Ghost writers notwithstanding, there’s very little chance that someone is going to come along to write and edit your story for you. If you want to tell a story, you’ll have to motivate yourself to both get it written and edited. The question is then how do you motivate yourself?
Want. The most basic part of motivation to do something is a desire—and if you’re reading this trying to figure out how to turn that desire into actual motivation, you’ve got a good start already. If it helps, take a moment to write a sentence about that desire. What do you want? Tack it up somewhere you can see it when you need a reminder.
Schedule time. It’s so, so easy to overload your schedule with other responsibilities and things you want to do. Instead of letting those things encroach on your time, put it down in your calendar to give yourself time for working on your story. At a minimum, try for an hour three times a week.
Limit distractions. I know, I’m guilty of it too. I think I’ll just check my email real quick and then then next thing I know it’s been three hours and I’m eight videos deep on YouTube. Distractions are the worst time leeches. Whatever you find necessary to do, limit your distractions. That might be leaving your phone in another room, or even turning your internet off temporarily.
Set goals. You already know what you want, so turn it into a goal. Remember that goals should be clear. Specificity makes it easier to see yourself progressing towards that end goal. Try ‘writing fifty-thousand words by the end of the next year’ versus ‘write a book.’ One of those is clear and well-defined, giving you a way to measure it and a deadline to get it done by.
Start small. This is a partial caveat to the above. You’re not going to sit down in an day and write the New York Times Bestseller. The insane typing speed you’d need to make that plausible would break your computer. Instead of breaking that, break your big goal down into smaller ones. Pick the smallest possible goal and start with that one. It gets easier to build larger habits out of smaller ones. Once you’ve gotten into a habit, the motivation to get it done comes naturally.
Track progress. Tracking your progress does two things. One, it lets you see when and where you do the best. Because you can see how your progress fluctuates over time, you’ll be able to adjust your schedule once you know that you work better in the mornings over the evenings. Second, being able to see your progress grow over time also feeds your motivation by giving you something to represent the effort you’re putting in.
Reward yourself. The large disclaimer to this one is that it won’t work for everyone. You might however, find it useful to give yourself a small reward (such as a small treat or something else) for completing your smaller goals. This way you begin associating completing each task or goal with enjoyment, which in turn makes it easier to get started on the next one.
What are your favorite motivational tactics? Let me know in the comments!