4 tips for staying motivated on lengthy writing assignments

4 Tips for Staying Motivated on Lengthy Writing Assignments

You’d think loving writing, the joy of seeing a finished sentence, paragraph or page, would be enough to keep us motivated. But many writers struggle to keep motivation to write. Try these 7 strategies to set goals, establish good habits and finish your story:

1. Set attainable goals

Because writing a book is a mid- to long-term project, it’s easy to focus on the end goal (getting published, making your first sale) before you’ve taken the first steps.

While big picture goals are important, short-term ‘small wins’ are key to staying motivated. An athlete has to learn to enjoy the many small wins in training sessions on the road to the Olympics, not only the main event.

Set yourself short-term targets such as:

As this article on the psychology of motivation at Alleydog reminds us, motivation is ‘is defined as … desire and action towards goal-directed behavior.’ So make sure you follow through on your desire to write a book with small goals – such as writing for 15 minutes every day – with action.

2. Stay curious

A new idea has the shiny, alluring spark to make us curious, so that we want to know more. We’re motivated by its mystique and sense of untapped possibility.

It’s easy in the creative cycle to get stuck on creating new ideas and become demotivated, then chase after a new idea. It’s a familiar path when that initial luster wears off.

To keep motivated as you write, keep asking questions. Curiosity is an intrinsic (internal) motivation that successful authors are able to sustain. Ask questions such as:

  • Why did my character say that?
  • What does my character want more than anything in the world?
  • Where will the next scene take place and why?

If you find developing a story idea challenging, try the simple, easy step-by-step Now Novel dashboard. You’ll build an outline as you answer simple questions and tease out story elements.

3. Establish good writing habits

It’s tempting to tinker away as you write, fixing SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar), beautifying descriptions, and making other tweaks. Yet this instinct to edit also easily becomes procrastination. Driven by a fear of moving forwards into less tidy or perfect creative territory.

It’s not always a question of how to get motivated, but how to stop bad habits that chip away at focus and productivity. Try to foster habits such as:

  • Writing a brief list of what you want to achieve this writing session before you start
  • Writing until you reach a milestone such as a chapter ending before you start tweaking anything
  • Taking breaks at regular intervals (especially to move and get blood flow going)

Many great authors have shared their writing routines in interviews. Their words give insights into the kind of good habit and discipline that keeps creative people productive. For example, Hemingway shared this in an interview for The Paris Review with George Plimpton in 1958:

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.

You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.

Ernest Hemingway in The Art of Fiction No. 21, full interview here.

4 Tips for Staying Motivated on Lengthy Writing Assignments

4. Build on success to keep motivation to write

Building on prior success is a key activity to keep motivation to write. Hemingway alludes to this in the interview above when he says ‘you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.’

What Hemingway describes is a process of becoming vigilant in the process of writing. Knowing where you’re going. When you know it’s a great place to end your writing session for the day, since you have a success (reaching a point of clarity). Pause on a win – use it as a launching pad for your next writing session.

5. Focus on your dream

  • For many now-successful authors, focusing on the dream of telling their story kept them going through publishers’ rejections; through fire, wind and flood.
  • Although attainable goals are crucial (as said above), perseverance through times where goals appear elusive is vital too.
  • Staying positive by focusing on your dream of finishing will bolster motivation. You could:
  • Print out inspiring quotes about the writing process to paste above your writing space
  • Watch illuminating author interviews where authors discuss their own roads to becoming writers
  • Journal your everyday wins, frustrations and learning as your story develops

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6. Create reward incentives

Reward is a powerful motivator. When we know a good thing is coming if we adhere to actions that feel difficult or challenging, we find it easier to create solutions.

Find simple rewards to acknowledge your productive days and writing sessions (or reaching word count targets). When you finish a chapter, listen to a song you love. Take a walk somewhere inspiring. Have a drink or dinner with a friend.

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Scheduling fun and affirmation around your writing process will create the positive cycle of work > achievement > reward that sustains intrinsic motivation.

7. Get objective and supportive help

4 Easy Ways to Stay Motivated While Writing

Whether you’re writing a novel or a simple blog post, staying motivated each day is key to finishing quickly and writing high-quality content. This has been a year of ups and downs for me, and it took me several months to begin my second novel.

But now that I’m fully in the swing of things, I’ve found that there are a few simple ways to stay on track. While DREAMING BIG is my overarching motivator, there are certain day-to-day tactics I use to stay motivated on a day-to-day basis.

1. Write every single day

The quickest way to lose motivation is to stop making progress. If I don’t write one day, I feel guilty, and the increased pressure of writing extra the next day to “make up for lost words” demotivates me even more.

But if I write every single day — even if it’s only 400 words instead of my usual 1K or 1.5K goal, I’ve moved forward in some small way and maintained my momentum.

Instead of feeling guilty, I’m pleased that despite my hectic schedule, I devoted just a bit of time to writing, and I’m ready to jump back in when it’s time to pick up the pace the next day.

