How do you stay motivated?

So in-between losing 5,000 words in a technical glitch and losing two days writing for my laser eye surgery (it went very well, by the way). I’m starting to feel like I’m falling behind a little, so I decided “motivation” might be a good topic to cover.

How do you stay motivated? Writing a novel is no small task so how do you keep yourself writing every single day (or whatever your routine is) to get that novel finished?

For me… I work really well when I set myself goals and deadlines. If I don’t have them I tend to procrastinate. So my goal for Wrapped in Darkness is to write 1,000 words a day and have my first draft completed by the end of March. A goal that still stands despite losing two days and 5,000 words. So I’m going to play a little bit of catch up today.

How do you stay motivated?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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34 Responses to How do you stay motivated?

  1. suebee51 says:

    One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to sit down and write for at least 5 minutes every day. If nothing comes, I write gibberish then I stop. But usually what happens is 5 minutes turns into an hour and I get more done than I thought I would. For me, the hard part is getting started, just sitting down and writing. If I tell myself I only have to do it for 5 minutes, it is less daunting. If you goal is 1000 words a day, that might be a little harder (unless you write really, really fast!) Good luck!

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  2. I don’t motivate myself. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ That’s why I started blogging! To force myself to write weekly and get the rusty creative gears going. I think I want to try and make myself write every day, though. Suebee51’s comment is encouragingโ€”that even if I sit down and write gibberish for 5 minutes, the potential for it to go somewhere meaningful is there.

    Good post, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. C.J. Black says:

    500 words a day the bigger the number the bigger the challenge – also you have less editing/rewriting to contend with – that’s my tuppence worth for what it’s worth.
    Chris.

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  4. I write because I have a story to tell. I made a post about it once, but it eludes me right now (the merit, no doubt, of delicious alcoholic drink), so I’ll just say it like this:

    I write because there are stories in my head that deserve telling. As a person, I owe those stories, their characters and events, an appropriate telling. I don’t much care about publishing or profits, but I will be happy as long as those stories are read. I guess that makes me an idealist.

    And then there’s the point of forcing oneself to write being potentially destructive. But my excuse sounds more profound.

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  5. When I know where the book is going, and the characters keep moving and the words keep flowing, I go on writing — motivation is not a problem then. When the words falter and the flow starts to dry up, I go on writing because I want to know what’s going to happen next.

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  6. Yes, motivation for me is often the hardest part, harder than the actual writing. I often wonder what is the point, and get down on myself, that’s something I know I have to get over if I want to be a better writer.

    I tend to struggle with strict goals like a daily word count, I’m just not a rule follower by nature, so I use vague long-term goals. Last year, my goal was to have a novella or novel finished by my birthday, I managed to accomplish that. My current goal is to finish my current WIP by the beginning of summer, since it is a beach read and I want it to be ready for beach read season.

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  7. kingmidget says:

    I wish I had an answer to this question. Unfortunately, I’m controlled by the distractions and not very motivated about writing. If you find the answer, will you share it with me?

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  8. reneenmeland says:

    I stay motivated because of my husband. He supports me and challenges me, and asks me the be-all, end-all question: “How bad do you want this?”

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  9. joleefinch183 says:

    I sort of adopted the German system into my writing (most businesses open Tuesdays instead of Mondays, four days a week is okay and no more work after a certain hour unless it’s urgent).
    Since I’m currently reworking my thesis, I know it’s up to no one else but me to pick up my own slack. I get my motivation from knowing that I have a certain amount of days I can fully use so I won’t feel guilty when the leisure comes.
    The pros are that I can enjoy my weekends better, I have more time to be entertained and actually hang out. The cons… well, I know I could be using the extra days and/or time to get things done and proofed, but I won’t, and that sometimes I have so much time on my hands, I’m bound to get bored.

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  10. Kelly says:

    I take time out to enjoy the works and success of others, which in turn usually inspires me to push forward. To keep life manageable and the words free to come as they please, I can’t set any hard goals for myself because then I will concentrate on the word count not content, which is probably why I suck with Nanowrimo – sure I meet the goal but I had crap at the end of the month. What works for one may not work for another ๐Ÿ™‚ now you can clearly see the goals you set ๐Ÿ™‚ Good Luck!

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  11. davemstrom says:

    Today, I got motivated by reading your post about motivation.

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  12. M.Gate says:

    I struggle to keep myself motivated. But if everything else fails, I think about my job and how much I hate it. That results in anger building inside of me, which I turn into energy to do something worthwhile–which is writing–instead of carrying out my boss’ stupid orders to update some already updated reports ๐Ÿ˜ก

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  13. I seek to destroy the Matriarchy. All the motivation I need to write.

    It is a righteous cause.

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  14. Motivation is the probably the hardest part of what we do, as writers – especially if you are being taunted by the blank page for long periods of time, before actually getting a story off the ground. During times like that, I will go back and read about how some of my favorite writers started out, and how they handled the balance of family, job, and writing. There’s a particular part of Stephen King’s ON WRIITING that comes to mind when I’m stuck: “Write any damn thing you want!”

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  15. drusual says:

    Hey, congrats on the eye surgery, glad that went well! I’m paranoid about losing what I’ve written; once that happens to you once…my habit now is to write on my laptop and after each session immediately backup that file to my Sky Drive. Also, I have a scheduled task which backs up my writing folder to a portable hard drive three times a week. Redundancy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I stay motivated by staying a touch public — I like to talk with people about writing, and when I’m into a project I like for people to ask me how it’s going. That little reminder that people are looking forward to reading it (or at least pretending to be looking forward to reading it) keeps me focused and productive.

