Three Scientifically Proven Ways To Increase Your Writing Motivation
Writing is a type of activity that takes up many forms depending on the frequency and seriousness put into it. It can be a hobby if it is a passion you do during your spare time, it can be a career if you write novels or stories full time, it can be a side job you do to earn extra income or even a dream you might never start. In order to make every piece of writing the best it could be, the writer should be inspired to express their ideas to connect with the reader. As Dale Carnegie said, “To be interesting, be interested.”
The writer should be inspired to express their ideas to connect with the reader
How to find the motivation to write
The art of writing has techniques that not only help you stay motivated to continue but also have fun while doing it. This article outlines three effective ways that can help any writer to have the motivation to put their ideas into paper and form a habit of writing spontaneously.
- Find a purpose
- Implement a carrot and stick method
- Have a Plan and Be Organized
Find a purpose of why you are writing
In psychology, there are two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. People who have intrinsic motivation are not driven by the rewards but instead, have an innate desire to accomplish a task. Intrinsic motivation usually lasts for a long time and are driven by three internal factors:
- Autonomy: the feeling of having full control over your life
- Relatedness: crave for connection to other people
- Competence: the ability to do your work with an above-average level of success
For example, when Jamie goes to programming lessons every Tuesday not because he has to add that skill to get a job but because he likes it, he has an intrinsic motivation to learn to program.
Intrinsic motivation is a very powerful factor when it comes to writing. This is because you naturally enjoy it and get enjoyment from doing it. Where do you get intrinsic motivation? Intrinsic motivation can simply come from finding your purpose.
Intrinsic motivation comes from finding your purpose
- Do you want to write to inform, entertain, or immerse your audience in an experience in order to inspire action?
- What are you naturally inclined to? — According to the Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, natural inclinations are the things you tend to do and seek enjoyment from. More often than not, you will find yourself better in those activities and easier for you to write about them.
Implement a carrot and stick method
Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is driven by external factors such as rewards and punishments. If Jamie went to programming class as leverage for getting a pay raise, he is extrinsically motivated by money (a reward). Other examples include writing articles with the intent of getting money for paying utilities also classifies as extrinsic motivation.
A psychology paper by Carole Sansone and Judith M. Harackiewicz shows that extrinsic factors such as money can increase the likelihood that people will attempt to self-regulate interest (intentionally make an uninteresting activity more interesting).
By rewarding yourself each time after writing a page, chapter or article, you condition yourself to form a habit of writing
By rewarding yourself each time after writing a page, chapter or article, you condition yourself to form a habit of writing by associating the reward that you crave (money, positive feedback, or authority) to the action of writing.
Take Note: money is a tangible reward and is not as effective as internal rewards such as positive feedback from peers which fuel your purpose.
Have a plan and be organized
Having an organized schedule is one of the most powerful ways of gaining the motivation to write as it lets you visualize your success.
For example, by making a personal Key Performance Indicator (K.P.I) that tracks your goals for the month, you can know if your goals are too trivial or too ambitious. Your K.P.I should be goal and progress-oriented, i.e. have a quantitative measure of success. An example could be 20 articles, 500 views, and 40% follower gain for the month of May.
Another scheduling tactic is setting an upload or chapter completion target. This could be pumping out an article daily at 2 PM which gives you the motivation of not letting your readers down. If you set such a schedule and not adhere to it, your current and potential audience will see you as unproductive.
Final thoughts on Writing
The guidelines above are contingent on how much you want them to work and are not to be used in isolation. That said, keep in mind that the first step to writing comes from within and if you do not feel confident in yourself, my advice is just sit down and write anything. Writing anything is the first step of getting you into the habit and feedback that comes thereafter will help you grow and build your self-esteem.
I hope the tips above guide you on how you can keep your literary fire burning through your whole writing journey.
Sansone, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (Eds.). (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance. Elsevier.