How to Find the Motivation to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

We have all experienced the phenomenon of sitting down to write while filled with high expectations of the artistic words that we are sure will flow from our pencil (or keyboard), only to freeze and stare numbly down at our hands wondering, “Wait…how do I do this again? Why can’t I think of what to write? What is WRONG with me!!!”. This, my friend, is writers block. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before. Every writer, whether they are a fantasy writer, romance writer, poet, nonfiction writer, sci-fi writer, etc., has experienced this at some point in their writing career. And you will experience this at some point as well; you probably already have.

I know what you’re thinking: “If this is such a widespread problem why hasn’t anyone been able to figure out a way to defeat writers block once and for all?” Actually, they have. The key to defeating writers block is:

Writing

If you want to get past writers block you have to write. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to procrastinate instead. They get discouraged when it becomes more difficult than it was in the past to sit down and think of something to write. They end up putting their writing off while they go fill their time with things that are easier to accomplish. Procrastination is the true problem here, not writers block. Luckily, there is a solution for procrastinating as well:

Motivation

If you want to stop procrastinating you have to find the right motivation. No, I don’t mean inspiration. Motivation and inspiration are two completely different ideas that people often get confused. Inspiration (for writers) is the creative stimulation to write that you get when you have been inspired by something, whether that inspiration is from an outside stimulant or yourself. Motivation is the reason you write, love to write, and will continue to write. You have control over what motivates you, and almost no control over what inspires you. Inspiration is something that finds you, and motivation is something you find.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”

― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

If you are like me, then you need the right motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I much prefer my warm covers and fluffy pillows to the responsibility of daily life that I will have to deal with once I leave my bed. Because of this, it takes a lot of motivation to get me up in the morning. So, what I will do as soon as I wake up in the morning is list everything in the coming day that I am looking forward to. This will usually motivate me enough to flip my covers back and start the day. If it doesn’t, then I will plan a reward to give myself later in the day if I can manage to get up at a certain time, or a punishment if I don’t get up past that certain time.

Finding your motivation for writing is the same idea. If you find yourself frozen by writers block don’t procrastinate or throw a tantrum about your lack of inspiration. Instead, you should make a list of all the reasons you want to write and of what you hope to accomplish with your writing, plan a reward for yourself if you make it past X amount of words, plan a punishment for yourself if you don’t make it past X amount of words, and remember to take a short break every once in awhile to give your brain some breathing room and to shake out your writing muscles.

In short:

  • If you want to get past writers block you have to write
  • Procrastination is the true problem
  • If you want to stop procrastinating you have to find the right motivation
  • Inspirations and motivation aren’t the same things
  • Inspiration is something that finds you, and motivation is something you find
  • To motivate yourself you should
    • Make a list
    • Plan a reward
    • Plan a punishment
    • Take breaks

And remember:

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.”

― Anne Tyler

3 thoughts on “How to Find the Motivation to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

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