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  16. Peter Jason Payne says:

    I hear you can write a novel in three days if you choose to take the formulaic route.

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  17. “Variety is the very spice of life.” It may be cliche but it’s also true. When I lose motivation on one thing (writing a book) I switch to something else. I either work on Java (Matt’s MathTools), work on Java tutorials (for MMT), blog or even proof the drafts for the books I haven’t released yet. After my brain unwobbles itself I wind down whatever I’m doing and switch to something else.
    Of course I also look forward to the day when I have a fan or two with whom to discuss my books! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  18. Jixi Fox says:

    Wow, one day I will make the step to that surgery as well. Right now, me and these contacts is holding it down. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. winterbayne says:

    Motivation is only the want to. I do not want to go to my paycheck job, but I do. I may not feel like writing but I do. I set word count goals. I set them low since I’m not on a deadline and give myself permission to slack.

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  20. My original writing fell to the side a few years ago, but for all my nonfiction papers and book projects, I give myself goals and deadlines, even when there isn’t any from the call for papers I’m answering to. It helps a lot.

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  21. pauljgies says:

    I can’t help but write. 500+ words per day. I wish I could motivate myself to do other things I need to do. I think I write because I like my characters and I want to see what happens to them.

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  22. aliveatnight says:

    I decided to blog to keep me writing on a deadline, and I’m also setting deadlines on my book. Otherwise I’ll never do anything, even though I love writing.

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  23. j1m says:

    Quality question. For me, it varies. I am a prince of procrastination, so any activity is usually a good sign. A daily word count or time limit is good, and often helps. As does routine. Sometimes guilt plays a part – that I’m NOT writing when I have no excuse not to. All that said, mostly I write because I can’t NOT write. If I feel I have something to say, or share, or would like to help someone see or understand something –or help ME better see or understand something– then I want to try. And sometimes the motivation simply comes from actively remembering how good I felt last time I sat down and wrote a good scene. Heck, page. Ok, paragraph. Yeah, ok, sentence.

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  24. j1m says:

    Oh, and that’s HORRIBLE re the lost words. 5000. Yikes. I hate losing the last 50 or so when the notebook freezes.

    And that’s good news about the eye surgery. Although I could never do it.

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  25. Harliqueen says:

    Losing a lot of words like that can really dent anyone’s motivation to keep going. I try and set myself a routine, and write no matter how I’m feeling. Or I try and find something that really inspires and write about that, even if it’s not towards my book, as long as I’m writing and getting back into the flow ๐Ÿ™‚

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  26. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks for all your contributions, and for the entertaining reads.
    Mel

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  27. Andrew Hall says:

    Same, a thousand words a day to a March deadline for my sci-fi novel! I daydream about writing novels full-time, to stay motivated. I fantasise about writing characters that jump out of my brain and into other people’s. And being able to afford those really classy porcelain dog statues that sit either side of the fireplace.

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  28. LillianC says:

    Hi there! Good post. I wish you a speedy recovery. Thank you for visiting my blog!

    Like

  29. N.Sokol says:

    Many times have I come across the point where I lost motivation in huge amounts, I mean we all do at some point, and it simply takes a while to find a resolve to it. If I’m completely honest, I’ve never written anything as big as the idea of a novel you’re writing, but I have definitely been through lots of annoying moments where motivation was the last to find. Eventually I started to literally talk to myself as if I were acting a written scene on the set – This however seemed quite odd and mental at first, but proved quite helpful and amusing eventually. Of course it all depends on your personal prefrences and what it is that actually inspires or motivates you, but I guess this one worked for me. Every once a while I think of a subject and write a sentence about it. Once I have that, I find myself a piece of music befitting the emotional value of whatever reality that sentence creates in my head as I read it. I just follow through with the self-imposed reality on daily basis as if it were part of my life – It’s more like acting out the scene as I go for a walk, make a cup of tea or sit behind my laptop. You could say that I’m simply exchanging real actions and values with the surreal ones initialized by a combination of the subject, the sentence, the music and imagination I have – I’m telling myself a story by trying to embody the scenes created by a combination of input values.

    I know this all might sound a bit odd, but at times it does help me get around with motivation. Glad to hear your surgery went well and hope to see more of your writing coming! Goodluck with the novel! ^_^

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  30. marlainagray says:

    I find being part of my writers group is pretty motivating, because I’d feel awful if I didn’t have something to share with them by our monthly deadlines. Also, wanting to get something accomplished before I fall asleep from sheer exhaustion — that’s pretty motivating. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad your surgery went well and I hope the 5,000-word loss wasn’t too debilitating.

    Like

  31. I use my blog as motivation. Whether or not anybody ever reads it, it feels like I’m being held accountable. If I don’t write, that means I don’t get to post about the progress I’ve made. Being able to post about my progress makes me feel good and motivates me. And when I sit down to write, I turn on my music(usually one song on repeat, for some reason I write better that way typically a different song each time) and I set a time goal for myself. I can typically write around 1,500 words in an hour and that’s usually what I shoot for. And I keep myself on track and writing by finding something I want to watch on TV, I’ve got a dvr so I’m able to pause the TV for an hour — that’s it. I can’t really write with the TV on in the background, so knowing that it’s going to start again in exactly 60 minutes keeps me going so that I can get as much done in that time as possible. And limiting myself to an hour helps keep me from getting burnt out.

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