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How to motivate myself to write a book?

Writing a book is hard.

There’s no other way around it. Writing a complete book, especially at the length of a novel, is so difficult. That’s why not everyone writes books. It takes a lot of work, focus, and desire.

When you run a marathon, you find yourself in different mindsets throughout the race. At the beginning, you may be full of motivation and enthusiasm. The middle of the race might be the most difficult, where you deal with the doubt of whether or not you can finish it. That’s when you hit that wall that becomes so difficult to overcome. By the end of the race, you wonder if you can reach the finish line because you are so exhausted.

Writing a book is a similar exercise. Any time you sit down to start a new book, you’re full of ideas and enthusiasm. But once you reach those middle chapters, it becomes more and more difficult to push through the resistance.

So what happens when your motivation runs out? How do you deal with it? How can you push yourself to finish a project when it becomes so hard?

The following are some things that you can focus on when you’re trying to figure out whether or not you can finish that book. Some of it is mindset. Some of it is motivation. But all of it is focused on one goal: to motivate you to write that book.

What is your reason for writing the book?

This is probably the most important thing you can do. Whenever you feel like you are hitting a lot of resistance in writing that book, you need to ask yourself why you want to write that book to begin with.

Are you just writing it for fun? If so, then try to discover the fun of it again. There are ways that you can make the story more enjoyable. Or you can focus on a different part of the story that is more enjoyable to write.

Are you trying to sell books? Do you want to create an income through your books that you can rely on full-time? Do you just want a side income? Are you trying to use it as a way of generating new leads for your business?

No matter what that goal is, keep it at the front of your mind. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on that reason. Imagine what it will feel like when you have that book done and it is out in the world doing exactly what you intended for it to do.

Like most difficult things in life, remembering the reason why you started it in the first place is a great way to deal with the resistance.

Do you know what you want to say?

Often, a writer’s lack of motivation is not necessarily a lack of desire. It’s just a lack of information.

Some writers will have a great idea for a story and a plot line, so they sit down to write a book. They think they have it mapped out, but they left a few things more vague than they should. As a result, they hit roadblocks in their work where they’re stuck trying to figure out how to resolve a conflict in the plot.

This is a very common problem. It masquerades as a lack of motivation. But all it is is a gray area of the plot. Instead of trying to write your way through it, I can step back from the manuscript. Sit down with your outline again and really try to figure out how you can clear up this roadblock in your plot. That alone might be enough to unlock the motivation to continue writing.

Can you move to a different spot in the book?

There is no rule among writers that you have to write your book in order.

If you are stuck in the middle of your book, it’s very easy to get discouraged. You might have a killer opening, and you have a great idea for an ending, but the middle is still suffering. Your motivation just isn’t there to write it.

A temporary solution to this lack of motivation would be to just jump to a different section of the book. Let yourself play with the parts of the book that you enjoy the most. What might happen is that you flush out enough that those middle parts of the book now have a direction. When you have a direction to aim for, scenes become far more fun to write. Your motivation will take care of itself.

Are your goals attainable?

Many writers set unattainable goals for themselves simply because they aren’t sure how to pace themselves.

For example, if a writer can type very fast, they may be tempted to think that they can type very fast any time they want. Because of their typing speed, they set a goal of writing 10,000 words per day. But that’s a quick way to burn out. And when you burn out, not only will your productivity suffer but your motivation will sink to the floor.

If you’re having trouble slogging your way through the book, dial down your goals. Instead of trying to write thousands of words every day, why not just try to write 500?

You may be worried that setting such an easy goal will lead to a lack of productivity. It’s understandable, because you worry that you have to get a certain number of words done every day or you won’t be able to get the book done when you want.

But if your goals are too aggressive and you’re writing zero words per day, what good is that doing you? On the flip side, when you make goals more attainable, they actually lead to increased productivity. You take that pressure off of yourself. So, you might sit down ready to write 500 words, but you find yourself writing 2,000 words because you’ve gotten into the flow of working.

That’s the point of having an attainable goal. Besides that, even on the days when that doesn’t happen, you’ve at least moved your book forward 500 words. That forward progress is going to build momentum over time which will aid in your motivation.

Turn off your perfectionist brain

One of the most important pieces of advice that any writer can give another writer is to write first and edit later.

Here’s what I mean. Any prolific writer knows how to get content drafted quickly. But that does not mean that the final product looks anything like that initial content. What it means is they are able to successfully turn off the editor part of their brain so that they can get words on the page quickly.

Then, once the words are drafted, they go back and start editing it into the masterpiece that they will eventually release.

You are not a unicorn. There might be the occasional writer out there that can nail it on the first draft, but the rest of us have to deal with being average. And that means the masterpiece is built in the editing process, not the drafting process.

Get the pressure off of yourself to write perfectly the first time. If there’s any way that you can turn off the editor in your brain, do it. Switch to dictation, so it will be more difficult for you to edit your work as you write it. Write blindfolded. Use an app that forces you to continuously write or it will delete your work.

I don’t care what shortcut you use. You have to find ways to turn off the editor in your brain so that you will get words on the page. You can’t edit words that aren’t on the page. So get them on the page. Don’t worry about the quality. The quality comes over time and with editing. Right now, put as much garbage as you can get out of your brain through your fingertips and into the document.

When you stop trying to be perfect on the first go-around, you might find that your motivation comes back with a vengeance.

There are lots of different ways to approach your writing. But the most important thing is to do what works for you. Try things out. Experiment with ways to structure your day, your work, or even your writing itself. The more you can adapt your process to what works for you, the better your chances are that you will keep yourself motivated to finish that book that you started.