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May 4, 2022

            If you look back at some of my articles, you’ll see that I’ve either talked directly about, or talked around these subjects. As I browse the Facebook forums, I see threads almost daily addressing both motivation and discipline in one fashion or other.

            In fact…I was inspired to repeat this article after some recent posts. Plus, it’s great for new subscribers.

            It still boils down to this: Why are you doing this? Why are you writing?


            While you may have started all enthused/motivated and put out a big burst of effort, once you got into the reality of writing, you found that it wasn’t magic. While some struck lightning in a bottle, little ole’ you could never catch a break.

            Your friends or even frenemies who write that “crappy stuff” got all the luck and got the big deals, or made the big sales.

            You, on the other hand, had to sit back and could barely make anyone notice.

            It burns you up.

            Why should you bother? Why should you continue on?


            Before we even get to the publishing stage, you get that fantastic idea, you start to write, but get stuck. Or, you just run out of steam.

            For others, it flows out. They can sit down any time and slam it out, page-after-page, lay down their ideas and worry about cleaning it up later.

            Some have to pick apart each page as they go. It takes them forever to crawl out a single chapter because they have to make it perfect before they go on. For many, this means losing sight of what you started to write in the first place.

            Some of you procrastinate. You’re burning with ideas, maybe even write furious notes. However, on the execution, everything falls apart. You’ll get to it tomorrow. Then the next day, then the next, then the next until it never gets done.

            At the same time, your bud has already moved on to the second or third book.


            I’ve mentioned this numerous times not only here, but in the forums. It’s one of my mantras. Is writing a hobby, a torture, or a passion? If it’s the first two, I suggest you find something else to do.

            If it’s a passion, but you still have certain of those personality quirks that hold you back, you have to think about why you’re writing this particular “masterpiece” in the first place.

            However, forgetting why you’re writing, and speaking strictly of motivation, you started a novel.


            What’s the point?

            Regardless of why you’re doing it, you have to think of why you should finish it. If you have no compelling reason to do so, don’t! Move on. However, if you DO have a compelling reason to complete this novel, think about it and focus on that as your motivation.

            Why have you slowed down or stopped writing?

            Has life got in the way?

            Has the inspiration stopped?

            Have you hit a writing roadblock – did you write yourself into a corner?

            Think about what you originally wanted to accomplish with this project. If you still get excited about it, there’s your motivation.

            If you aren’t excited about it, or if you dread it…or if it don’t feel right, stop and figure what went wrong and fix it. If that doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to abandon the project and start another one. Let this thing sit for another time when the muse may strike again.

            If you have no motivation, it’ll never get done.

            Jealousy of someone else’s success isn’t motivation.

            Motivation is believing you have something great and working for it. Anything less will get you less.


            For some, procrastination is natural. Getting it done tomorrow is normal, except tomorrow never comes and what may have started in a great burst of energy stays half done, or with some, never gets started.

            Discipline is setting up a time and place and sticking to it. A schedule, if need be. Some writers cannot work that way. I’m one of them. I write when I write. Period. No schedule. That doesn’t mean I don’t get anything done, because I do. I write when I feel like it, which is pretty much all the time. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always writing on my current novel, because I write lots of other stuff at the same time. I get to the novel when I have a mind, and I make significant progress. I have no problem with either motivation or discipline.

            For some of you, you NEED discipline because you’re not inclined to stick with things as well as I do.

            Set a schedule and stick to it. This means sit down at a certain time and do something. I don’t necessarily mean write so-and-so many pages a day. That’s too restrictive and rigid. While that might work for some people, what I recommend is that you sit down and do something creative with your story. It might be a few pages, it might be a chapter. It might be research. It might be re-reading a portion, or checking continuity somewhere.

            Discipline means working on the project on a regular basis.

            Little-by-little, the work will get dun didded!


            Nobody can make your luck for you except you. The first step it to actually complete something. The second step is to never give up. Motivation and discipline.

            Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2022 3:23 am

    Great points. We seem to think that future-us is some miracle worker who’ll achieve all the goals we’ve set down to achieve. Only our future-us is exactly like present-us, just older. So if we don’t do what we need to do today, it’s not going to happen. Anyway, thanks for this post!

  2. May 6, 2022 1:07 am

    Yup, and thanks so much for the feedback, Stuart. There are plenty of people that never get anything done!

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