50 Ways to Get Inspired to Write Every Single Day
Ugh, it happened again.
Another week or month has passed, and you’ve made zero progress on your writing goals.
Deep down you know your writing is important, but you can’t take consistent action.
What’s really going on here?
The truth is, you don’t feel inspired.
You can’t help but marvel at other writers who do persist and have a large body of work you can’t even fathom achieving.
How do you get there?
How do you find the inspiration you need to stay the course long enough to become the prolific, popular, and successful writer you dream of becoming?
The Dirty Little Lie You Tell Yourself About Inspiration
If you’re struggling to find inspiration, you might be guilty of “believing in magic” when it comes to your writing career.
People who fail to do the things they say they want to do believe in fairy tales, like this one:
One day, for no reason whatsoever, I will find the ultimate source of inspiration that will carry me through to the end of the writing career rainbow. It will happen in an instant, and I’ll never have to “start over” again.
They believe successful writers have “made it,” and have no problem staying motivated because they’ve “arrived.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Regardless of how successful you are, there will be days you feel uninspired. In fact, what once seemed like a passion-filled calling can turn into a bit of a slog after a while.
Professional athletes love the game, but they don’t necessarily want to train their bodies every single day.
Business owners love money and recognition, but they don’t necessarily enjoy the process of getting their business off the ground.
You love expressing yourself with words, but you won’t necessarily enjoy each and every writing session.
You have to learn to inspire yourself every day if you want to turn pro and become a popular author or successful writer. To keep your inspiration fresh, you’ll have to find various unique ways to get inspired.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
Fortunately, I have 50 powerful ideas for writers — use them whenever you’re struggling to turn intention into action.
So here’s how to get inspired to write.
1. Do the One Thing They Always Tell Writers Not to Do
Watch T.V. Some of the best writing in the world can be seen in the scripts of your favorite shows. Pay attention to the dialogue, listen for the clever storytelling methods, and use them in your own writing.
Use the ideas of the show creator and the personalities of the characters to get inspired. Think about what goes through Don Draper’s mind when he writes an ad on Mad Men or the way Carrie Bradshaw wove her own life into her daily column on Sex and the City.
Once I paid attention to the writing in my favorite shows, I drew inspiration from the stories and turned a seemingly useless activity into creative fuel.
2. Read Your Old Love Letters
If you’ve been writing for a while, you must have gotten a compliment or two about your work. Keep a file with positive comments you’ve received about your writing. Whether they’re emails or blog comments, reading over compliments you received and hearing how you’ve helped people will motivate you.
3. Embrace Your Insignificance
Realize the universe doesn’t care about you. Oftentimes, we lack inspiration because of fear. We’re afraid because we feel like the world is waiting for us to fail, like there’s a spotlight shining on our inadequacy. We live on a planet that’s one of billions of planets in one of billions of galaxies, each of which contains billions of stars.
In the grand scheme of things, you’re insignificant. Nothing you do “matters,” except that it matters to you. Go for it, because you have nothing to lose.
4. Make the Subtle Shift from Goal-Setting to Habit-Forming
Goals give you inspiration by providing an endpoint, but habits weave inspiration into the core of your being and make it automatic.
Instead of saying, “I want to finish my manuscript,” say “I want to write 30 minutes per day.” The second statement comes without the pressure of expectation. You’re just putting yourself in a position for continual inspiration.
Habits trump goals every time. The most prolific writers aren’t the most goal-oriented. They’re built to show up every day and do the work.
5. Tell Yourself You’re Not Good Enough
I once heard a story about a successful real estate agent who was constantly asked about how to break into the industry. He gave them all the same answer, “Don’t get into real estate. You’re not cut out for it.” He gave that answer because he knows it acted as reverse psychology for those who were cut out for it, and filtered out those that weren’t.
Try a little reverse psychology on yourself. Try to convince yourself you’re not good enough, and then get offended. Of course, you’re good enough! You were born to write. Trick yourself to put a fire in your belly and get inspired.
