If you’re one of the many writers competing in Camp NaNo, good luck because NaNo will challenge your commitment. Wait, sorry, that’s not entirely true.
Writing will challenge your commitment — period. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, screenplay, comic script, or term paper you will reach a point where you’re motivation goes POOF! Gone.
It’s totally natural, but here’s four ways you can keep yourself motivated to write:
Make yourself accountable by telling others your writing goals
Letting others know about your writing goals is probably the most effective way to stay motivated. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable to tell those same people you gave up.
You can tell a writing buddy, family member, spouse or friend so long as they hold you to your goals and give you moral support.
Some bloggers, myself included, share their goals with their blog subscribers.
Diarize your writing journey
Writing down your problems can reduce the control they have on your emotions.
Journaling brings you into that state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment.
– Thai Nguyen
If something emotional is keeping you from focusing on your writing, journaling (keeping a diary) can help you evaluate or purge those negative feelings.
Maybe you thought you had writers block but you’re really suffering from impostor syndrome. Maybe you can’t focus on your writing because you had a nasty argument with your spouse. Whatever your problems are, try writing it down so that it doesn’t bother you as much.
You can journal your writing journey on your blog if you’re comfortable with that. Just be mindful about what you put on the Internet, okay?
Have a reward system
Pair a goal with a gift and you have a reward system.
During 2015’s NaNoWriMo I had a bunch of left over Halloween candy (no one was trick-or-treating where I lived). I set up a reward system where I got to eat candy only if I wrote 1700 words that day (it totally worked).
I think it’s only fair to warn you that reward systems require a ton of self-control. So, yeah, keep that in mind.
You read that right. No, I’m not crazy.
You can “time travel” by sending an email to your future self via futureme.org.
Pick a due date, write yourself a congratulatory email, and send it. You’ll feel uber special because you’ve not only completed your goal, but you also received a well deserved pat on the back from your past self. And, lets face it, sometimes all you have is yourself to count on.
Seeking validation from others is a waste of time. All you need is determination and grit.
What if you don’t meet your goal? Well, then you’ll feel like crap which will turn into determination for next time. No one likes feeling like crap.
I’m not saying any of these tips are foolproof, but they can help reduce discouragement. Motivation is a battle we writers face daily so maybe give one or two a try?
If you want more tips about keeping yourself motivated to write, I suggest reading this post I wrote during 2014’s NaNoWriMo.
Good luck out there!