December 15

How to motivate yourself to write when you’d rather nap, organize, or watch Netflix

    You know you’ve got a book that’s calling your name. You know what you’d like to write about, why the book will be amazing for your life and the goals you have, and you’ve even set aside time to write. But how to motivate yourself to write when every time you sit down to write, you suddenly feel the urge to nap, organize, or watch Netflix?

    I have an unconventional tool for you that just might make writing exciting and productive again. First, let’s dig a little bit into why your motivation is probably lacking, which will help you understand why this quick, little tool is so useful.

    What’s really going on behind your lack of motivation?

    I wrote last week about a very practical perspective of what causes writer’s block (click here to read that post), but there are often some underlying issues that come up when you start to get serious about writing. Here are two of the most common:

    Anxiety: Anxiety manifests itself in self-doubts that run in the back of your mind. (“Is this writing good enough? Does this even make sense? Am I ever going to be able to finish this? Will anyone read it? If they do read it, will they hate it?”) These self-doubt thoughts are debilitating, and absolutely everyone goes through the depths of their own self-doubts when writing.

    Lack of competence: Let’s be honest. It’s pretty likely that you’ve never written anything like this before, either you’ve never written a book or a book like this, and you just don’t know every step that you’re going to need to take to finish and publish the book. And that’s completely okay! But in your moment of lacking motivation, all you can think about is the belief that you don’t know exactly what you need to do to finish this book well.

    There is, of course, a lot of variety of that pops up for people when they lose motivation. It’s often helpful to talk out what’s blocking you from writing with someone else, like a trusted colleague or a writing coach. It can be a clarifying process to understand what’s happening in your own psychology so that you can get specific on how to motivate yourself to write in very specific ways.

    But there is one way that works remarkably well for regaining that motivation in a matter of minutes.

    A quick visualization can help you regain motivation in a matter of minutes.

    Visualizations are powerful tools for changing our mind’s natural inclinations toward anxiety and believing in our own lack of competence. Professional athletes visualize their performance on the field of play, down to imagining specific scenarios and how they’re going to move their body in response. Musicians visualize playing extremely complicated pieces, even moving their fingers along with the visualization. Speakers visualize their entire talk and the audience response. The best in the world visualize their own success before they even reach the moment of performance.

    And you can visualize your own success in writing before you even start writing. You’ve just never been taught how to do it.

    I created a 15-minute visualization that walks you through the three most important parts of an effective visualization:

    Deep breathing to calm anxiety and allow your mind to accept new ideas.
    An acknowledgment that your performance serves a deeper purpose.
    A visual image of you successfully completing your goal: in this case, writing your first draft.
    This is a recording of me, talking you through an entirely new way to think about yourself as a writer who can successfully finish writing the first draft of this book.

    And I would bet that if you’ve spent longer than a few days trying to figure out how to motivate yourself to write, this will be the best 15-minute investment of your time you could make.


    Or click here to download.

    And let me know what you think of the idea of visualization? Have you tried anything like this before? What’s worked well for you?


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