6. Start a Chain Gang
Buy a calendar. Mark an x on the calendar each time you complete a writing session. When you complete a few days in a row, the x’s start to form a chain. The longer the chain grows, the more inspired you are to keep writing. Picture a calendar with 29 days marked off. You’d almost certainly write on day 30, right?
Visuals and imagery are powerful. Seeing a representation of the work you put in will inspire you to keep working.
7. Become the G.O.A.T.
Focus on becoming so great you can’t be ignored.
Most writers are worried about what the competition is doing and idolize their favorite writers. Instead, you’ll focus on being so good the competition will start to watch you. Embrace the attitude of Michael Jordan in his first few seasons. He knew the league was going to belong to him before it actually did. He put his head down, did the work, and demolished the competition to become the Greatest of All Time. You can be the same.
Put your head down, write, and one day people will say “Who is this?”
8. Take a Dump
Have a bowel movement. I first learned this unusual writing tip from James Altucher. He says if your body isn’t “clear,” your mind won’t be either. You may also come up with some interesting ideas while you’re, erm, indisposed.
9. Embrace Your Inner Hulk
Get angry. Anger is easy to express. When you’re angry you know exactly why something pisses you off. What pisses you off about the world, your niche, or life in general? Vent your frustrations and your words will pour out.
10. Become a Better Writer Without Becoming a Better Writer
Have you ever seen a professional athlete who’s in a slump? Nothing about his routine changes, he plays with the same quality teammates, and the team is run by the same coaching staff. Later, you find out he was having personal issues and that was the source of his decline.
Look at Tiger Woods. He never recovered from his personal scandal. What does that tell you? It tells you life outside your craft is just as important as practicing it, if not more.
Think about how many aspects of your life can affect your writing. Your diet, exercise routine (or lack thereof), relationships with friends and family, and stress level are a few among many factors influencing your writing. When you lack inspiration for writing, look at other areas of your life. If those aren’t going well, your writing will suffer.
11. Make It Impossible to Edit While You Write
Write with the monitor off or with white text. This is the definition of writing a crappy first draft. When you can’t even look at the words on the screen, you won’t be able to enter into self-editing hell while you’re writing. You’ll let loose and write with reckless abandon. Afterward, you can clean up the carnage and make it pretty.
12. Imagine Your Worst-Case Scenario
Think about the worst-case scenario in terms of your writing career and decide you can handle it. Fortunately, the negative consequences are more emotional than tangible or financial in terms of things like writing a book. At the very least, you’re out of a small investment and your ego will get a little dent. You can’t sell negative books. Your worst pain will be the feeling of rejection. Although rejection is a tough pill to swallow, you face bigger dangers in life without fail, like getting in a car and driving it, without batting an eye.
13. Start Acting Like a Child
What advice would a five-year-old give you about your writing? Would they tell you to focus hard, create solid outlines, and hit your daily word count? No. They’d tell you to have fun.
Remember fun? When you were a child, you only cared about exploration. You didn’t waste time worrying about the future. The present was all you knew. I get it. You have “big dreams,” but if you take yourself too seriously, writing will get rote.
If you’re feeling stuck trying to edit your manuscript, write something ridiculous. Write something totally unrelated to your niche for pure fun with no intention of publishing it. Act like a child and watch your curiosity and creativity flourish.
14. Dumb It Down
Stop trying to sound smart. Once you realize you don’t have to write with tons of flowery language and words that could be replaced with simpler words, writing gets easier. People enjoy straightforward writing better anyway.
15. Make Money Your Muse
Take writing jobs as a freelancer if you’re looking to get writing without having to come up with your own blog post ideas. As a freelancer, you’ll work within the guidelines of what your client wants. This offers the benefit of making money, plus you’ll develop a writing habit along the way.
16. Use your 9-to-5 to Fuel Your 5-to-9
Scott Adams, most known for his cartoon strip Dilbert, used real-life experiences from his job as inspiration for his work. Charles Bukowski wrote a novel loosely based on his own experiences as a post office employee. Even mundane jobs like these can inspire you to write something interesting about them. Some say you should write what you know. What do you know better than the activity you perform 40 hours per week?
