It’s easy to be motivated when you are getting paid to do something. It’s the motivation of, “If I do work, I will receive money that I can spend on the things I want/need.” It’s why most of us get up and go to work every day.

But when you’re not getting paid to do something (such as a hobby or a creative passion), it’s a whole lot harder to force yourself to continue working when your motivation wanes. This is something I have no doubt EVERY writer in the world has experienced.

No one is paying you to complete that novel or short story. You are writing it in the hopes of earning some money from it, but it’s not like you are being held to the same kind of deadline as you would if you were a doctor or an accountant. When you find yourself unmotivated, it’s all that much harder to push yourself to finish that story or work through your writer’s block.

Being a writer has taught me the importance of self-motivation. Even as I am writing this, there is a small part of my mind dreading the time that I will sit down and work on my The Last Bucelarii book this afternoon. With Book 1: Blade of the Destroyer still waiting to be published, there is very little motivation for me to continue working on the rough draft of Book 3 in that series. With no tangible rewards or results to push me to do more, it’s tough to motivate myself.

But that’s why it’s so important for writers (and everyone, really) to learn how to self-motivate. I have set myself a schedule of a certain word count to write this afternoon, and I have a weekly and monthly goal. In order to meet that goal, I have to push myself to work. Those goals were set at a time when I wasn’t discouraged or dreading the writing, and they keep me going when I am in that funk. It’s the self-motivation that makes it possible for me to do what I do.

To be a writer, an artist, or any sort of creative person, you need to learn to kick your own butt. When you are dreading that task you know you should do but really don’t want to, that’s when your self-motivation will come into play.

What do you do to ensure that you keep working when you’re not motivated? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom!