Sometimes the simple act of writing becomes challenging. How do you make yourself write when you aren’t in the mood? Do you ever reward yourself at milestones?
"I find that the 'reward' system isn’t very effective for me. Like most writers and other addicts, I tend to give myself rewards whenever the hell I feel like it, making it pretty hard to fool myself into thinking I’ll only get that piece of chocolate after 10 pages. I mean, why not now, this very moment? Mmm. Thanks, Bill. Thanks for the piece of chocolate." - Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight.
"I’ve spent years forcing myself to burn the midnight oil and write and write and write, and I don’t think it’s actually been that productive. Recently, I’ve learned to be more in tune with my creativity. To listen to it. Be sensitive to it. Slow down. If it’s not happening, it’s better to step away from the desk. My biggest discoveries, the best fixes, have come to me when my brain is at rest." - Lex Hrabe , co-author of Quarantine: The Loners.
"I write 2,000 words a day, M-F when drafting. I don’t know how I make myself write when I don’t want to. I just do. It’s a job, and everyday people get up for work when they don’t want to. Writing is the same." - Victoria Scott, author of The Collector.
"I can’t say I have that problem. Revisions are challenging and can be brutal but at that point I usually have help (my editor) or good friends to help me. I reward myself by eating a lot while I am revising..eating a lot of junk food." - Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Surfacing.
"I don’t believe in Writer’s Block, but Writer’s Procrastination is a whole other thing! I’m usually very good at self-motivating, and I love to write. But when writing changed from a passion to a fulltime job with deadlines, this brought challenges. The critical thing I find is not plugging in the broadband when I’m meant to be writing! I don’t generally use rewards at milestones...though there may be chocolate for that mid-afternoon slump." - Teri Terry, author of Slated.
"I used to be an awful procrastinator. But now that writing is my full-time job, I simply can’t afford to not be in the mood. What I do now is make myself accountable to my agent by having a daily turn-in goal five days a week. Knowing I have someone anticipating pages daily forces me to get off my butt and write. As for milestone rewards, definitely—I always celebrate when finishing a book!" - Jeff Sampson, author of Ravage.
"I make myself do sit-ups. Hahaha. Seriously. Once I've done a bazillion sit-ups, I'd much rather be in my writing chair than lying on my back, curling my abs." - A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood.
"I can't make myself write when I'm not in the mood, if I did, I would just end up deleting it because it would be awful. I just take a day off and read over what I have or read some books that I haven't gotten to yet, and try again the next day! I don't reward myself, but I seriously think I should now!" - Molly McAdams, author of Taking Chances.
"I think Steven Pressfield's fantastic book The War of Art addressed this question for me. It's your job. Other people don't get to skip work just because they don't feel like going, so neither do you. :) Plus, that feeling is often just a mixture of self-doubt and fear getting in your way. Can't let that stop you. And yep, I reward myself with small things (a hot chocolate, a new book, etc.) to help keep that motivation going." - Stacey Kade, author of The Ghost & the Goth and The Rules.
"During November’s NaNoWriMo, the weight of the target word count pushes me relentlessly. During the other 11 months of the year, I procrastinate until guilt drives me into a productive frenzy. I pre-reward myself with sweet milky coffee." - Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13.
"I just write. I guess people aren't always in the mood to get up in the morning, get dressed and head into the office everyday, but they do it because that's their job. Writing is the same. I do tend to work on multiple projects at once, and one of the benefits of that is that if I don't feel in the mood for one project, I can switch over for a day or two to a different project. As for rewards, I always, always promise myself that I'm going to reward myself for milestones . . . and then I never do. :( I really should, though." - Kristin Halbrook, author of Nobody But Us.
"I like to go to coffee shops. It reminds me how many people out there still write for fun. And it also makes me focus. My best advice for writing when you aren’t in the mood- get a really good writing playlist that makes you want to disappear into whatever you’re working on for hours." - Robyn Schneider, author of The Begining of Everything.
Find out how the rest of the authors motivate themselves
when they aren't in the mood to write.
when they aren't in the mood to write.