The Magic Solution to Staying Motivated and Achieving Your Writing Goals


Normally I don’t shout (use capslock) but this is a shouting situation. Because that really is the answer and if you want something more magical and simple and foolproof than that – you’re out of luck. Sorry.

And I know. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m there now. I’m writing a blog post about getting on with your writing to avoid getting on with mine. So I’m with you. It’s hard. And I too want a magical solution. The golden key to success. But you know what? It doesn’t exist. This is the closest there is – the cold, hard, ugly truth. And I know it doesn’t exist because I’ve looked. Every time I don’t feel like writing I think, ‘hey, you know what would be a great idea, finding out how to motivate myself by googling it’ and every time I look I find the same old bullshit.

For example:

1) Set goals. I know how to set goals. I’m awesome at setting goals. What I need help with is actually working towards the goals. You know – doing something.

2) Hold yourself accountable. Great. How? If I don’t have the self-discipline to not skip a day, do you really think I do have the self-discipline to punish myself in some way? I don’t even know how I could do that – not give myself the reward I already gave myself because I’ll probably do the thing I’m meant to do and I deserve it anyway? Which leads me to…

3) Reward yourself. This is great until you get your reward and it’s sitting there looking at you and you think ‘ah, I’ve started, I deserve one’ and before you know it you’ve eaten the whole box and written one word. If that. (Yes my reward invariably involves food. Usually brownie bites.)

The truth is if you lack self-discipline, none of these things will help you because none of them can actually force you to stop procrastinating and start writing. The only thing, in my experience, that has ever worked is a deadline. And when I say a deadline, I don’t mean a deadline that you made up and it doesn’t really matter if you keep it or not I mean a real deadline such as a coursework deadline that makes the difference between passing and failing a degree. That will motivate you. But at the end of the day, you’ll still procrastinate if you’re that way inclined, until the last possible moment, which varies – for me it’s about a week before, for others it’s more like 5 hours before. But you’ll get it done because you have to. If you don’t have to and you lack self-discipline you won’t. Unless you just bloody well get on with it.

So stop looking up tips and advice on motivation and finishing your novel. None of these will help you and you’re not helping yourself – you’re fooling yourself because, NEWSFLASH, you’re procrastinating and there’s only one surefire way to stop doing that and start writing and that’s to stop procrastinating and start writing. A.k.a.



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