Is There a Trick To Getting Motivated To Write a Paper?
I’ll be honest. It took some motivation to sit down and write this blog post. One day I wasn’t feeling inspired, and another day my ideas weren’t coming together as they had so beautifully in my head while I was in the shower. There were multiple times I sat staring at a blank page on my computer screen, eating snacks and wondering, “Is there a trick to getting motivated to write a paper?” Fortunately, that motivation was sparked within me, and from it, I offer you the following advice.
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself
Your paper comes with a deadline, specific instructions and a word count, but don’t let that pressure you too much. If you’re uptight about it, you’ll end up with writer’s block, and who knows what will happen next. You may not be able to think up a clever first sentence, and that’s OK! A trick I learned years ago from my fellow BKA writers was to set yourself a timer and start writing. Don’t stop to read it over, don’t hit “delete,” and don’t hit “backspace.” Just write until the timer goes off.
When the timer dings, go back and read over what you wrote. Chances are you’ll have some spelling and grammatical errors, some sentences that need rearranging, some filler that needs to be deleted, and some repeated words that should be replaced with a synonym. Great! Make those changes, reset the timer, and continue until you are satisfied with the piece. Perfection rarely comes on the first try, so take some pressure off.
Do Your Research
This is perhaps the best bit of advice I can give when it comes to getting motivated to write a paper, and it came to me from the managers of BKA: Do your research. It may seem overwhelming to take the time to research and then take more time to write, but it’s so worth it. My husband always tells me, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” and that’s true for writing papers. You won’t feel motivated and empowered if you’re not an expert on the topic. If you have that knowledge, it also puts less stress on you as you write, and you don’t have to go back and forth from source to source to figure out how to compose one sentence.
Give Yourself a Break
Did you know there are some states that require employers to give their employees a break after working a set number of hours? It’s not even a lunch break, either, but time for the employees to turn off their minds and relax for 10 or 15 minutes. You owe that to yourself, too. Whether you’re writing a doctoral thesis or a business proposal, you don’t have to do it all in one shot. Take a break and do something that relaxes you. There’s time to finish your paper after you’ve rested a bit.
I have three-year-old twins, which is quite the adventure most days. When I sit down to write, it’s not long before they’ve “washed the dishes,” added “artwork” to the walls, and “organized” the bookshelves. When it comes down to it, though, they keep me sane. Sometimes my writing really makes me anxious and I hit a wall. If I try to force myself to think about what to write next, I get irritable and angry, but if I take those twins upstairs to cuddle and tell stories on the La-Z-Boy, it relaxes me and I’m ready to write again in 15 minutes. Of course, sometimes I fall asleep, and that’s nice, too — until I find another sock in the toilet.
Remember, your break isn’t going to look like mine. I enjoy rocking two wiggly babies, but that might irritate you even more. Instead, you could meditate, read a chapter in your novel, or go for a jog around the block. Whatever it is that relaxes you, take a moment and do it. You’ll feel much better once you sit back down to get writing again.
Tidy Your Space
There is nothing I hate more than a dirty workspace. Even though I face the wall when I sit down at my computer, I can feel the clutter, taunting me from behind, begging me to clean it up. As strange as it sounds, it really does feel chaotic. When you create an efficient writing area, that chaos subsides and you’re able to get more done.
My kids’ regular chores include dusting, cleaning windows, and vacuuming, so the room is usually clean but cluttered. It takes me only a few minutes to fold a blanket, take out the toys, and push in the piano bench, then I feel a calming that gives me the motivation I need to begin writing without distraction.
Ask Someone for Encouragement
If this paper is an assignment for work or school, you’ve got a cheering section that can help. Have you spoken with your teacher or professor about your lack of motivation? What does he or she suggest you do? My tenth grade English teacher was not the most beloved teacher in the school, but she was my favorite. She saw that I had a knack for writing, and when I went to her for help, she bolstered me up. She gave me constant encouragement and the best feedback, which fed my love for writing. Your teacher will probably do the same, but you’ve got to go and ask for it.
If you’re writing for work, your boss and coworkers want you to succeed. Ask them what they do to get motivated. Ask them for encouragement. Ask them for some ideas on how to get started. I began working at BKA Content years ago, and I’ve never felt so much encouragement from a management team. I have access to all the materials I need to succeed — from blog posts on how to stay motivated during the holidays to specific information on how to write a press release. My favorite is How to Correctly Use AP (and APA) Style Title Case. If that blog post has a million views, at least three-quarters of them were by me!
Finally, give yourself a reward. There’s nothing wrong with getting motivated to write a paper with a little bribery, right? Tell yourself you have to write for an hour before you get that cupcake you’ve been saving. Set a goal to finish within the next 24 hours, and if you do so, you get to go shopping. Plan a date night with your significant other and tell yourself you can go only if you get to a certain point in the paper. There are so many ways to reward yourself, and although you might be getting paid or graded for the paper, it’s always fun to motivate yourself with an extra treat.
Get That Paper Written
When you’re having trouble getting motivated to write a paper, don’t fret. There are a lot of resources out there, and when you have a few tricks up your sleeve, you can do anything. Leave your best tricks in the comments below, and let’s help each other out!