17. Discover the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Create an immaculate space for your writing. A cluttered environment clutters the mind. When you’re in a clean space, you can feel it. That feeling can translate into a calm and focused state of mind while writing.
18. Don’t Believe the Myth
Remember this phrase from Jerry Seinfeld: “Writer’s block is just a made-up excuse for not doing your work.”
19. Sign Your Life Away
Create a contract with yourself. Make an actual signed document stating what you’re going to accomplish with your writing and place it somewhere prominent.
Imagine you’re sitting down to write and you look up to see an agreement you made with yourself, not just mentally, but physically. Wouldn’t that inspire you to hold to your commitment?
These little “nudges” might seem trivial on their own, but combining them changes your environment and makes it more conducive to productivity and creativity.
20. Make Your Writing Career a Family Affair
Communicate your goals with your family and friends. Writing takes up time, and if you’re not clear about your intentions, your spouse or loved ones can start to resent and even become jealous of your writing. Let them know it’s important to you, set boundaries for when you’ll write, and when you’re not writing make sure you’re 100 percent off, meaning you’re spending time with the people you love and not in your head.
21. Get Meta
Write about how you feel about your writing. One of the most successful posts I’ve ever written talked about my struggles with writing. It was meant to be a venting session, but I realized it was worth sharing. Like anger, frustration leads to expression.
22. Converse to Create
If you listen carefully, the conversations you have with other people can inspire you to take something they’ve said and run with it. Listen intently, and see if there’s anything in your dialogue that sparks interest or could be used as a writing topic. Cormac McCarthy said he used actual conversations with his son in the bestselling novel The Road.
23. When Inspiration Fails, Try Desperation
Turn your pain into passion. If you feel the dull monotony of sitting in a cubicle every day pushing papers, working in a factory on the assembly line, or any other job that isn’t being a full-time writer, use that desperation as fuel. Sometimes inspiration isn’t enough. Sometimes you have to get fed up to do the work.
24. Create to Connect
It’s easy to get caught up in numbers — how many subscribers you have, how many views your website gets per month, and how many comments you receive — but remember, you’re writing for real people.
Even if you have just a few readers, get to know them. Send out an email to your tribe telling them they can each get 15 minutes on the phone with you to talk shop. Add prompts to your blog posts to encourage readers to share their lives with you.
When you create with the intention of connecting with other human beings, it inspires you to work that much harder, because you can feel the person on the other end of the screen.
25. Become the CEO of You, Inc.
Come up with a name for your publishing company. Perhaps you don’t have to go as far as creating an LLC, but do something to establish what you do as an actual career and not just a hobby. If it means spending $25 to get business cards printed, so be it. Something in your mind has to transition into feeling and acting like a pro.
26. Don’t Follow in the Footsteps of Great Writers
Let go of your need to be the next great author. When you compare yourself to the likes of Hemingway, Plath, or Murakami, it’s hard not to get discouraged about your own writing. Focus on becoming the best writer you can be. There are plenty of successful — and financially independent — writers who aren’t legends but are pretty damn good. Become pretty damn good.
27. Do the Math
Remind yourself: each time you sit down to write you’re ahead of 99 percent of other aspiring writers. Most people do nothing. They talk, wish, and wonder. The mere fact that your fingers are touching that keyboard makes you special.
Inspire yourself by reminding yourself you’re part of an exclusive club — the doers. I get inspired when I realize the steps I’ve already made go way beyond those of most people. Once your foot is in the door, step all the way through.
28. Answer Random Questions from Total Strangers
Answer questions on Quora. Users on Quora ask questions about topics ranging from personal development to health to what Kim Kardashian’s favorite color is. Other users on Quora answer these questions. Many authors and bloggers use Quora to practice their writing by answering questions. You’re also allowed to leave links in your Quora responses, and many people drive traffic back to their websites through using Quora.
