There are a million quotes out there about writing a novel. Chances are, if you’ve ever had the dream of writing your own book, you’ve spent hours combing the Internet, looking for inspiration among those who are already famous. Don’t misunderstand me: I’ve done the same. I can’t count how much time I’ve wasted trying to find that one quote that would motivate me to open my word processor and get started.
Writing is hard work. Nobody’s denying this. That being said, you are what’s going to start your novel. You need to find your own motivation, and you’re not going to find it in the form of a fifteen-word quote, no matter how well it’s written. In this article, I’m going to offer examples of how you can motivate yourself into sitting down and pumping out those words.
Set Deadlines for Writing
One of the easiest ways to procrastinate in writing is to treat it like a hobby. Hobbies don’t care if you push them back a day, a month, or even a year. Think about it. Does it really matter if you finish knitting that scarf by three o’clock on Saturday afternoon? What’s going to happen if don’t? Nothing. There’s no repercussions. Imagine if people went to work that way, though! Imagine telling your boss that you don’t need to get that assignment done because your work is just a hobby. That’s a fast way to find yourself on the unemployment line, right?
So, treat your writing like it’s a career. Set deadlines and make sure you have consequences for not meeting them. Maybe you can only get that blended Frappuccino on Friday afternoon if you finish your wordcount every day on time. Maybe you can’t watch your favorite television program if you still have a chapter unfinished. If your writing is important to you, then make sure you act like it.
Get Rid of Distraction
Everyone loves the Internet. Reddit is a godsend, right? And how many hours a day to you spend on Facebook browsing funny pictures and looking at your friends’ new baby pictures? Do you constantly check the latest news, gossip, or memes? The Internet isn’t solely responsible for distraction, though. Do you watch television as you write? Do you read as you write, constantly trying to finish that interesting new novel you just bought?
Remove distractions from your work environment. Make sure that you aren’t wasting time watching funny ads on Youtube, that you aren’t constantly checking your phone for text messages from your BFF, and filter outside noise. Maybe turn on some relaxing music so you’re not constantly listening to your son play his video game in the living room ten feet away.
Get Respect and Help from Others
One of the quickest ways to lose motivation in writing is when someone comes in for a quick chat. Imagine that you’re in the middle of a heated battle scene and that your main character is about to take an almost fatal blow, only to come out victorious at the end. You’re caught up in the moment, your emotions are all over the place, your fingers are flying across the keyboard… and then someone asks what you want for dinner.
Set aside time for writing and asks others to respect this time. Make sure your partner knows that you need an hour in the evenings for writing and that any conversation they want to have can happen once you’ve finished for the day. Make sure your kids know that you need some personal space and time and that they can entertain themselves for a little while. If your kids are younger and in need of more attention, ask for help from your partner. There’s no reason that your husband or wife can’t feed the baby for an hour in the evening or tuck your daughter into bed if you’re on a roll.
Write Every Day
An easy trick to keep yourself motivated is writing every single day. Even when you don’t feel like it, write anyway. Try to hit your minimum word count at the very least. If you start taking extended breaks, your going to lose your feeling for the story, for your characters, for your world, and ultimately, for your book in general.
Set up a schedule so you know when you need to write. When that time comes around, sit down and write. Use a writing prompt if your stuck on your story. Look up character dossiers and write one out for your side characters. Come up with a flash fiction that involves your main character in a situation you hadn’t previously thought of. Writing something is better than writing nothing.
In the end, your success is up to you. If you want to write a novel, the most important thing you can do is sit down and write. Make sure you write even when you’re tired, or your kids are screaming, or dinner is going to be late. Forget everything else for just a little while each day and remind yourself of why you started writing in the first place: because you have a story inside you, and that story needs to come out.