6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write—Even When You’re Not in the Mood

Seems like hardly a week doesn’t go by when someone asks me about how to get published or how to muster enough discipline to write in the first place. Since I think I have a touch of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), I rely on 6 methods that may seem a bit unorthodox, but they work. (By the way, they also work for other areas of your life, not just writing.)

1. Think in terms of wealth. Your discipline will begin to kick in the moment you embrace the idea that writing is the basis of all wealth. This may or may not mean monetary wealth. Depending on the project, wealth might mean a paycheck. In other cases, wealth might mean sharing valuable ideas that help others, or simply enjoying the therapeutic process of putting ideas in a tangible form.

2. Call b.s. on writer’s block. Trust me—writer’s block is a myth. It doesn’t exist. Writing is an extension of thinking, so if you’re struggling, it’s not writer’s block; it’s thinker’s block. Stop blaming your lack of creativity and productivity on some mysterious, external force over which you have no control.

3. Prime the pump. If you have thinker’s block (and I definitely do from time to time), you’re not reading enough. You’re not listening enough. You’re not asking enough questions. You’re not making time every day to think. You’re not feeding your curiosity. Develop a mindset to perpetually hunt for insight. Even if I only have a few minutes to read each day, I explore everything from content marketing books to non-fiction history to biographies of serial killers—whatever strikes my fancy. Not only does this spark my motivation to write, but it helps me collect stories, catchy phrases, quirky quotes and memorable metaphors. I save all these gems in a “swipe file” (a basic, simple Word document) that I tap into to jump start the writing process.

4. Chill out and rest. I’m the first to admit I’m horrible at this. I’m trying to do a better job of getting my full 9 hours of sleep a night for greater focus and mental alertness during the day. (Yep, my body does best with 9 hours. Your body will tell you what works best for you.) Also, when I make time during the week to unplug and space out for a little while, my brain recharges and gives me a new shot of writing motivation. Fantastic, isn’t it, that building healthy breaks is essential to writing? You now have my permission to go take a nap.

5. Just do it for 10 minutes. Often the hardest part of any writing project is just getting started. Challenge yourself to write for 10 minutes. That’s it. Just 10 minutes. If you’re like me, I bet you’ll pick up some momentum fast, and you won’t want to quit. Even if you do stop at 10 minutes, you’ve still made progress. Way to go!

6. Lower your standards. For a recovering perfectionist like me, it has taken a lifetime to learn this. (I’m still working on this lesson, by the way.) Perfect is the enemy of good, and a good writing project completed is vastly superior to a perfect writing project that exists only in your head.

I hope these tips help you on your journey to becoming a better communicator. If you have any tips that have worked for you, let me know. Write on!

P.S. Thanks for joining me. I’m glad you’re here. 

@Copyright 2017 Darcy Maulsby & Co. 

3 responses to “6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Write—Even When You’re Not in the Mood”

  1. Well timed. Thanks, Darcy!

  2. There are days when I am just too tired to even think–the sleep one is so important! And the ten minutes a day, is a good idea that does work. Thanks Darcy.

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