30. Get Zen, Then Pen
I meditate for 20 minutes every morning before I write. When you wake up, you usually start the day feeling anxious. The practice of meditation helps relieve stress and clears your mind of negative thoughts. You’ll feel refreshed before you pen your first word.
The headspace app comes with a series of guided meditations you can use to start fresh every day.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has a great introductory post on how to form a daily meditation habit. He also happens to be one of the most prolific and successful bloggers in the world. Coincidence? I think not.
30. Choose Quantity Over Quality
Write ten ideas per day around your writing. They could be ideas for new blog posts, book titles, and book sections or chapters. By the end of the year, you’ll have 3,650 ideas. Most of them will suck, some will be good, and a few will be amazing. Your creative muscles will be strong, and you’ll have endless material to write about.
31. Teach an Old Draft New Tricks
Revise an old piece of writing. This has a two-fold benefit. First, you’ll realize how much you’ve grown since writing that piece, which will give you the confidence to know you’ll improve in the future. Second, if you really add some beef to it, you’ll have a brand new piece of writing to share with the world.
32. Surround Yourself with Great Work
I once visited an art museum that had a photography section. It was filled with famous photos of famous people by famous photographers. I lost complete track of time and was immersed in the photos. When I left the display, I felt almost dizzy. That day, I went home and wrote a couple thousand words in a way that seemed effortless. Seeing great art in other forms can inspire you to create great work yourself.
Visit a gallery, go to an opera, or watch a play. Feel the passion and inspiration from the artists you just watched, and use it in your own writing.
33. Put a Pot of Gold at the End of Your Rainbow
Setting goals doesn’t often work. The reason why they don’t work is that we don’t like to work! We want results. It’s why workout DVDs are called Beach Body or Six Pack Abs in Six Weeks instead of Exercise Regimen for your Core. You know you’ll have to do the work, but the results are what compel you to get started.
Create statements around the rewards you’ll reap from your writing and the results you want, e.g., “Writing my book will give me the money, attention, and sense of accomplishment I’ve always longed for. ” When you think of setting goals and building habits in terms of the rewards they’ll afford you, you’re more likely to follow through.
34. Drink Rocket Fuel to Skyrocket Your Inspiration
Drink coffee. Coffee has fueled the creative inspiration of writers for centuries. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to write well without it.
35. Journey into the Wild
Go for a walk in nature. There’s an odd connection between walking and inspiration. There’s something about wandering about that stirs up random thoughts in your mind. Ideas come to you when you aren’t so focused on them. A walk in nature will distract you with its beauty enough to make room for the muse to sneak up on you.
36. Switch Your Scenery
Imagine you’re lying back in a hammock in Bali. You’re surrounded by warm weather and a fresh breeze with a coconut by your side to sip on. You also have your laptop on your lap. That sounds like an inspiring environment to me.
There has long been a link between travel and writing. Seeing new parts of the world is inspiring in and of itself, plus it will surely give you new material to write about as well. And even if you can’t make a physical trip, just spending a few minutes visualizing an exotic destination can provide valuable writing inspiration.
37. Devour People’s Brains
Read. Read. Read. You can’t be a great writer without being a great reader. Read a wide range of material. If you write non-fiction, sprinkle some fiction into your reading and vice versa. Reading widely opens new doors in your brain and helps you make odd connections between ideas.
A few months back, I finished my third book. I pulled and wove in ideas from billionaires, dead Roman emperors, and Harvard psychologists. I didn’t go searching for the information. I conjured it from the recesses of my mind while writing, because I’ve read 100 plus books in the past five years. It’s like Neo in the Matrix where he “downloads” the ability to fight in Kung Fu style.
With reading, you can “download” hundreds or thousands of years of human experience and use it at your disposal.
38. Write in This Insanely Inspiring Environment
Write in a bookstore. Writing in an environment surrounded with words is inspiring. Go to your favorite section and browse the titles. Seeing the names on book covers will cause you to picture your name on your first or next book, and you’ll be ready to pen your masterpiece.
