Seven Motivation Tips to Help You Write More, Sell More

Just in time for resolution-making, here are some motivation tips to help you write more and sell more. Most are not original with me. Some were picked up from books or the Internet, some from other writers and editors. Whenever possible, I’ve included sources for specific tips.

1. Keep a writing journal—that’s one of the top suggestions from many writers who think that journaling has a direct effect on motivation. They advise you to record what you’re already achieved and what you hope to achieve in the future, and to reread those entries when you need motivation. Journaling can lead to new ideas, new directions and renewed interest in your writing goals

2. Make use of writing prompts. A single word or phrase may give you an idea for a full-fledged article and may motivate you to write additional articles or stories. Author and speaker Susan Taylor Brown says you can gain motivation also by reading interviews with authors and watching movies about writers. Her site has writing prompts and exercises, links to hundreds of author interviews, quotes about writing, and a list of 200 movies about some aspect of writing or writers.

3. Find a writing partner. Two people writing in tandem may produce better results than two people writing separately, and talking with another writer can motivate both of you to be more productive. As a single writer, you may put off writing today. If both of you have made a pact to write for 30 minutes a day on a project, you’re likely to start writing and follow through so as not to disappoint your writing partner.

4. Go somewhere and do something different. The excitement of a new place or a new activity generates its own motivation. Back at your computer, use your five senses to recapture vivid details of your adventure.

5. Go back to school. A writing class at a local university or community college can be a powerful motivator. Look for workshop-type classes that will give you a chance to know other writers. Make it a point to discuss your writing with others who have writing goals similar to yours. Ask your instructor how you might become more motivated.

6. Make deadlines for yourself and stick to them (a great practice for when you actually have to meet editors’ deadlines later on). Write your deadlines down and post them in a prominent place near the computer where you must see them every day. The calendar (or a ticking clock) can be a great motivator.

7. Consider the words of motivational speaker, Kelly James-Enger, a freelance journalist, writing instructor and author (Six Figure Freelancing; Ready, Aim, Specialize! Create Your Own Writing Specialty and Make More Money). In her Writer’s Handbook article, “Freelancing 101,” she says the most effective way to stay motivated is to set two types of goals for your writing.

“Set an outcome goal and then design production goals to get you there. An outcome goal is often what you’re striving for in terms of publishing your work. It might be, ‘I’ll publish my work in a national magazine.’ A production goal, on the other hand, is a small, measureable, specific goal that will help you reach your outcome goal — like ‘I will send out three queries each month,’ or ‘I will write for 30 minutes every day.’

When you’re writing for publication, you need both. The production goals, although seemingly minor, will help keep you on target to reach your outcome goals. They also give you a way to track your progress. After six months of sending out queries, for example, you may not reach your goal of being published in a national magazine (yet), but you will have met your production goal of writing every day. That kind of success helps keep you on track — while making you a better writer and improving your chances of getting published in the process.”

All the tips are good ways to help keep your motivation high. They’d also make excellent writing resolutions. I plan to use some of them and I hope you will, too. Happy New Year and much success with your writing in 2008!

Please leave a comment.
©2007 by Laverne Daley
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8 Comments on “Seven Motivation Tips to Help You Write More, Sell More”

  1. ven says:

    this is a very helpful article 🙂 I’ve been keeping a journal for sometime now and I believe it really helps keep the creative juices flowing 😉 I’ll try the writing partner this 2008! Thanks for the tips!

  2. ldaley says:

    I’m glad you found the article helpful, Ven. Thanks for your response. Please come back here often. Your comments are most welcome. Laverne

  3. chocmoon says:

    I kept journals for many years, but stopped for some reason around 9 years ago. And I still haven’t figured out what to do with all those crazy teenage journals.

    I’d like to maybe bring the journal back to my routine, but I haven’t figured out just what kind of writing I want to include. Maybe a “goals” journal would be nice. Or just a journal of descriptive writing (could lead to poems). Or a journal about what other people’s writing makes me think.

    January is a good time to think about motivation! Great post.

  4. ldaley says:

    Chocmoon, thanks for your comment.
    Wish I had some crazy teenage journals to turn to. Looks like they could be turned into full-fledged articles or even a YA novel. Journaling is a discipline I’ve not yet mastered — maybe this year it will happen. Glad you liked the post. It was a fun one to write.

  5. Michele says:

    Great article. I think I do all on a fairly regular basis except for #2, so I look forward to checking out SBT’s site. I write three pages every morning first thing. Whatever comes to mind. Usually by pg 3 I’m in the zone. Works out great since the inner-critic/inner-editor sleeps late. I think of it as priming the pump. Thanks Laverne.

  6. ldaley says:

    Thanks, Michele. I don’t use writing prompts, nor do I keep a journal, but I’m trying to talk myself into adding both to my routine. I like your way of priming the pump, BTW.
    Surely would like to hear about your YA novel. Why YA, how long did it take you to write it, revisions? What’s next? LD

  7. I sometimes become blocked when I am writing on my blog. For me it is nice for me to think about what it will do for me when I finished the project. Whether it is getting paid or being able to spend a little more time with my kids. It is a very good motivator for me.

  8. ldaley says:

    That sounds like a very good motivator, and one that is satisfying, too! Thanks for your comment.

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