Lack of writing motivation is one of the biggest silent killers of creativity. I say “silent” because so many writers don’t talk about this issue, and that’s because a lot of us feel deep shame when we can’t get motivated. It’s very common for writers to suffer from this problem and blame themselves, and it’s hard to reach out for help or find support when you’re in a shame spiral about a lack of motivation.
When most of us experience lack of motivation, we usually assume that we’re being “lazy.” Or that we’re not that creative and that inspiration is something we might never see again. However, this is absolutely not true. Lack of motivation is something we can rarely control, and without outside support, it can feel impossible to move past.
I get emails and messages from aspiring writers all the time asking me for the one thing they should know, or the one thing they should do, in order to be a successful writer. Well, there’s never just “one thing,” but I’ve taken all my very best writing advice and distilled it down into five things that will help any aspiring writer along on their way to success.
Stop Trying to Control Everything
This is a big one. Writers are anxious people and we like control. It makes us feel safe and like we can anticipate the problems lying in wait for us and come up with solutions for them before they’ve even come to pass. But no matter how much we plan things out in our head, we can’t predict the future, and we definitely can’t predict the exact details of how our creative work will turn out once it’s out of our heads and down on the page.
The best thing you can do for yourself is let go. Don’t be so attached to your outline, the order in which you write your story, how you think your characters should act, and whether or not you’re hitting every point of the Hero’s Journey. Those things are fun to play around with and they can be helpful, but don’t try to use them as control mechanisms to the point where you strangle your story.