How to stay motivated while writing your novel

No matter how excited you are to be writing, there will probably be a time when motivation lags. Or maybe it will hit when you are revising or editing your work. Knowing that this could happen can make it easier to combat that lack of motivation.

You need to remember that writing is a job. While it can be fun, challenging, and rewarding, it is like any other job. Sometimes it can seem like a chore. Here are some things you can do when the motivation slips.

Take a break

When motivation disappears, you may no longer feel like working on your story. Sometimes this urge to set aside your novel can be a good thing. A break from writing (or editing) can ensure that you return with “fresh eyes.” You’ve been close to the work for such a long time that a little distance can help.

Set a deadline

If you have finished the first draft of your novel, a break may be in order for the reasons stated above. But if you do so, make sure you mark on your calendar when you want to get back to it. You may want a few days off, a week’s break or maybe even a month. But just don’t make it too long, or you may find it too difficult to return to the book at all.


When unmotivated to write, I often find it helps to go back and re-read what I have already written. Often that inspires me to keep writing. If you have already finished your first draft, then your next step (after taking a few days/weeks off) is to re-read your work. This is a good time to make a list of things you want to correct. (Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on those things that did go right.)

Woman reading book while lying down uid 1072633Read something else

Though many writers don’t like to be distracted by other books while they are writing, sometimes reading something else can spark your imagination and motivate you to keep working on your own masterpiece.

Break down what you need to do

Wooden hourglass uid 1326634Overwhelmed by revising or editing your novel? Consider breaking it down into smaller manageable steps. Or perhaps use a timer. Set it for 15 to 20 minutes and then get to work. Often you will find that once you are working, you don’t want to stop. But hey, if you do, just take a break and come back to it later.

Write something else

Maybe your creativity is at a standstill, or maybe it is that your motivation to write is just hiding. Whatever the reason, sometimes if you write something else – perhaps last night’s dream or a conversation you had with a friend – it can kick start your motivation. Try some free association or just make your own journal entry. It doesn’t matter as long as you are getting words on to paper.

Whatever method you try, just realize that all authors at one time or another feel a little less motivated to write. The main thing is to keep your goal of publishing a book in mind and work through that lack of motivation.