Someone on reddit thought that they’d start a blog as a way to build the motivation to write their novel.
I think it’s unlikely that anyone will find motivation by starting a blog. The more likely case is that they’ll be distracted.
It’s always going to be easier to write a blog post than to write or edit a chapter of a book. The blog post is shorter, simpler, and self-contained. If someone is having problems with motivation to begin with, they’ll naturally gravitate toward the easier thing – writing a blog post instead of writing their book.
Then at the end of the week they’ll have a bunch of blog posts and no progress on the book.
Here are some of my ideas for motivating progress on writing.
- Give yourself a reward to get started. For example, if you’ve been wanting a new (monitor, computer, car, clothes, etc), make a commitment that you’ll get it when you’re done with your fifth chapter.
- Make a personal commitment to work on your book for exactly one hour each day, six days a week for one month. Anyone can do anything for a month, right? This can include outlining, note taking, and actual writing.
- Find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable, and check in with them weekly. Set realistic goals: “I will finish a first draft of a chapter each week.” Then schedule a meeting with them every week at a set time to discuss your progress. You’ll find yourself working toward the deadline.
- Don’t set out to write a book, if that seems daunting to you. Instead, set out to write 1,000 words instead. Keep writing in chunks. In a month, when you have a bunch of chunks, organized them into a book.
- If writing at all seems daunting, start with writing a one page synopsis. What is the book about? See if you are clear on the story. If so, then take your synopsis and expand it into a chapter by chapter breakdown of what happens. Spend 3 to 6 sentences on each chapter. Are you clear on what happens in each chapter? If so, then move on to writing the chapters according to the outline.
- The outline can change! It is not fixed. As we say here at work, the plan is the plan until it’s not the plan anymore. If your characters do unexpected things – hurray. When you finish the chapter, go revise the outline based on what really happened.
- If your problem is distractions, then try changing the setting. I find it easier to write in a coffee shop than at home. If I am at the coffee shop, I try to imagine that everyone will laugh at me if they see me doing email or surfing the web.
- Another other trick for distractions is to remind yourself that the only person you are cheating is yourself. If you are distracted at work, it’s your employers loss. If you are distracted when writing, it is your loss. You can spend an hour writing, or you can while it away and end up with nothing. Your choice, your outcome. Reminding yourself of this can often give you the drive to get it done.
If you try any of the these techniques, and they work (or don’t), post a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.