3 Common Reasons We May Not Feel Motivated to Write

by Bridget McNulty , @nownovel 

NowNovelNo matter how badly you want to write, you may find yourself feeling unmotivated. However, by figuring out why you are unmotivated, you can overcome that inertia and get back to putting words down on paper regularly.

One of the most common reasons you may be unmotivated is due to fear. Fear might be telling you that your writing will never be good enough. Fear might be suggesting that you compare your first drafts to the published output of longtime professional writers and wonder why you are not magically producing work that is just as good on the first try. There are a few ways to manage this fear. One way is simply to realize that most first drafts are not very good and that no one starts out as a brilliant writer. One psychological trick involves giving your worries and negative thoughts space and a time limit. Five minutes to vent about all your worst fears may be all that is needed. Finally, keep in mind that most writers are not fearless either, but they keep writing in the face of that fear.

Being too busy can leave you unmotivated as well, and many people do have genuinely busy lives between jobs, volunteer work and taking care of family. If you find that having too much to do is leaving you unmotivated to write, you have a few options. Can you cut any activities from your schedule? Perhaps you can get take-out a couple of nights per week or persuade a family member to take over cooking duties. Another option is to get up half an hour earlier or stay up half an hour later at night. Early mornings before anyone else is awake can be best. Finally, you can look for spaces in the day where you might have time to write including breaks at work, lunch breaks, commutes or even while waiting in line.

Unfortunately, being busy can also mean being tired, and this can be another impediment to writing motivation. It’s hard to be creative when you are exhausted. As with being too busy, try to cut out an activity. If this isn’t possible, look at your nutrition and even your exercise. Eating better and getting a little exercise can give you the energy boost you need.

What are some things that interfere with your writing motivation, and how do you defeat them in order to get that motivation back?

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Bridget McNulty is the founder of Now Novel. Now Novel is an easy to use online novel writing course with a helpful creative writing blog .You can find Now Novel on Twitter @nownovel 

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12 thoughts on “3 Common Reasons We May Not Feel Motivated to Write

  1. The worst is a lack of motivation because what you are writing is boring!
    If I want to write, I just cut back and make time. Everyone is busy but there’s always time if we make it happen.

  2. Thanks for posting today, Bridget! And you’ve made some good points here. I think fear may be the one that resonates most with writers–we’re afraid what we end up putting down on paper isn’t as wonderful as the way the story was in our heads.

  3. Elizabeth – Thanks for hosting Bridget.

    Bridget – Thanks for your thoughts on motivation. I think you hit on something important as you talk about taking care of oneself. Writing is not easy. It’s even harder if one’s extra-fatigued or not well. Being in good health and getting exercise etc. is a smart way to be up to the task of writing if I can put it like that.

  4. For me, it’s being tired that causes me to grind to a halt. I’ve got fibromyalgia and I hate admitting when I’m too tired to do whatever it is that I want to do. Writing drains me faster than physical exertion.

  5. I think fear is the biggest one for me. I try and work around it but sometimes it’s overwhelming when other writers I know are publishing books and I’m still querying and hitting rejections. I’m taking a hard look at the manuscript in question now and doing a rewrite, hopefully that will result in an acceptance. In the meantime, I’m working on another book and short story. I’m trying to continue to learn the ropes, keep my hope and faith in myself going, and not give up.

  6. Fatigue is my number one demotivator. I can still write, but the words come with strain and make the fatigue worse. Self care is so important, and no matter how shiny the idea, enforcing a strict bedtime still sucks. :)

  7. It’s great to meet Bridget! I don;t think I’ve ever not felt motivated to write. I always want to write. In fact, I’m going to stop blogging write now and get on with some editing I need to finish.

  8. Stress is a major factor for me. Not so much “busy” stress, but family stress. I have two family members out of work – one for two years, another for 9 months – and I’m the only one working. It’s hard. One had a temp job for a brief period – didn’t last – but when they did I wrote more than I has in a long time. When the job ended, so did my creative energy. Now, I’m trying to set small goals and acknowledge every small accomplishment. It does help!

  9. Too busy has been a problem for me more than once. I’m learning how to say no, and I’m doing it much more often. One of the things I’ve been doing in January is tracking how I work on my daily to-do lists. I’ve become creative in moving tasks around. I’ve learned what I can successfully accomplish on most days. And I very much am in favor of getting up early and writing before the day’s events gain strength and momentum.

  10. You’re right! My productivity goes way down the later it gets.

    I try to do most of my blog reading and other ‘time wasters’ when it’s well after midnight and the “useful” words just don’t come anymore.

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