2. Don’t make excuses

Your brain is a clever bugger, and it will rationalize not writing in all sorts of fun ways:

  • Oh, but I’m having dinner with a friend tonight.
  • Oh, but I had a long day at work and I’m just pooped.
  • Oh, but I have too many errands to run and there aren’t enough hours in the day.
  • Oh, but I had too many glasses of wine at that networking event.

Usually the best solution to any of these excuses is to write in the morning before your day has started. But find your own way to carve out 20 minutes from your day to write. And whenever you start making one of those classic excuses, call yourself out on it, sit your butt down, set a timer for 20 minutes, and type, type, type.

3. Don’t work in a vacuum

When I get positive feedback from my agent about an idea/pitch/etc., I basically become AN UNSTOPPABLE MACHINE because her excitement motivates me to make progress quickly.

If it’s too early in the process to bug her with my ideas, my husband and parents are always willing to hear me out, and they usually get excited about them, too. Their excitement validates my ideas, and makes me excited to move forward.

Some goes for work — if I have an idea for a blog post or an ebook, I’ll sometimes pass it by team members, and they’ll help me brainstorm or confirm that the idea is good.

How to Motivate Yourself to Write a College Essay

  • Do you sometimes wonder where all those famous personalities got their motivation from?
  • For instance, would physics be what it is if Albert Einstein was not motivated by his curiosity to determine the defining laws of modern physics?
  • Would Michael Jordan be one of the best basketball players of all time if he was not motivated enough to succeed and get past his failures?
  • Would the United States be united if Abraham Lincoln was not motivated and determined to preserve the Union, come what may?

Original: Source..and here you are, unable to even start your college essay!

Original: SourceIf you are lacking the motivation to start your essay or are struggling to stay motivated because your essay just does not seem to end, first of all – stop stressing. You are certainly not the only student to be in this situation.

It’s true, you need to be charged up and motivated about something to do a good job at it. Motivation is the fuel that drives you – pushes you to stay committed to your goal in spite of hurdles and challenges along the way. It stems from vision and your willpower to turn it into reality.

Believe it or not – there is a science behind motivation.

You have an essay to complete but you are nowhere close to starting it. The fact that you might have to put together a last-minute essay is no longer enough to get you started because you are deeply demotivated and unenthusiastic to start working on it.

5 Tips to Get Distance Learners Motivated Right Now

There’s plenty of distance teaching tips, tricks, and tools out there provided by online universities, colleges, and course instructors, but one vital question remains for those of us whose natural habitat is the classroom:

How do I get my students to actually do the work when I’m not there?

The answer is motivation. If we can get our students excited to log on and learn each day, productivity and progress will follow.

Here are five ways to get your students excited and motivated with distance learning.

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Motivate with goal setting

Goals are a critical component of distance learning. They motivate by letting students know exactly what it is they need to do for learning to occur.

Start by setting whole class goals that mirror the basic expectations of the classroom. These provide a soft entry to individual goal setting, while also maintaining the structure of learning as your students know it. For example:

  • Completing a certain amount of assigned activities each week
  • Accessing all posted lesson content and providing a brief summary of understanding.

You can then transition to personal goals designed to inform progress and mastery. EdTech products such as Mathletics and Readiwriter Spelling make this easy with points-based systems, so students can easily decide on quantifiable targets for learning. For example, student goals might be:

  • Achieving a weekly certificate (for 1000 points)
  • Completing a set amount of lessons per week
  • Setting a new personal best with points earned.

Such specific and attainable goals give students a reason to engage with the distance learning process. They’re no longer feeling lost on the wrong side of the screen, but logging on each day with a clear objective and sense of purpose.

Motivate with rewards and praise

As teachers, we already know that praise and reward are better motivators than punishment. If you celebrate students who engage responsibly with online learning, their peers will follow.

Here are some strategies for praising and rewarding online:

  • Create a virtual reward chart or ‘gold star’ system
  • Positive feedback messages that use fun videos, GIFs, and images
  • Let your virtual class out early (the timetable is more flexible than ever!)
  • Use MS Paint to create simple badges for different student achievements
  • Emailing parents with student congratulations (tip: you can also email any certificates that a student receives on a program such as Mathletics or Readiwriter Spelling).

Avoid rewarding student achievement exclusively, as this motivates only the top performers in the class. Instead, give regular rewards to distance learners who:

  • Communicate maturely and respectfully online
  • Set new personal bests
  • Put in the effort to complete additional activities
  • Show significant signs of improvement

For older students, you might even reward online engagement in the form of a mark or grade. This is already done extensively in higher education, and it works as a powerful extrinsic motivator

Rewards and praises don’t just motivate distance learners. They allow them to feel connected too. A single positive comment lets a student know that their teacher is still invested in their learning, no matter how far away they happen to be.

Motivate with meaningful feedback

Any classroom teacher will know the motivating power of timely and thoughtful feedback. The good news is that it’s even easier to deliver quality feedback online. You have the advantage of:

  • More time to compose thoughtful and detailed feedback in writing
  • The ability to communicate privately with individual students
  • Images and videos to support your comments and explanations.

