How to find the motivation to keep writing is the biggest question I get. Honestly, writing a book is hard work. It can be very tempting to spend time watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook instead of sitting down to write the book you were once very passionate about but now wish it would just be done.
The hack is to trick your brain into looking forward to the end of your writing session for the day, to the completion of your goal. I encourage you to watch my video on this. There are different hacks in the blog post than on the video, so be sure to catch them both.
Dopamine is our friend
Dopamine is the chemical that causes feelings of pleasure and happiness. The brain uses it as a reward system to reinforce certain behaviors. Dopamine is at play when we are checking our phones as soon as we get a notification—when we stop everything to see, “who is saying what about me now.” How can we hack into using dopamine to get you writing every day?
Print off a calendar with 30 days on it. It doesn’t have to start on the first of the month. You don’t have to wait until Monday to start your meditation practice either <wink, wink>. Start today and create a chain of 30 boxes that you check off. That is an actual dopamine hit to your brain every time.
You choose if you want to write for half an hour every day or have a specific word count, like I want to have 500 words every day. Once you’ve chosen that goal, write it at the top of your calendar. You can even write down your daily word count in the boxes. You want to create a full chain and do not break that chain because you’re going to feel bad about it if you do.
Excel Spreadsheet Graph
I accidentally stumbled on this hack when I started my weight loss journey. I had a feeling my weight was related to my hormones, and so I started tracking it every day to watch what happened to the line on the graph and look for patterns. It quickly became a huge source of motivation for me as the downward trend was way more obvious than any hormonal fluctuation.
That’s when I wondered if the same graph would be as motivating for the writers participating in the Author Accelerated mastermind. It has been a huge success. It offers the same dopamine hit to plot the daily wordcount onto the graph and watch the trend climb upwards.
Rewards and Celebrations
At the end of that 30 days, reward yourself outside of your dopamine reward center. Choose something in real life that you wouldn’t normally give yourself as a reward for all that writing. Make it special. Let’s say you eat chocolate every day, don’t make your reward chocolate because you would have normally eaten chocolate anyways. Choose something unique like a ticket to a show, a shopping trip for a special item of clothing, a book that you’ve wanted to get, or a new notebook. Whatever it is that you adore doing, make that be your reward at the end of the 30 days.
We are all tempted to beat ourselves up all too often. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be. By using these hacks, you set yourself up for success in a way that is gentle and pleasant. You’ll attract way more words on the page with honey instead of vinegar. Be nice.