39. Put a Gun to Your Head
I submit guest post pitches to various blogs before I feel ready to write them. Once my pitches get accepted, I can’t quit. As you know, it’s a big no-no to flake on a guest blog owner, and I’d never want to ruin my reputation. Finding situations that force your hand can keep you from sitting on the fence.
40. Search for Instant Inspiration
A quick Google search can give you inspiration by spoon-feeding you endless ideas for your writing. If you’re stuck on a topic to write about, do a search about your subject and run with the results. You don’t have to come up with new ideas by yourself all the time. You don’t even have to use the ideas you find to create a finished result.
The process could serve the purpose of getting your fingers moving, which is the most important step.
41. Chase the Muse
Inspiration can be tricky to capture.
To maximize your chances of spotting the muse, come up with clever traps. For example, you can come up with a writing problem you’re trying to solve right before bed, let it stir in your subconscious mind while you sleep, and wake yourself up in the middle of the night and jot down what comes to mind in your hazy subconscious state. You can set prompts on your phone to randomly write whatever comes to mind at the exact time.
Carry a pen and paper with you everywhere you go to capture ideas as they come. It seems mechanical, but careful planning can inspire you to create more.
42. Star in Your Own Montage
Visualize yourself putting in the work it takes to become a great writer. Visualizing the type of outcome you want is effective, but visualizing becoming the type of person capable of achieving those outcomes is even more powerful. Take a few minutes every day and visualize yourself being in a state of flow and writing effortlessly.
It’s like picturing yourself hitting the game-winning shot. If you can see it, you can believe it.
43. Find a Tango Partner
Find a writing partner to keep you accountable. Working with someone who’s “in the trenches” like you will help both of you inspire each other. There’s strength in numbers.
44. Find Inspiration in Your Rear-view Mirror
We’ve all had moments in life we cherish. Why not use those moments as inspiration for your writing? If you’re feeling stuck, try to remember an amazing moment in your life — time spent with your children, a vacation you went on, your wedding day — and write about that. The moment will inspire you to write because the moment itself is inspiring. If it was a pivotal moment in your life, you can recall how you felt and what the atmosphere was like.
45. Eviscerate Your Excuses
Find examples to eliminate your excuses. My blogging mentor and world-renown blogging expert, Jon Morrow, isn’t able to use his hands, and has written blog posts read by millions. Stephen Hawking moves his cheek muscles to write. You have writer’s block? Boohoo.
If seeing examples of people with legitimate obstacles thriving at what you do doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. You’ve been blessed in one way or another. Regardless of what you don’t have, you have something someone else would kill for. Be grateful and use your gratitude as a well of inspiration to create.
46. Join a Local Gang
If one partner isn’t enough, you can join groups of writers to increase the effectiveness of group support. I’m part of a local writers’ club where we meet in person, and I’m a member of an online community of writers. We share insights and tips, and keep each other motivated.
47. Fake Your Own Death
Write your obituary. This exercise provides a two-fold benefit. First, you’re putting words on the page. Second, you’re thinking about the type of legacy you want to leave. My guess is you want “renown writer,” or at least “writer,” somewhere in the description. It will remind you of your ultimate mission and the fact you’ll regret it if you fail to follow through.
As best-selling author Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”
48. Tune In to Tune Out Writer’s Block
Listening to music boosts your effectiveness in many areas such as exercise. It’s also a great tool to inspire your writing, as long as you don’t make it a distraction. Some writers have been known to play the same song on repeat while they write, saying it gives them a calming sense and the music fades to the background while they write.
Music has been known to “set the mood” in more ways than one. Pick an inspiring song and let it inspire you to write.
49. Let Your Fingers Do the Talking
Get your fingers moving. The act of typing itself can lead to a flow state and productive writing. Sometimes, I’ll start a blog post by typing “I don’t know what to write about,” just to get my fingers moving. The staring at the blank page without typing contributes to writer’s block.
50. Get Back in Touch with Your “Why”
Remember your why. Did you get into writing because you wanted to improve people’s lives? Do you have interesting stories to share? Do you want to entertain people? Go back to the source of inspiration that made you want to write in the first place. Revisit it often.
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