How can I get motivated to write every day?

Do something every day to make your writing habit stick! Writing, just like any other activity we work on, is a matter of practice. The more we do it, the better we get at it, and the more confident we feel. Then, once we start feeling good about it, we’re more likely to keep doing it.

Start today. Incorporate a few small daily practices that can boost your motivation to write. Here are 5 ideas:

#1. Increase your focus on what’s most important to do today with one question first thing in the morning: What is the one thing I am committed to completing today?

  • How it helps: It makes things simple: You know that, out of the dozens of things you want to accomplish during the day, there is that one area that is incredibly important to your progress. All you have to do is identify it, then everything else you do will be geared towards completing it.

#2. Set goals for your work.

  • How it helps: A goal serves as your roadmap for the work you need to finish: once you establish what your goals are, they are easier to follow and hard to ignore! How to do this? Identify your milestones (weekly goals) you need to reach in order to make progress towards a bigger (monthly) goal. For example, if you are writing a short story, then your milestones can be to write 5 pages per week (typed up first draft) so that you have a completed story of 60 pages in three months.

#3. Schedule your day into 2 hour time blocks.

  • How it helps: It helps you get perspective on how long it takes to complete your tasks, and also gives you an idea on how your brain prefers to concentrate. For example, you can devote your first 2 hours in the morning to write an outline of what you want to write as well as type up new material; 2 hours after lunch can be spent on developing a specific section of your story; and 2 hours in the evening can be spent on research and taking notes you will need for an upcoming writing session.

#4. Feed your brain.

  • How it helps: New brain food means getting new information, strengthening your current skills and building new ones, and boosting your critical thinking. Be selective with what you ingest daily: don’t let TV or the news take over your free time. Pick something that will engage your brain in a more creative way and give you time to reflect on what you’re learning. For example, listen to podcasts or an audiobook while commuting, read books instead of browsing the Internet, and research how to pick up a new skill such as playing an instrument or learning a new language.

#5. Delay gratification.

  • How it helps: Putting off doing something that gives you pleasure has its advantages. It’s about instilling a good dose of self-discipline so that you do something difficult first in order to reward yourself later (read about the Stanford Marshmallow experiment and how delayed gratification can increase your chance of success both personally and professionally). For example, if you really want to finish the last two chapters of a book that you’re reading or you want to see a film your friend recommended to you, leave it for the evening after you’re done with your writing for the day. The biggest benefit is that by the time your head hits the pillow, you’ll feel accomplished and more confident about your progress. And that carries much more weight than indulging in something for an hour or two before you forget all about it.

Here are a few ideas on brain food that might be interesting to you:

  • Prepare your personalized list of must-haves so that you can work more productively.
  • Listen to music to improve cognitive abilities and get you in a good mood for working.
  • Read books to shape your life strategy, figure out how far you want to take your career and personal development, learn more about a particular topic, and sharpen your critical thinking skills.
  • Listen to podcasts to enhance creativity, learn new skills, and hear how experts motivate themselves in their everyday lives.
  • Discover a new website for ideas on getting motivated and focused, increasing your knowledge, and finding tips to apply this knowledge to your daily life.
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