you don’t even know where to start. To remedy this exasperating feeling, try creating a general outline. This is a great way to plan and organize what you’re going to write about.
Where do I even begin?
Start off with a topic—this should be something you’re at least a little interested in. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing, likely you won’t feel motivated to write it at all. Do some light research on the topic itself and learn more about the purpose for writing about this topic. The more you know about your chosen topic, the easier ideas will flow through! From there, you can begin thinking of potential subpoints you want to include in your piece of writing. While considering your subpoints, remember to be mindful of who your target audience is going to be. Once you get that momentum rolling, you might not even notice that your outline is complete!
2. Ask good questions
Once you’re done creating your outline, take a good look at it and concentrate on the subpoints you thought of. If you ever get stuck while drafting, think about how you can delve deeper into those points. How? Well, ask good questions. Seems simple enough, right? But asking yourself good questions certainly helps spark new ideas, which will help you stay motivated to write.
So you’re probably wondering:
What kind of questions should I be asking myself?
It depends on what you’re writing! If you’re writing something more creatively, such as a short story or a novel, ask yourself what the overall plot will look like? What is your protagonist’s life goal and what’s their story goal? What kind of conflict will your characters encounter throughout their journey?
These are just a few to start you off, but as you continue asking questions, you’ll soon realize there are a lot of new ideas to write down—ones that’ll certainly motivate you to start writing!
On the other hand, if you’re writing a research or argumentative paper, you’re going to have to ask yourself basic questions first, like what is the purpose of this paper/what is the argument I’m trying to get across to the reader? Who is the audience I’m writing to? In other words, is my audience other college students, or am I writing to people with PhDs?
3. Do NOT edit as you write
I must say, I have a bad habit of doing this! If you also have this habit, pretend that you’re writing in a limited amount of time and you have to write non-stop. The goal here is to get everything on the page first! Yes, there may be times when you feel as though your writing isn’t up to par with your own standards. But that is okay, at least for the time being. Stopping to edit while you write causes you to slow down. When it’s time to start up the next day, you might not feel as motivated to write, because you didn’t feel productive the time before. I’ve seen writers think of something, write it out, and delete the entire paragraph! Try your best to not do that!
Even if it doesn’t sound good, keep it anyway. You can always copy and paste it to the bottom of your document for reference later. Sometimes these random bursts of ideas can provide you with some inspiration when you least expect it to.
So, let’s try our best to not edit as we write… We’ll do it together!
When you’ve finished everything, then you can spend some time editing, revising, and reshaping the entire piece of writing. Now’s the time to reword that funky sentence, or rewrite that scene you feel is too flat.
4. Write for at least 30 minutes a day
It’s always a great idea to maintain the strength of your writing skills, even if you’re not working on a project. If you don’t know what to write about, find some interesting creative writing prompts to spark some inspiration! Write a short prose piece, or several poems to get your creative juices flowing—it’ll definitely be worthwhile. If you’re writing even just a simple scene, this exercise is a great way for you to work on certain elements of craft. This can include imagery, more sensory details, suspense, characterization, and so much more! By the time you know it, those 30 minutes will be over, and you’ll be a stronger writer by the end.
A perfect motivator is to check out our Instagram for Writing Prompt Wednesday posts. Write a piece of 1,000-1,500 words or less and submit it to us at email@example.com. You’ll have a chance of being featured on our podcast, From the Press!
5. Find the right environment
Sometimes, inspiration and motivation comes from the environment you’re in. Whether it’s the comfort of your own couch, or a picnic blanket at the park, find a place that you feel most motivated in. Make sure your chosen area is comfortable and tidy—these two aspects are important when it comes to motivation!
My ideal environment to write in is at night in my bedroom, with some string lights and piano covers of Kpop songs for that serene ambiance. I do this every day, which also helps me develop a thorough writing routine. This definitely motivates me to work on the novel I’ve been writing!
But with finding the right environment, you also want to consider any possible distractions. Of course, the goal is to stay focused so you can be as productive as possible!
So, that gives us our last way to stay motivated to write:
6. Put away distractions
I think we both know which distraction I’m talking about—our phones! It’s definitely not something easy to do, especially in this day and age! Try putting it on the other side of the room before you start writing. This will prevent you from “accidentally” scrolling through TikTok or Instagram for thirty minutes… I, for one, am guilty!
So, it’s worth it to put that phone away. Once you get into the groove of writing, you’ll be glad your phone wasn’t there to distract you. Although phones are the primary distraction, there are certainly others, too. If there are any distracting noises around you, try putting on background music (without lyrics) or noises, like soothing rain, to help you focus. But, if you find any of these things are actually distracting, reassess your environment. It might take some time to figure out what works best for you, and that’s okay too!
So there we have it: 6 ways to stay motivated to write! Hopefully these tips will help when you’re working on a piece of writing. For more blog posts like these, visit singularity-press.com.
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