Full-time writing can be exhausting. Just like any job, sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it.
But, if you want to be a successful writer, blogger, columnist, or make money on Medium, you’ve got to keep yourself going. Stay motivated.
“Nobody craves your success as much as you do.”
If you want to write full time or if it’s your only source of income, you can’t slack. Writing has to happen as often as any full-time job tasks happen.
It’s possible to make a full-time income only working part-time hours, but that’s not how you start. In order to build your skills, network, and portfolio, you have to write consistently.
Here are some ways to keep you going when you don’t feel like being productive.
1. Write whatever you’re feeling
Whatever you’re feeling; exhaustion (my permanent state of existence), laziness, writer’s block, wanting to quit, whatever it is — put it on paper (or in google doc).
This doesn’t have to be a published piece so don’t spend time on it… in fact, it shouldn’t be. It’s a brain dump. Just a way to work through your thoughts and feelings.
2. Make a list
The list can be about the chores you need to get done or the shopping list you have to make, anything you want.
Then throw “write” at the bottom of the list so it’s there. You’ll be preparing yourself for a writing mindset while ticking off the things on your list. Since you know it’s coming, the idea won’t be so heavy when you get to it.
Reading your older posts, or other stories, helps generate inspiration. Sometimes we fall into a funk for one reason or another. Seek out your inspiration if it starts to fade.
Do not expect to be filled with drive and desire 100% of the time. Everyone loses their motivation at some point; get it back on track by seeking out those who are currently inspired and motivated, even if that’s your past self.
4. Take a break
If you’ve got too much going on and you feel frustrated or like giving up, give yourself a period of rest. When we don’t work through negative or feelings they can take over our brain space. Take a break to deal with whatever is taking up space in your mind.
Make a deadline and then take some time off. Every job offers vacation days; don’t forget to give them to yourself.
5. Schedule writing into the day
If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done, especially if you have a family or anyone to take care of (parent, spouse, pet).
Block off the same time every day so it becomes part of your daily habit to write. Freelance writing is a flexible job but that doesn’t mean structure shouldn’t be a part of your routine.
Self-motivation is crucial to maintaining a writing career. Nobody craves your success as much as you do. And, as with anything, giving up is easy but it’s not rewarding.
If you’re struggling to build up your motivation to get started:
- Make an inspiration board (either on paper or Pinterest)
- Make a list of reasons why you chose writing, or why you believe writing has chosen you
- Set reminders for yourself to stay focused on your goals
- Create a reward system for when you reach certain milestones
If you want to give up you can, there is no shame in acknowledging when something isn’t for you.
But if writing is for you; know that all writers go through periods of writers block, lack of inspiration, and varying degrees of imposter syndrome (that’s right, even after getting paid and becoming a “professional” full-time writer, imposter syndrome will still sneak up on you.)
You can regain your enthusiasm as long as you stay engaged.