6 Tips for Staying Motivated to Write From Successful Writers

Six tips for staying motivated to write, from successful writers, freelancers, novelists, playwrights, and poets — because they know how to stay motivated to write despite rejection.

Motivated to Write From Successful WritersIn Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg tells you how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome procrastination and writer’s block. She includes more than thirty provocative “Try this” exercises to get your pen moving.

If you lack writing motivation because you haven’t been published, you don’t have an agent, or you’re too shy to start a blog – or your blog has 15 hits a day and a puny newsletter – then you need to dig deeper than those external validations that you’re a writer. That’s the first tip for staying motivated to write: find an internal reason that doesn’t depend on other people.




How to Stay Motivated to Write

Before the tips, a quip: “I’ve never met a writer who wanted to be anything else.” – Natalie Goldberg.

She hasn’t met me! I’ve wanted to be many, many things — I love writing, but I want to experience everything else, too. Since I be everything, I’ll settle for being a successful writer :-)

Here’s a roundup of tips for staying motivated to write from successful writers…

Get your “bum glue” out”

A couple of years ago I met Bryce Courtney (author of The Power of One) at a writing conference.  He said that what I needed as a writer was “bum glue”.  Meaning, I need to glue my bum to a chair and write.  I remember it every time I set myself down to my blog. Bryce! I am using your bum glue!” – Shirley VanScoyk, writer and blogger

Embrace your procrastination

“When I was a freelancer, I used to set aside about 20 minutes for procrastination activities every morning before I started to write. I took care of a lot of administrative and housekeeping tasks that way, while honoring the part of me that took writing so seriously that it was convinced I was the least-qualified person ever to attempt it. Once I paid tribute to the procrastination judge, I was free to sit down and let it flow!” – Claire Bardos, screenplay writer

Don’t be a wannabee writer

“The best writing advice I ever received (and pass on) is: ‘Writers write; wannabees talk about it.'” – Shelley Lieber, author

See beyond the rejection slips

Writing Motivation From Successful Writers

“The Writer” by dhayman85 via DeviantArt

“I’ve received enough rejection slips to cover a room’s wall. What is a rejection slip?  It’s a motivator.  It demands you try harder. A rejection slip isn’t a jab at your writing ability. Remember that other factors stir into the editor’s decision. Perhaps, a similar piece was previously submitted and published. Don’t turn-away from your writing dream simply because you received rejection slips.” – Marcella Glenn, writer and blogger

Write what you got

“Unless your assignment is uber specific, don’t use precious hours searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack if there’s plenty of good stuff on hand.  Look at the material you have -and decide what you can make of it.” – Joyce Wilden, publicist

If you need practical tips, read 10 Ways to Increase Your Writing Motivation.

Accept that writing is hard work

“Never “settle” for your first idea, first draft, or even your tenth! Writing requires a great deal of work. Even if you have the best idea in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can write a good book. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, you must learn each aspect of the genre that makes your book a success. You must know how to create an attention-getting introduction. You must be able to sustain interest by creating a page turner. You must end chapters with an intriguing hook. You need to create interesting, yet believable characters and realistic settings. You must know how to build an excellent plot that leads to a gripping climax. You must understand how to wrap things up and create a strong conclusion. – Cindy Kenney, freelance writer and editor.

Another tip for staying motivated to write is to find out why you can’t write.

What are your tips for staying motivated to write, fellow scribes? I welcome your thoughts below…

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6 Tips for Staying Motivated to Write From Successful Writers
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Six tips for staying motivated to write, from successful writers, freelancers, novelists, playwrights, and poets.

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I'm a full-time writer and blogger in Vancouver, BC. I created the "Quips and Tips" blog series; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. My blogs have been my primary source of income since 2008 - which means I'm living proof that you CAN make money as a blogger! Don't give up your dream.

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6 Responses

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I found that my motivation to write – and to revive Quips and Tips for Successful Writers – comes from a REASON to write. My reason is that I want to help people not to lose heart. I love Parables, and I’m now putting parables into practice on this and all my blogs.

    My writing motivation is coming from God. I feel called to blog, to connect with people online, to write articles that encourage and inspire. Maybe the best motivation for writers is something internal – a purpose for living, not just a reason to write.

  2. Joseph Pirrello says:

    Haven’t been able to write a single word in two months. Can’t get motivated no matter what.

  3. Gary ~ Yes, it increases writing motivation to care about what you’re writing…but I think that even when you really care about it, you may still struggle with motivation and self-discipline. Getting the bum glue out and staying motivated is difficult for most writers, I think.

    Anne ~ That’s great — your online community sounds very helpful and motivational! I’ll go check it out…I’m definitely a goals person :-)

  4. Anne Lyle says:

    As the guys on the Writing Excuses podcast say, BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard!

    Some years ago I joined a great online community called Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com), dedicated to supporting writers working towards publication. We post our goals each week and cheer one another on, as well as talking about writing. Now I have a short story published (I don’t write many!) and a finished novel doing the rounds…

  5. Gary H. says:

    I may have commented about this previously, but I think the best motivator is writing about something that you truly care about. If it only holds your minimal attention, maybe it’s not interesting enough to go forward. If it feels like your writing is meandering or hitting walls, maybe it’s time to change directions or to ‘juice it up’ and add some dynamism. A writer should be excited about their subject, otherwise, who else will be?

  1. December 3, 2010

    […] Some thoughts on how writers get and stay motivated […]

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