Here are three things I think about when trying to keep myself motivated.
- Keep the Chain Alive - If you've read "Write Every Day" or some of my other posts about daily writing, you're already familiar with the idea of having a calendar with a visible "chain" made up of Xs where you've marked off days when you've reached your writing goal. To keep it alive, you have to meet your goal every day. On my absolute hardest writing days, this has been one of my major motivators and the visible feedback has done a lot to help keep other people in my household aware of my progress and encouraging me to keep at it.
- Remember Why You Write - This will be somewhat different from person to person. For me, a major reason that I write is because I enjoy developing stories and being able to share them with other people. To get stories published in places where a large number of people read them requires writing great stories and to write great stories requires a mixture of talent and hard work. I've chosen to make sticking to a daily routine part of my "hard work." Thinking for a few minutes about the bigger picture writing goals I hope to achieve and remembering that writing today is part of those goals has helped focus my mind.
- Give Yourself Permission To Write Something Different - If you're not facing a deadline of some kind, some days writing something totally different can be a great way to keep yourself moving forward. You could take a break from your novel to write several blog posts up in advance or maybe try writing a few poems. Or maybe it's a good day to hop out to Duotrope and look at themed anthology/magazine issue submission calls and see if something catches your eye. Mixing things up a bit without breaking my daily writing routine has made quite a few days easier than they would have been if I'd forced myself to work on one specific thing.