I get it—as someone who is currently writing four books, juggled with being in my first year of online biz? Trust me, I get it.
The struggle is real for us writers to stay motivated and stick to routine.
There could be any number of causes to these sluggish, lazy feelings including:
- Feeling overwhelmed by life, stress, or other obligations.
- Feeling a lack of time, making you neglect your writing.
- Feeling uninspired, resulting in you being slack.
But today, I want to share with you some ways you can avoid getting uninspired, feeling slack, or losing your writing flow.
1) Organize Your Workflow & Create A Work / Life Balance
Workflow is super important, and so is having clearly defined lined between your work hours and your rest hours (plus actually sticking to them… which I’m guilty of not doing). 🙈
The first thing you need to do is identify when you actually have time to write—and don’t tell me you don’t. Everybody can find five minutes in their day, and if five minutes is all you have, then that’s going to have to do unless you decide to make other changes to your routine. Besides, you can write 100 words in five minutes, and times that by 5? That’s 500 words a week, or 2,000 words a month. A little progress is better than none.
I don’t recommend writing for more than 1 – 2 hours a day unless you’re super inspired or have a pressing deadline, because that’s a one-way ticket to burnout/writer’s block. Instead, give yourself a reason to want to come back and continue writing.
On the subject of those two things, make sure you stick to the outlined times you’ve set for yourself as much as you can. If you can negotiate with your family for scheduled space to write in peace, it’s going to benefit you a lot better as you sink into a writing routine, and that way you won’t be tempted to write during your ‘down time’, nor will you feel guilty about actually taking a break.
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2) Block Out A Routine
First of all, I know routines can be icky, but having a writing routine is super important if you’re serious about your craft. Not only does it, y’no… actually make things happen, but it helps you to practice the discipline of writing every day or at least every week.
I’ll tell you what could happen if you don’t get this down in the early days—you’re gonna reach a point in your career where you have a heckin’ lot of free time to write and instead of passionately doing so (as I’m sure you dream of doing from your dreary workplace each day), you’re gonna get tempted to go for a Netflix binge. And you know who’s going to win out?
*ding ding ding*
The Netflix Binge.
Because we’re only human and it’s only natural that we’d choose rest over work unless we’re super dedicated and super fired up about it. After you’ve been in your new ‘free time’ routine for a while, it’s going to get harder to practice that discipline with so many temptations around you—so work on it now. I promise it’ll be worth it.
How Do I Create A Routine?
As for how to actually pull this off, there are tons of project management systems and tools out there to help you stay on track with your writing routine, such as Asana and Trello (I’ve personally used Trello in the past for writing and Asana for my biz. Now I use Asana for everything).
If digital isn’t your favorite thing, don’t panic. A good old-fashioned diary will do just the trick too—as long as you stick to filling it in. All you have to do is set aside as little as 5 – 10 minutes, or as much as 1 – 2 hours a day on your writing, and then actually show up to do it.
3) Take Time Out
Yes, having downtime is just as important as kicking your butt into gear—it’s all about making the most of the time you give yourself.
When taking time out, give yourself permission to completely detach from your book and focus on something else entirely—do something you enjoy but don’t always have time for. Take your girlfriends out to brunch. Go and see a movie. Finally read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf since 2009. It’s just as important to block these activities into your routine in addition to writing time, if that’s what you need to do.
Then, when you come back, allow yourself to slowly ease into it if need be—do something that inspires you, such as making a mood board, or listening to a writing playlist, or playing a video game that gets the creative juices flowing.
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Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and coach helping fiction authors tell & sell their story.