How to Stay Motivated When Writing Your Book

BY THE LONDON BOOK FAIR

IN BLOGSWRITING WORKSHOP.

How to Stay Motivated When Writing a Book

Staying motivated when writing a book is no easy thing. You want to write. You have your ideas. But, you just can’t start, or if you can, you quickly run out of steam.

Motivation can be a hard thing to maintain and you’ll need quite a bit of it if you ever want to finish your novel – they don’t write themselves, after all!

If you want to keep your drive, and likewise your writing, flowing there are certain approaches that you can take.

Just keep calm and carry on reading.

How to Stay Motivated When Writing a Book

Write every day

Writing every day, even if what you are writing isn’t necessarily related to your book, helps you to stretch and exercise your creative muscles. This is so important, the more zealous your creativity and ability to put pen to paper, the better chance you will have of staying motivated when writing a book.

Also writing every day allows you to set small, achievable, daily goals that will help you slowly, and surely, achieve your objective of a finished book.

Write first, edit later

We’re all guilty of it, but actually editing as you go does more harm than good. It hinders your valuable creativity. As such, it’s always best to have that creative splurge first, edit later. Switching between the two will only lead to you losing your steam before you have had the chance to get all of your ideas down.

Take that all-important break

It’s true, taking regular breaks is vital in keeping you motivated when writing a book. Especially so when you’re suffering from writer’s block. Taking that step back and even focusing on something else before you come back to your writing can help to no end. Just be sure you dedicate time to focus on your writing again after your break.

What’s more, simply changing your scenery can help wonders with a lacklustre motivation. Move rooms, go outside, sit somewhere different – just change it up. While sure, having a writing space, a sanctuary, is helpful it can also – especially when you’re struggling with motivation – hinder your drive.

Exercise

Say it isn’t so? Alas, dear readers, it is. Exercise cures an unmotivated mind. It can also help you work on an idea that you are struggling with or help you out of that well-weaved web of confusion. When you move around you give yourself that much-needed rush of clarity. So, if you’re trying to maintain your motivation, stand up, put on a pair of trainers and get moving.

Write something you love

It may be tempting to follow the flavour of the month or the novel you think you should write but it is writing what you love that will help keep you motivated when writing a book. You need to love your novel, your idea, and actually want to finish it.

The perfect recipe

Losing motivation happens to us all but if you combine writing every day with splurging first, editing later, and allow yourself to take regular breaks and exercise – not forgetting to write what you love – you’ll find you have the perfect recipe that’ll make sure you stay motivated when writing a book.

To end, we can think of no better way than with this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Big Magic’, a must read for anyone wanting to live a creative life:

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”

How I write

Drawing of Gerry Maguire Thompson and his books

My name is Gerry Maguire Thompson. I am an Irish author and book coach. I write serious and humorous fiction and non-fiction. My books have sold over half a million copies worldwide in thirty languages.

My clients often say to me, “Gerry, when I sit down to write I can’t think of anything.” Now here’s the thing: I gather ideas for writing wherever I go. When an idea occurs to me, I immediately stop what I’m doing and make a note of it. I might be riding my bicycle, eating a meal or lying in bed. If I’m in the middle of sexual intercourse I try to wait till the end before making notes.

I have a fantastic system for capturing and organising ideas. I have a notebook which holds 3 by 5 inch post-it notes, on which I do my writing, then stick these onto paper sheets about the same size. When it’s time to process ideas and turning them into the beginnings of a piece of writing, I chop them up with scissors and re-arrange them into topics and sequences.

I never ever suffer from writer’s block. This is partly because I’ve developed the habit of recording ideas as above; this encourages the mind to keep getting ideas because you’re always valuing and capturing them – rather like encouraging prolific dreams by keeping a dream journal. It also means that when I start writing proper, I’ve got some material already and am not starting with the dreaded Blank Sheet.

The other way I have conquered writer’s block is through cultivating the habit of creative improvisation. This is simply the habit of ‘making stuff up’ – as children do when they play. Cultivating this habit helps you to be habitually creative, through dropping your habits of blocking your own ideas. I am always brimming over with ideas. (Whether they’re any good is another matter, but I reckon it’s better to be choosing from many than from few.)

to be continued…

Thank you for reading. Drop me a line and let me know about how you write.