What keeps you motivated to write?

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

What motivates you to write? Knowing what motivates you will help you focus and stay on task.  Plus, if you know where to go to get motivation when you’re feeling discouraged, you’ll get out of any writing slump faster. You can’t let those slumps stop you–especially when you are writing on a deadline.

To evaluate your motivations, think about these things:

Who motivates you to write? Is there a person in your life whom you are writing for, or is there someone who knows what encouraging thing to say? If so, when you start to fall off the writing track, think about that person or give your encouraging buddy a call. Or maybe your potential audience motivates you?

When do you feel most motivated to write? Do you write best in the morning, midday, or at night?  One of my close author friends has young children, and she gets up very early in the morning to write so none of the kiddos distract her. Find the best time for you and stick with it! Create a writing schedule for yourself.

Why do you write? (What motivates you?) Think about your goals for writing. Focus on them, and when you feel discouraged, think again about what you would like to accomplish with your writing. It’s a good idea to write down your goals and keep them near your writing space.

Where do you write best? Where is your writing space? Some authors write best from home while others are too distracted at home and must write at the library or a coffee shop. If you find yourself unproductive, try something new. Avoid the Internet while you write; consider disconnecting your router during your scheduled writing time.

If you feel comfortable sharing some of your answers, please do!

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  1. God has put people in my path who have trouble reading (one of our sons learned to read by tracing every letter of every word on sandpaper flashcards). I’ve heard God’s clear instruction: “Don’t exclude them when you write.” Many of these folks carry a mature faith–it’s not a matter of writing to baby Christians. I try to communicate grown-up thoughts at a child’s reading level.
    * I don’t like the term “low-literacy,” even though it’s the phrase I google for how-to advice. I think of it as a calling to write to reluctant readers. And I do it with a mother’s heart.

  2. I write best when I take the time to see from my character’s point of view. When I walk into the story as my character, I can express her wants, needs, and fears …

  3. CJ Myerly says:

    A clean house. 🙂 Practically an impossibility with a 4 y.o. daughter and a 2 y.o. son. However, when I’ve taken time to straighten and clean, it feels like my mind is clearer so I’m automatically more motivated.

    I write during my kids’ nap and after they’re in bed. While my best writing happens at 2 a.m., my best mothering doesn’t occur the next day so I make myself go to bed by midnight.

    On the weekends, my husband spends time with the kids while I go to a local cafe and write. Writing with young children is a challenge, but my husband’s helped me find ways to motivate me–and the right times to write.

    • Rachel Kent says:

      I have the young kids challenge too! And I like having my house picked up before settling down for some deep work. It does help with the focus.

  4. I’m motivated by a loan shark named Giggles, whose idea of flexible repayment means accepting different-sized denominations.
    * Of course, Giggles would prefer that I actually MADE money, so I have to find some other motivators.
    * The main ones are my readers, and my supposition that this is a story worth telling: that there is joy in life that grows between the hard cobbles of pain, and that God’s Love is far better than any perfect-prayer-penny-in-the-miracle-slot preacher may have you believe. He loves us – and trusts us – to navigate a world gone horribly wrong. Our fidelity to the task and our faith are the gifts that only we can bring Him, and they are the gifts that fuel His Joy.
    * And there is the unlikely fact that Giggles is a Christian, so he gets it.

  5. I write best early in the morning, but cannot always do so. I typically end up having to write in the afternoons after work. For me, it is near-impossible to write at home during the day. And coffee shops are out of the question. I need a very, VERY quiet room with zero distractions. I cannot even face the window. I need to be “in the zone” with my screen and keyboard. Finding an empty office during the day is not an easy task. Even the local library is too noisy. As for motivation, I write best when I have a message that I need to get out of my head/heart. It’s the Jeremiah burn – I have to get this out!

    • Damon, I kind of envy you. I need distraction to work; the dynamic tension I have to create to allow ordered work in the face of chaos seems to be what drives me.
      * I used to think this was something of an advantage, but now, looking back, I suspect it used a LOT of energy that might have been devoted to better things.
      I it may be nature, it may be nurture…but I never seriously tried to change, and now, I wish I had.

      • Well, in reverse, I envy you and anyone who can write in the midst of chaos. I marvel at those who can work at a coffee shop. How does that even happen? I don’t know, but I read a number of authors and bloggers who have their favorite coffee shop “desk” where they write. For me it is like trying to breathe under water.

      • Damon, I wrote a lot of my PhD dissertation at a faux-Starbucks coffee shop (Cafe Roma) at UC San Diego. It felt right to me, that somehow my work was connected to,and important to a wider world. It was about the seismic design of concrete pilings, and seeing people whom I imagined the work might affect made it more real and vital for me.
        * Fiction was the same, when I could still get out. I’d look around the coffee shop in Barnes and Noble or Borders, where I usually worked, look at the people and think, “THIS is my audience. THESE may be my readers. How can I give them something of value?”

    • Damon, I’ve never tried writing in a coffee shop, but yeah, the noise alone keeps me from trying. But I see all these cute pictures of people writing from coffee shops … makes me wonder if I’m missing out on something. 🙂

  6. Jaxon M King says:

    My motivation to write is spending time in one of my favorite places-my imagination!

  7. Angela Arndt says:

    I get up every morning at 5:40 to write. It’s quiet. No distractions. My mind is fresh so that I can pray and give God all my burdens. Only then can I ask for inspiration or maybe it’s only then that I’m ready for it.

    Great post, Rachel!

  8. I love writing from home. And I love writing … so really I write for myself, for God, and readers and potential readers. I learned a long time ago not to hang all my hopes or motivation on a single person … because we know that God is the only one who will never leave us. But wow, I can’t overstate how much encouragement means along this journey. I save every word of encouragement.

  9. Jeanette Raymond says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Those moments when time and days spaced apart come together in a magical unique way only given as a gift by God’s spirit minsitering in and through me are priceless. I’m in awe and continue to be when something ties together in a way I couldn’t have planned or outlined into the story already outlined. This keeps me excited about writing, sends me back to the seat knowing its beauty will come in the unfolding. I write best on my coach with my laptop usually in the mid morning but can at any time when I recognize a thought I just have to write down. I’m more comfortable in the living room with noise or without, I’m motivated by the thrill of the words flowing and my love for God. but I do spend time at my desk too. I would love a writing partner but so far I couldn’t give what I didn’t know until I spent time learning more on editing the past year. There isn’t anyone in my area so far I have considered joining ACFW.

  10. I love to read and write partly to give back some of that pleasure to others. I’m especially motivated by the few times I’ve learned things I wrote really made a difference in other people’s lives. And I also write because I can’t waste what my imagination provides.

  11. Susan Sage says:

    1. God and self. He gave me an assignment and hasn’t released me from it.
    2. I am most motivated to write early in the morning. By early afternoon, I’m done…both my eyes and my energy.
    3. The love of writing motivates me to write. I am so hyped and excited when I complete a piece which makes me want to write even more.
    4. I write best in quiet, cool, beautiful settings. If I can’t be there, having pictures of that place around me and pictures of my audience helps immensely.