The One Thing That’s Kept Me Motivated to Write All Year

This is how I stay motivated.

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At the beginning of 2016, I knew I needed to start writing more. At that point, I didn’t have a job yet. A lot needed to change, and the only way I could think to get myself started – and stay on track – was to start writing down everything I wrote and published.

I’m not really sure why I started keeping track of every single article or number of words I wrote, specifically. It’s become a little much. The document is now 55 pages long, which includes every publication I have pitched to, published for, names and dates of articles and number of words.

There’s really no need to keep doing this – I’ve now worked my way up to writing full-time, which means I gather a lot of my basic motivation from an “I have to do this or else” mindset. But I keep doing it. Every single article I write goes into that document. I’ve started using it as a place to keep my ideas until I’m ready to work them out, which is one reason why it’s gotten so long. I have a lot of ideas.

I would recommend doing this, even if you don’t normally keep track of your writing. If I go into the document now, I can see all of the publications I’ve pitched to and been rejected from, who has hired me, who I still have the option to contact if I ever need to – it’s all there in one place. When I don’t feel like writing, I can open that document and see everything I’ve accomplished (it’s literally called “2016 writing accomplishments” on my desktop). It makes me feel more confident. Less like I’m going to fail if I try writing just one more thing before calling it a day.

Figure out what motivates you – even if it’s weird or seemingly pointless. Because in those moments you don’t want to keep going, you need something to remind you it’s worth trying harder. You need that push, and often, it needs to come from you.

Do you have a method for keeping up your writing momentum when life gets stupid? What’s your strategy?


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

What Is Writing Motivation, Actually?

In the end, it’s all up to you.

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Have you ever felt “unmotivated” to write? Of course you have; we ALL have. Or, we thought motivation was to blame, anyway. There are plenty of reasons why we find and give in to excuses for not writing. Motivation, or lack thereof, goes a little bit deeper than a shallow excuse.

What do we mean when we talk about motivation, in terms of writing? Probably not what you’ve always thought. Let’s break it down.


It’s not something you can go looking for

Don’t mistake motivation for inspiration. There’s enough of a misconception of what “writespiration” is anyway. Motivation isn’t a feeling. It’s still not as tangible as you might like it to be, but it’s something you are in complete control of. It is a mixture of desires, goals, strategies and plans. The Return to Your Reason challenge we attempted a few months ago focused on the idea that everyone has a specific reason, or motivation, for writing. You’re the one who establishes that. It’s not out there somewhere waiting for you to find it.

Searching for your motivation to write doesn’t mean there is one specific tool, activity or emotional state that is going to somehow give you writing superpowers. In reality, writing motivation is more about the big picture. It’s the thing that drives you to sit down and write not just once or twice, but consistently over an extended period of time.


Your writing motivation can only come from one place

And that place is, as you’ve probably already guessed, within your own head. This is why YOU must be the one to decide to commit to your writing, and YOU have to be the one to set the goals, and YOU have to come up with plans and strategies to make it all happen. Take the guide I included in last week’s newsletter, for example. It’s called a ‘guide’ because it’s only a suggestion. My role here is to give you tips and tools for you to go away and try on your own, not force or tell you how things should be done.

It’s really a matter of taking responsibility for your own writing. As humans, we’re not always good at that, so it’s understandable that you might struggle here. We just naturally like to rely on other people and feel like others’ contributions to our goals makes a difference. A lot of times, it doesn’t. Regardless, it has to start and end with you. No one else truly knows why you want to write this thing in the first place. Only you know that.


It’s going to take other attributes to turn motivation into productivity

That’s what this whole series of posts over the past week has been about. Attributes like discipline and focus and motivation all work together to fuel productivity. Once you have your true “reason” for writing – you have a mission to teach people something through writing, or you have a specific message you want to send through a particular story, etc. – you have to use that to get started. But other things have to be in place in order for you to keep writing.

This is why having a series of clear end goals and creating schedules to help you move toward those goals is the most effective way for you to write what you want to write. I can’t stress enough the importance of being specific about what you really want to use writing for or what you want to accomplish while doing it. I know this is hard. But it’s what’s probably going to help many of you get from where you are to where you want to be.

Motivation is more than just wanting to do something. Just because I want to finish my novel by November 1 doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around and wait for a day I feel like working on it – because there’s so much else going on, I very rarely do. I’m telling the story for largely a personal reason, but that is my motivation. So I set a time to sit down and work on it on specific days, and that’s what I do.

Is it hard? Yep. Do I want to do it, most of the time? Not really; it’s almost been a year and I’m ready to move on the moment it’s finished. But I keep doing it because I don’t lose sight of that underlying motivation I have to continue on even when I don’t feel like it.

That’s what you have to do. Figure out your motivation. Use that as a foundation, and start writing.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

I Have Too Many Ongoing Writing Projects. Yeah … It’s a problem.

I know. I have a problem. Trust me, this is not news.

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I am in the process of decluttering my life (starting with my technology, moving on to my stuff, and so on). I have come to realize, in the past week, that I have somehow unintentionally plunged myself into a never-ending cycle of writing things, submitting things, neglecting things, scrambling to get things written on time, and repeat.

I’m already terrible at reminding myself to relax, so this isn’t really helping.

The only way I really know how to start cleaning up this part of my life is to actually list out everything that’s going on. I thought you might be interested in a little glimpse into how I spend my time, when I am not watching Markiplier try to beat expert Super Mario Maker (he finally did it, I can live my life again).

So I’ve created a list of the abundance of writing projects I have for some reason decided to commit myself to. How, and why, I have no idea.

Keep several things in mind as you view the list below:

  • I am single (characters are enough of a hassle to handle at the moment without having to keep tabs on another human being other than myself)
  • I work from home (no commute time, I set my own hours)
  • I am crazy (probably)
  • I do actually enjoy this, 95% of the time.

So here are all the things I didn’t actually realize I have been trying to juggle.

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I know. I have a problem. Trust me, this is not news.

Unfortunately, the only way I’m going to be able to cut down on the work load I’ve given myself is to, obviously, prioritize (meaning the blog posts, novel and ebook will have to come last). Many of the other points are ongoing projects that don’t end, though. So I’m also simultaneously going to have to choose one less important project, e.g. my ebook, to chip away at until it’s done.

I’m really good at working on a lot of different things at one time, but at the moment, it isn’t working as well for me as it used to. I’m putting very little time and effort into projects I really want to try and finish as soon as possible, and a lot of time into things like articles I don’t get paid for, because I enjoy writing them and I care about the audiences they go out to.

I’m slowly nearing the end of grad school, though, which means things are only going to get busier before my load lightens significantly. There are also some other BTS things I can’t really talk about publicly, which are exciting and anxiety-inducing all at the same time.

I want to be able to put 120% into everything I do, and I know I can’t do that when there is too much going on. I’m thinking this week I will try to double up on blog posts, do some serious outlining for my ebook, go on another YouTube watching hiatus (sigh) and give myself an actual cutoff deadline for my novel, so I have an incentive to finish it hopefully by the end of the summer.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to my brain in the next few months. But I can assure you there’s some great content coming your way (so don’t miss out on the extra stuff). I don’t plan on taking any time away from this blog. Sorry – you’re stuck with me. :)

Tell me what you’re working on this summer! I love hearing about your projects, too!

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.