Monday, November 16, 2015

​3 Tricks to Motivated Writing​ Sessions

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring fellow authors in the craft. A homeschool graduate and retired gymnast, she wrote the Sound of Silver the summer after her junior year of college.

Relentless rains caused flooding to sweep through my state, wreaking havoc. As if the water had a mind of its own, it worked to flood roads, causing closures across multiple counties. Some roads even washed away! And I couldn't help but wonder, if water could seem so determined, as if destruction were its very purpose, what would happen to my writing if I wrote with such resolve?

Below are three tricks that I've found infuse a little motivation into my writing time and elevate my word count!

#1 Time Your Writing Sessions

This year, I acquired my first smartphone. Want to know what one of my new favorite apps is? Wordly. (Wordly is not paying me to write this post, I promise.)

In the Wordly app, I press Start when I begin writing and Stop when I finish. Simple enough, right? At the end of my writing time, I can log that I wrote 500 words in 13 minutes! This often motivates me to put in another 13 minutes or so, just to be able to say I wrote 1,000 words. If you don't like Wordly, of course, a simple kitchen timer will do. Race yourself! Better yet, race a writer friend and challenge yourself to see who can write the most, the fastest, or the longest.

#2 Keep a Log

Alas, most of 2015 swept by before I started keeping accurate records of my writing time. Oh, I did get a lot of writing done! In fact, this year I released my debut novel--and its sequel. (The third book in the series is due to release in February.) So I know I wrote this year; after all, I have two books to prove it! I revised, edited, and proofread each of them multiple times. But I kinda wish I knew how much I had written on how many days, y'know? That kind of productivity log always motivates me.

Wordly keeps track of my writing sessions for me in a simple, clear format (warning: only one project can be logged in the free version, but you can export your log, delete the project, and begin a new one with each new book). Before this app, I tried Excel spreadsheets, but I detest Excel. Maybe you are an Excel genius and that's the perfect place to record your time/wordcount. I've also tried a simple Word document where I kept the date and wordcount in columns; that worked when I was writing the series that is making me a published author.

#3 Change It Up

As only writers know, writing can be lonely, hard work. Don't be afraid to grab a writer friend or several (perhaps someone you meet in the Go Teen Writers Community group) and make a game of your writing session. Or challenge yourself to write exactly 1,777 words in your Revolutionary War novel. Or promise yourself a Chick fil a Frosted Lemonade if you write every day two weeks in a row! (I highly recommend this option.)

Whatever works for you, here are multiple ways to motivate your writing times. If one trick feels like a pain, toss that idea--writing is painful enough sometimes when you're crying over a character dying or staring at a blinking cursor. And be sure to share in the comments below what helps motivate you while writing!


  1. I'm planning to finish the first draft of a project by December, so this post was great timing!!!

    I've tried #2 but for some reason end up forgetting about it, but out of all 3 tricks I think the first one will work for me the best. I'm competitive at heart and I think this tip will get me to write a whole lot... And I think I'll give Writing Journal a try! :)

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. These are great ideas! I already keep a log of how many words I've written each day, but I've never thought of timing my writing sessions (except for word wars, of course). I'll have to give it a try today. Thanks for the post, Rachelle!

  3. These are all fantastic ideas. I personally try to combine #1 and 2. NaNoWriMo is helping a lot with getting me to write, because it's easier to track my word count. It's make me pretty graphs. :)

  4. Love it when timing works out like that, Andrea! Best wishes on trying the app! :)

    Linea, thank you! Something I recently discovered is setting a timer works well, but setting a stopwatch helps me blow past my time quota sometimes--and is a fun way to switch it up :)

    Lily, combos are the best. Awesome job on NaNoWriMo--I've not been brave enough to try that yet. ;)

  5. I can personally say that making Chick-fil-A frosted lemonades is something I need to be motivated to do, haha. Whoever came up with the idea obviously wasn't thinking about the poor employees who had to make the things...they're so horribly messy to do!

    But hey, for someone who's not a Chick-fil-A employee, that should work great ;)

    Thanks for the tips! I recently discovered the wonderful idea of a word "crawl" from the NaNo forums. It's like a series of challenges in story form, which makes it like a fun game of pretend. I've yet to try one, but I will at some point.

  6. I've kept a log for about two years now, and it's really nice. It feels good to know I've written for so many days straight without taking a break. It makes it easier for me to take a break when I have to.

  7. Great tips, Rachelle! I've never heard of the Wordly app, but I'm definitely going to have to check it out. Timing my writing session always helps to kick myself into gear. =)

    Thanks for sharing!


  8. I've never heard of this app, I should get it! I do like timing myself - especially since I type very fast and it's usually my brain and my tendency to overthink things that slows me down ;P

  9. Nanowrimo is really the most motivating thing and I can't help but wish that it was there all the time. Thanks for the tips and ideas :D I often word war with my writer friends and time myself. Also there are things out there called writer obstical courses where it goes through and challenges you to do certain things. Ex: In the next five minutes, write 500 words or in Alice in Wonderland they had an unbirthday. Take your birthday month and multiply it by 100 and write that many words. It's fun and you get a lot done... especially if you're born in December :D

  10. This post has great timing since it's the middle of NaNo and I just came out of my first November writers block (it was not fun.)

    A long time ago, I tried #1 and kept track of my records for a given amount of time. But I eventually lost the paper and got too lazy to start a timer. I'll try and start that up again. Sounds like fun!


  11. Wow, these are great ideas! I'll definitely be trying them.

  12. #1 is my lifesaver.
    When I write for fifteen-minute spurts at a time, I tend to write so much more quickly and be more motivated to continue!
    That said, every time my little sister hears the timer go off, she yells: "Mom! Your timer's beeping!" She doesn't realize it's just crazy big sis, trying to write.
    Great post! Thanks!

  13. Amanda, oh, boy, I hadn't thought of how messy making those yummy lemonades must be! Thanks for mentioning the crawl--I hadn't heard of that before. :)

    Sananora, that is an EXCELLENT point, that the motivation can go in reverse and inspire real rest. :)

    I think you'll like it, Tessa. :)

    Same here, Stefanie. Overthinking is a worst enemy of mine (that and my internal editor).

    Emma, how neat is that!? I love the idea of obstacle courses.

    Aw, hugs, Katie. Writers block is never fun, indeed. Best wishes as you start up recording again!

    Thanks, Emma!

    Devall Girls, that is hilarious. ;)

  14. This is a really helpful post, I'm downloading Wordly right now--as a student, it's difficult to really motivate myself to not multi-task while I write. Thank you for this!

    1. You are most welcome, Kekai! I hope it proves helpful to you :)