Use these advantages to get creative with the way you deliver your feedback. You could personalise it with a voice recording addressed to an individual student, or attach helpful online resources for students who are having difficulty.

If you are using text to deliver your feedback, make sure that you keep the tone warm and personable. Use the student’s name and first-person statements to show that you are thoughtfully engaging with their work (e.g. “I’m really impressed with what you’ve done here”).

Five ways to stay motivated while studying at home

In typical learning environments we’re used to having professional teachers there to encourage us, guide us and push us towards our goals. However, many of you may now be faced with the challenge of studying English at home, without face to face support from a teacher. 

When it comes to studying at home, it can be difficult to stay motivated and focused. But don’t worry – we have some useful tips to help you stay on top of your game. 

1. Create a calm study space

It’s really important to have an area that is conducive to learning! Studying at home can come with lots of potential distractions. However, creating a calm area where you can hit the books will make a big difference. So how do you create a calm study space? Here are three suggestions: 

Having a designated space for learning within the home will help you to focus and get into a routine. (More on that in a minute!) In an ideal world, you’ll have a home office or study, a separate room where you can go and work.

However, most people don’t have the luxury of that extra space, so work with what you’ve got.

Do you have a desk in your bedroom? Can you use the kitchen table? No matter how small the area, you’ll know that when you sit down, you’re there to work. 

It’s important to keep your learning area tidy and free of clutter. If you’re studying at your desk, make sure it’s clear of any mess. If you’re studying at the kitchen table, clear everything off, even temporarily. A tidy space will help you to focus and relax. 

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4 Tips for Staying Motivated on Long Writing Assignments

When you first get an assignment for a big writing project, you may not be sure what the project requires and if you have the tools to stay motivated. The key to victory is creating a game plan to help you stay focused on the goal—successfully completing your assignment.

Don’t let an extensive writing project overwhelm you. Here are four tips for staying motivated on long writing assignments.

Make a plan

As soon as you get your assignment, start on the right foot by planning not only what you want to write, but also how you will prepare to do so. First, decide on your topic.

That will help you set progress goals and have a clearer focus when doing your research or other preparation.

For example, if the assignment is to analyze the impact of an invention from the 19th century, don’t just identify photography as your subject—be more specific by examining the impact of photography on a specific aspect of culture such as art, communication, or politics.

When you’re ready to start researching your topic more thoroughly, set up a system for organizing your note taking and copies of any source material you may need to reference later.

Create an outline

Outlines are a great tool for keeping any kind of writing assignment focused and organized.  Outlines are especially important for longer writing assignments since you’ll be juggling a lot of information all at once.

Try outlining in stages, starting with a basic vision for each aspect of your essay to expand on later. Then, fill in details as you learn more about your topic and formulate your important points.

An outline can also help you identify gaps in your research and see where you need to delve deeper to present a well-rounded paper.

Set goals and reward yourself

The most important way to stay on task with any large project is to break it into smaller pieces. This will help you avoid procrastination and prevent burnout from working long hours to finish. When you get your assignment, establish incremental deadlines leading up to the due date. Make separate deadlines for research, outlining, and your first draft. Once you start the writing…

Keep reading on Quick and Dirty Tips

Staying Motivated When Studying

See also: Self-Motivation

Some people say that the hardest step in studying is to get started. Once you have taken the first step, the rest is easy, they suggest.

Other people, however, find it difficult to stay motivated when studying, especially when the end seems a long way away.

This situation arises, for example, when you are revising for exams that are still some months away. It can also be difficult to keep up the motivation with a long or extended piece of work, such as an extended essay or dissertation, or even a professional qualification.

This page provides some advice to help you remain motivated while studying, and can also be used by parents to help motivate young people and children studying for exams.

A Strategy for You

There is no single strategy that will work for everyone in supporting ongoing motivation.

However, there are plenty of options that you can try, to see if they work for you. If they do, you should incorporate them into your ongoing strategy. If not, then put them aside and try something else.

The important thing is whether your strategy keeps you motivated, not whether other people agree with you.

Here, therefore, are our top tips for staying motivated.

1. Break the task down into manageable chunks

A big task, such as writing a dissertation, or revising for an extended period, can be demotivating because it seems so big.

Breaking the task down into manageable chunks can therefore help make it seem less daunting.

For example, if you are undertaking a piece of research leading to a dissertation, you might set yourself a period of time to do your literature review.

After that, you would plan to develop a proposal for your research methods within a certain period, then do the research.

As you start to pull together your results, you may realise that you need to do more research, so that part might be iterative. The point is to have clear sections and tasks to do, to make it simpler.

You may find our pages on Project Planning and Project Management helpful here.

2. Keep your end goal in mind—but also use interim goals on the way

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to remember why you are studying in the first place.

‘Getting good exam results’ is not necessarily very motivating. Instead, you need to look beyond that to what the exam results will get you, whether that is a place at your chosen school or university, or a new job. The more detail you can provide for your goal, the easier it will be to keep in mind.

However, even an end goal may not be enough to keep you going, especially over a long period.

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