Get Off Your Duff! 8 Simple Ways to Kick-Start Your Motivation

Donna FasanoEven the King of Just-Do-It, Tony Robbins, must have days where he feels unmotivated. It’s only natural to find yourself in a slump, every now and then — suffering through days where you just don’t feel like doing anything productive. If you find yourself feeling this way, take heart. You’re not alone. I’ve felt the same way. I have found that, if I allow one day to pass where I don’t write, it easily turns into two, and then three. But I have found a few ways to kick-start my motivation. I hope these suggestions help you get off your duff and get moving in the right direction.

1. Stir Your Inspiration – The best way I have found to find inspiration as a writer is to read good books. When I get lost in a great story, I always find myself wanting to create stories and characters of my own. Reading good books is never a waste of time for writers.

2. Daydream – As a writer, I spend a lot of time in my head, visiting my characters, my plot, my story location. Daydreaming about your book is a wonderful way to churn up the kind of excitement you need to finish that first draft.

3. Make Lists – I don’t know about you, but I am always more productive when I make a To-Do List and check off the items as I accomplish each goal.

4. Find Support – Finding a group of like-minded authors that you trust is important when you’re in need of motivation. Challenge each other to reach the day’s goals and hold each other accountable. Taking a razzing from your author friends might be the push you need to get those pages written.

5. Keep Your Duff in the Chair – I have found this is half the battle. If I force myself to sit at my desk, even if I’m not feeling motivated, I will eventually begin to write. Persistence really is key to being productive.

6. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time – Break any chore down into small jobs. Don’t say, “I’m going to write a chapter.” Don’t even say, “I’m going to write a scene.” Do say, “I’m going to write one page.” Once you write that one page, you can build on that small success and confidently dive into the second.

7. Focus on the Goal, not the Difficulty – Become very aware of your thoughts. Do not allow yourself to think negatively. This is so hard! I’ll never finish this book! These thoughts will only further squash your creativity and your motivation. Instead, ponder how good you’ll feel when you finish that one page, that one scene, that one chapter. Think about how wonderful it will be when you complete that book, when you upload it for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks. Think about how great it will be to read those 5-star reviews.

8. Celebrate Your Creativity – Writing is hard work, there’s no doubt about it. Give yourself a pat on the back when you reach a goal. You’ve earned the right to feel good about what you’ve accomplished. But don’t party too hard or too long. Remember, there are always more pages to be written.

Motivation is like the great ocean tide; it swells and ebbs. Take full advantage of those times when your excitement to work is strong. Get those pages written! But when the inclination to create seems nowhere to be found, I hope you’ll re-read the list above, get off your duff, and kick-start your motivation!


Ten+Brides+for+Ten+Heroes600USA TODAY bestselling author Donna Fasano has written over 30 women’s fiction and romance novels. Her books have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide. Find out more about her at her blog and check her out on Amazon Author Central.

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32 thoughts on “Get Off Your Duff! 8 Simple Ways to Kick-Start Your Motivation”

  1. I’m so confused. Doesn’t #5 contradict the heading? 🙂

    Great ideas. I’ve found all of these of help in the past. They help in all walks of life, not just writing. I especially like to combine #3 and #5. Breaking down a big task into a list of smaller tasks and then crossing items off the lists gives a boost to motivation because it’s easier to see you’re making progress. I also find that if I’m not feeling in the mood or inspired to work on a task that was in progress that having a readily available list of alternative tasks makes me less likely to blow off doing anything and instead work on something that fits my mood of the moment instead which keeps overall momentum on the project moving.

    1. BigAl, it isn’t the first time I’ve contradicted myself…and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 😀 And that’s great advice about having alternative tasks on hand. That would certainly ensure productivity.

  2. Great list. I find daydreaming to be quite helpful, especially in breaking an impasse. How many authors get inspired just as they fall asleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night? I know I do, and daydreaming/napping allows me to capture some of that creativity without necessarily turning me into a zombie the next day.

    1. I always keep paper and pencil on my bedside table. If I don’t write down those middle-of-the-night thoughts, I lose them.

  3. Focus on the goal – I’m trying now. Have been so focussed lately on what is preventing me from spending the time to write, I’ve not written much of anything. I will keep my eyes on the prize and just do it, even if ‘time’ is only a few minutes. Thanks, Donna.

    1. Promise yourself you’ll write at least a little bit each day. Your talent and creative spirit are worth the effort, Julie.

  4. Thanks for this list, Donna. It’s very timely for me. #5 and #6 combined are the “first step” in the actual writing journey for me, although they are often overlaid with the day dreaming part… 😀

  5. Very nice post. All constructive and doable. Breaking it down to baby steps. Something we can all use on a daily basis. Positive reinforcement! Thank you Donna. Happy writing & day dreaming 😉

  6. Excellent post, Donna, of course I know all those items on your list but it certainly never hurts to be reminded… and given a friendly kick in the butt.

  7. Donna – I really enjoyed your blog. Another way I have to get motivated is listen to the RWA tapes that our chapter gets every year from the convention. I usually go for a walk and listen and by the time I get home, I’m raring to get busy.

  8. Great post, Donna, with useful suggestions. I’ve struggled to write recently, not through lack of motivation but from lack of time. I have so many other things to do that often my writing seems to get pushed to the back of the line and I don’t get around to it.

  9. I love this Donna – never thought about eating that elephant one bite at a time. Gave me a chuckle. Yes, writing can be a daunting business, but if you want this bad enough, Go for it! Don’t let anyone say you can’t!

    1. Absolutely! Ejecting nay-sayers from your life falls under the “stay positive” category, and it’s essential! Thanks for stopping by, Patrice.

  10. Yes, yes, yes! And if all else fails, keep a box of your favorite chocolates on your desk. That should anchor you in place for a while–or at least give you comfort while you’re ruminating and writing!

    Thanks for the inspiration, Donna.

  11. Oh, gosh. Here I am at the bottom of the pile again. Donna nailed it, though. I have lived my life with To-Do lists. Donna’s #5 works! Sometimes my fingers engage the keyboard before my brain catches up! Stellar advice.

  12. Great advice, Donna. I like lists. I like crossing things off when they are done. For me, point 7 is the most important – focus on the goal,not the difficulty. That’s something I forget and once I start thinking about how the middle bit is all wrong or soemthing else isn’t working I can give up very easily. So between focussing on the goal and not letting myself leave my desk until I’ve written a page I might manage to keep going.

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