The Anxious Author

How to Write When You Feel Unmotivated – The Anxious Author

I spend a little more time on Facebook than I should. Procrastination is a real pain in the behind. But it does mean I get to socialise with other writers in writers’ groups and chat writing with other people. It’s nice not to feel so alone in your journey, sometimes. Especially during the times you’re wondering if you’re cut out to be an author.

The question I see a lot in these groups, especially from people who have just decided that they want to write for a living is: how do you write when you have no motivation? You’ll see lots of people chiming in, in an attempt to be helpful, encouraging these motivation seekers to read, listen to music or go for a walk to get the motivation they need to write.

These suggestions are great ideas to encourage your muse to come out of its hidey hole and play ball. But it’s not necessarily the best advice to get words on the page. If we all needed to be motivated to go and do our jobs, we would be fired pretty quickly. I, for one, only really feel truly motivated to do my day job for maybe a few weeks a year but that doesn’t mean I don’t work my butt of when I’m doing it.

To become a full-time author, we need to be able to write whenever and wherever to meet those deadlines. Our fans are waiting, after all!

This problem affects lots of authors but anxious authors can suffer a little more than others. The feelings of not being motivated can spiral into feelings of inadequacy when the word counts are low. The curse of being a creative.

So how do we write if we have no motivation? When we’re sitting at our desks, sluggish and wishing someone would pay us to play the Nintendo Switch for the day. The words won’t come, no matter how much coffee we drink.

The only way I became able to write unmotivated was to accept one thing: it isn’t going to be easy but I will do it anyway. The steps at least, are easy to follow. Here’s what I do:

  • Turn off the internet.
  • Put my phone in another room.
  • Surround myself with snacks and drinks (so I won’t be tempted to leave my desk to get them later)
  • Get my husband to hide the TV remote.
  • Don’t get up from the chair.

If we are completely unmotivated, we will try every way to distract ourselves from being productive. By removing everything that distracts us, we give our brains nothing to focus on but the task at hand.

For me, it will take ten minutes to half an hour of struggling to get words down but at some point, my brain figures out that it’s time to work and it will start to focus. Like an unruly child still learning boundaries, we just have to make it clear to ourselves that this is what we need to do and we’re going to do it, no matter what.

It’s not an easy task wrestling with your brain but the productivity you’ll achieve will be worth it when you finally break your glass ceiling. Power through and you’ll do away with the notion of motivation altogether.

Thanks for reading! If you are an anxious author with a specific fear or anxiety, get in touch and I’ll cover it in one of my future posts! Also don’t forget to check out the other posts in The Anxious Author series.


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