When should I write? How do I motivate myself to write? How do I make time to write? Honestly? It’s up to you! One method isn’t going to work for each person, so below I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to make time and motivate yourself to write.
- During the commute:
On my way to university I carry a small notebook and jot down quick thoughts (you can always use the notepad app in your phone if your bag is filled to the brim). From this frequent activity I have written many stories set on trains or buses. Using the same setting can be a bit tiresome but one of the great things about writing on transport means I meet many new people each day, so I basically get a stream of new characters to write! If you struggle with dialogue, this exercise will also help you to improve.
- Plan it:
I know this sounds obvious and tedious to have it marked in your planner, but scheduling is surprisingly effective once you try it. For one of my classes last year I was required to keep a journal and write in it daily, and I found it surprisingly easy after the first few days! Ten to fifteen minutes before I’d go to bed I would sit down and write; it could be about anything – it didn’t matter. I just had to get it down and as soon as the time was up I’d finish my sentence and get ready for bed. After a while I began to look forward to this time and found it incredibly cathartic to release everything from my mind before going to sleep.
- Cut back the rubbish:
I love binging on, as my Mum lovingly calls it, “crap TV”, but it is incredibly time-consuming to dedicate several hours a week keeping up with who cheated on who, and if Tracey has a spray tan addiction. I do not suggest a clean break, but perhaps put the TV on mute during the ads (which go for an unbelievably long time) and jot down a couple of ideas. Unfortunately, the risk with this is you might write commentary on what you were just watching.
- The Early Bird:
Many people, and many successful authors, swear by the “early bird” technique: get up and write. No breakfast. No checking Facebook. Write. I’ve tried this technique once and failed miserably… I wish I could be an early bird. I think all I wrote was how hungry I was.
Similar to keeping a book in my bag while I’m out, I’ll keep one close to my bed. This is great for writing down things that jump into your mind as you’re trying to fall asleep or dreams you’ve just had. Remembering a dream is extremely difficult so (if you aren’t sweating from those nightmares) write them down as soon as you wake! A little detail you write might be the missing piece to a current or later work.
- Join groups:
I know creative writing groups can be intimidating, but they can also be motivating. With the knowledge you’ve got a group meeting later that week you might carve out the time to sit down and slam out some work! This is a good way to make other people’s expectations work as a motivator and therefore an advantage for you.
- Make a list of goals:
There is something intimidating about a list of goals, so start out slow! Don’t plan out a novel and think a chapter a day will occur- well it might, but only a very, very rough draft! Try something out of the ordinary perhaps attempt a sonnet or a short story! Even though your first draft won’t be perfect they are concise enough pieces of writing that you can keep them and draft more later.
- Motivate yourself:
You won’t always want to write, so encourage yourself. Go out and splurge on a beautiful notebook or a fountain pen you’ve always wanted. Or if you want to save a penny, browse the notebooks at Kmart and buy a couple for the sole purpose of writing in. In order to encourage yourself, you could write a declaration on the first page and sign it. If you want to take it a step further you could even put in a schedule with a time limit. I would suggest to not go over fifteen minutes if you decide to schedule your writing or you’ll fry your brain from the pressure!
- Make a blog:
Detail your struggles to write every day. It still counts as writing! Perhaps the revenue of writers your blog would attract who also struggle will encourage you to continue. You could even post up what you wrote that day with plans on what you will do with the piece and questions for readers. This is a great option for people who are intimidated by writing groups or can’t make group meetings.
- Commentary on books:
A way to encourage yourself to write is to comment on other people’s writing. Perhaps scribble down a line you find moving or intriguing and attempt to mimic or recreate it. Find a way to allude to the piece in your work, or even take it a step further and incorporate the passage into your work and have it represent something vital to enrich your piece.
It is important to note that everyone writes in their own way and one or even none of these methods could work for you. If you are struggling to write, give it a go! You never know what will happen. You might end up with a brilliant piece of writing from hard work or write something humorous from a failed attempt. When I tried the early bird option, all I could write was “No. Too early.” Then I promptly stuck my head under the shower to wake up, but when I re-read my entry later I had a good chuckle. It’s important to experiment and have fun!