Monday, August 22, 2022

How to Find the Motivation to Write Your Book by Alyssa Hitaka

Writing is hard. It’s thrilling, invigorating, and rewarding, sure—it’s definitely worth doing—but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy. Once you’ve come up with a great idea you’re excited about, it can be difficult to put pen to paper and bring your lovingly crafted story to life. Today, we’re presenting a few key tips that can help you find the motivation to write when you’re feeling lackluster.

Remember Your Why

Why do you love your story? Why does it deserve to be told? Why do you want to write? Why are you putting yourself through all this? Amid all the toil of writing, it can be easy to forget why you’re doing it in the first place. So if you find yourself succumbing to the allure of procrastination, take a moment to remember why you embarked on this journey in the first place. Rediscovering your motivation can give you renewed energy to tell your story.

Break Down Your To-Do List
Writing a novel takes a lot of effort. It’s not something you’re going to finish in an afternoon. When you think about everything that must go into your story, it can easily become overwhelming. That’s why it’s best not to think about it that way.
Any task—even the biggest, most intimidating projects you might undertake—can be broken into numerous smaller tasks. You might not be able to finish a chapter today, but you can finish a page. If you’re overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, keep breaking them down until they’re doable, and work from that level. And it’s okay if you have to break your tasks down to a very basic level. Any progress is progress, and it’ll build up over time—so it doesn’t matter how little it is on a daily basis.

Plan Carefully Before Diving In

There are probably certain sections and scenes in your story that you can’t wait to just dive into and start writing. But this impulsive style isn’t usually the best way to tell your story. A novel requires require a well-developed plot with relatable characters and realistic turns of events, and until you carefully flesh out an intensive outline of your plot, even you don’t know all the finer details of your story.
So, before starting to breathe life into your characters, take the time to develop a careful outline of your story. Covering all the major (and even minor) plot developments allows you to view the flow of your story from a distance and make necessary tweaks before you start writing. It also gives you an opportunity to think deeply about each major section of your story, which can help you identify plot holes and other insufficiencies that would be much more difficult to rectify after you’ve already written your manuscript. Once you have a well-thought-out plot outline to guide you, you’ll have much more confidence when you start writing, boosting your motivation.

Abandon Perfectionism
One of the factors that frequently keeps writers away from the keyboard is the fear that their story will be less than perfect. Well, of course your story won’t be perfect—that’s impossible. Even the most beloved, world-famous authors can’t pull that off. Abandon the idea of perfectionism by reminding yourself that your story deserves to be told, even if not “perfectly.”
When writing your first draft, you don’t need to be concerned with “perfection” at all. At this stage, all you should be focused on is converting your story into words on the page. It can be clunky and full of grammatical mistakes. That’s fine, because this isn’t what you’re publishing. Reminding yourself that you’ll revise your story through various drafts frees you from the paralysis of “perfection” and allows you to move forward with your writing.

Reframe Your Fears

Sometimes you may put off writing under the fear that you won’t be able to do justice to your beloved storyline, failing the characters you now love so much. We’re not going to pretend that that thought isn’t scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Never writing your story at all.
If you’re feeling unmotivated, spare a thought for your future self. Think about how accomplished you’ll feel having written your book, how rewarding it will feel to know people are reading and loving your story, and how you might build up a fanbase for future stories. Sure, that’s motivating. But what’s even more important to think about is an alternate future where you didn’t write your book. Think about the regret you’ll feel, the potential you knowingly wasted. The way to save yourself is to write your book. There may be no motivation stronger than that.

Get Help
You don’t need to be alone on this journey. Whether it’s friends who can encourage you, beta readers who can offer valuable feedback, editors who can polish your manuscript, or professionals who can help compose a killer query letter to pitch your manuscript to agents, the world is full of people who can aid you in your novel-writing mission. We at are passionate about great books and helping the authors behind the titles. As agents, publishers, and authors ourselves, we’re in the ideal position to guide and encourage up-and-coming authors.

- Alyssa Hitaka,


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Difficult to turn off the perfection, but we'd never write otherwise.
Great tips, Alyssa!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I always outline the characters, too, so I know who they are.

G. B. Miller said...

I have literally put pen to paper to write my story before doing the computer. Writing it out allows me to better concentrate on the overall story and I never have to worry about perfection.

Mirka Breen said...

I ask myself if I have a good story to tell, and then--- I tell it.
That's when the hard work of editing, revising, polishing and getting feedback begin.
Perfectionism be gone. It doesn't serve at the initial stage.