When motivation is hard to come by

brown and white track field

When writers tell me their biggest struggle when it comes to their writing is actually finding time to write, I like to probe a little bit, and narrow down what the core issue really is.

I’ve shared some thoughts about when your writing needs to take a backseat here, and when your writing is always taking a backseat here

In this post, I want to share some thoughts about motivation. You make time in your schedule to write, but when it comes time to actually sitting down and writing, you find yourself getting distracted and can’t bring yourself to write.

I want to start by saying that this is entirely normal. I don’t think I’ve come across any writer yet, who doesn’t resist writing in one way or another.

Even though we love writing and we want to write, it is hard to actually sit down and write. Just getting started can be the hardest part. It’s like exercise — you know it’s good for you and you know you feel good afterwards, but the hardest part is just putting on your workout clothes and leaving your home to get to the gym or stepping outside for that walk. But once you are walking, you feel great and you don’t know why it took so much effort just to get out the door.

Writing is like that too. Often times, I find that I have to tell myself ‘Just start already!’ before I’m able to get to my desk and open my notebook. There are numerous things that call out for my attention (which I only seem to notice when I’m thinking about writing!) and I have to keep telling myself, ‘this is your writing time, you have to write.’

If you’re struggling with motivation when it comes to writing, think about other goals you’ve had and how you achieved them. Did you schedule non-negotiable time in your calendar? Did you tell someone about it and asked them to check in with you? Did you join a class or a community? Did you have a deadline?

Thinking about how you achieve success in other areas of your life can be helpful when it comes to thinking about how to achieve success in your writing. 

For example, if you’re looking to workout more frequently, what would you do? What’s the thing that would most likely lead to your success?

Would you hire a personal trainer? 
Would you join a gym and workout regularly on your own?
Would you join a gym and convince a friend to join as well so you could workout together?
Would you join a class? Would it be an online program or an in-person program?
Would you just pull up videos on YouTube and exercise in your PJs?

Now consider what the writing equivalent of that would be. How could you incorporate those motivation-inducing elements into your writing life so that motivation is no longer an issue?

There’s a lot more that I want to say about facing resistance in our writing and about motivation. 

But I’ll end with this: Don’t be so hard on yourself if you struggle with motivation. 

When it comes to writing, because it’s such a personal creative activity, there’s so much more that might be lingering under the surface that you’re not aware of and haven’t yet explored. Perhaps you’re dressing up those feelings as ‘I can’t motivate myself to write’ when in reality, it’s not you. 

In my membership program, The Writers Lounge, we have weekly Write Together sessions, where we come together to work on our writing projects. Many writers have told me that it’s the highlight of their week, Alhamdulillah. But these writers also struggle to explain to people in their life why they need a writing community.

After attending her first Write Together session, one writer told me someone asked her what was the point of signing up if she didn’t learn anything and couldn’t she just have written on her own. Another writer was asked if she would get a certificate of some sort at the end of taking a program with me. Others have opened up about how undervalued their writing goals and dreams feel because their writing isn’t bringing in any money.

It’s so hard to wade through all that, and still write. 

But what’s the alternative? Not writing feels equally as bad, if not worse.

So if you’re struggling to write, for any reason, motivation or otherwise, find someone supportive you can talk to. Figure out what it is that you need that will help you to write, despite everything.

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