7 ways to find your momentum and have fun writing again

Cynthia Marinakos
Aug 13 · 5 min read
Illustration by Cynthia Marinakos

“URGH, f**k, you’re killing me, Tim!”

“Don’t let the weight control you. You control the weight.”

That was my personal trainer, Tim.

I was near the end of my session. I was tired. Physically. And mentally. So it became tempting to use the momentum of the weight to swing up and down.

It was less effort than slowing the weight and controlling it. It was much easier than intensely concentrating on it. It was easier to let my form go.

Inside, my mind was yelling, “I can’t do this. Stop it. It’s too hard. I’m too tired. He’ll understand if I don’t get through all of it.”

“Don’t let the weight control you. You control the weight.”

And with focus and superhuman effort, I surprised myself and took charge of the weight.

His reminder and the voice inside my mind apply to other aspects of life, such as writing.

How often do we lose our momentum and struggle to get it back?

Because we’re tired. Because we’re busy. Because of mindlessness. Fear. Complacency.

When I don’t write for a couple of days, it seems harder the next day. So I avoid it.

One day turns into another, then a whole week has gone by. And I’ve lost momentum without a personal trainer to push me to write.

And then it’s all too f*cking hard, and it’s no longer fun.

Here are seven lessons I’ve learned that helped me regain momentum and passion for writing:

  1. Make writing fun.
  2. Reinforce your why.
  3. Write on autopilot.
  4. Connect deeply with others—and yourself.
  5. Combat negative brain chatter.
  6. Don’t start from scratch all the time.
  7. Be humble and keep learning.

1. Make Writing Fun

My daughter is learning the viola using the Suzuki method. There’s a strong framework that gets results, yet the crux is to make music an enjoyable, natural part of each day, rather than a chore. We can do the same with writing.

  • Write what you feel like writing. If you enjoy poetry and food along with marketing and business, go for it. As creatives, having that flexibility to write what speaks to us at that moment is important.
  • Share writing with friends and family. Bask in the glow of putting yourself out there; it takes courage and strength.
  • Choose progress over perfection.

Make writing fun.


2. Reinforce Your Why

I’ve almost given up writing on Medium many times. It is such hard work to be noticed. Yet a “Yeah, I hear you. I feel the same way” comment here and a few claps there have made all the difference. And holding onto that feeling, that need to relate, to be helpful, to inspire—this has kept me going.

  • Define and go after your definition of success, rather than someone else’s. A palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware shares that the dying most regret never pursuing their dreams and aspirations and not having the courage to live truthfully.
  • Know that you can endure and achieve more than you think.
  • Change whimsical wants into non-negotiable musts.

Keep reminding yourself of your why.


3. Write on Autopilot

It’s great to have purpose. But the motivation that creates purpose is unreliable. It ebbs and flows according to our mood, our sleep, or the severity of our hangover. A better strategy is needed to follow through so we write no matter what.

Set up habits. The key to success is consistency. And habits take the thinking out of doing. Write on autopilot. Researcher Phillippa Lally informs us it can take from 18 to 254 days (an average of 66 days) to set a habit.

  • Make writing time productive: write with whatever time you set aside (20 minutes, an hour, whatever). Don’t be busy for the sake of being busy. Your time is too precious.
  • Save your ideas. Use a note-taking app such as Google Keep, Everlast, a voice recorder, or simply a pencil and notebook.
  • Train your mind to find ideas from your daily life. Use life changes to spur creativity. Psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg discovered “Often, the ‘new’ element in really big ideas comes in the form of a disruption.” So write amidst changing jobs, relationship breakdowns, the death of a loved one, or major disagreements.

Write on autopilot.


4. Connect Deeply With Others—and Yourself

There’s power in human connection. Professor Matthew Lieberman explains:

“Being socially connected is our brain’s lifelong passion … It’s been baked into our operating system for tens of millions of years.”

Connect deeply with others—and yourself.


5. Combat Negative Brain Chatter

It’s been found three-month-olds have a tendency to be negative. And in another study, adults responded more strongly to negative images than positive or neutral images. It’s no wonder that we struggle to push through and keep writing. There are a few ways to combat our negative bias:

  • Know you are enough (and always have been). Savor positive feelings. Think of a time when you published an article that was well received. Focus on what you’ve achieved; let these feelings drive you to keep going.
  • Reframe your view of rejection and failure. Mistakes, rejection, and failure are gifts. Embrace them and celebrate them.
  • Acknowledge and accept all thoughts and feelings; choose to move forward. Change “Why can’t I?” to “How can I?”

Combat negative brain chatter.


6. Don’t Start From Scratch All the Time

It’s not necessary to think of new ideas all the time. There aren’t many new ideas not written about. Instead, revive old content. Don’t worry if you feel it’s repetitive; people learn best by repetition.

  • Choose what content to revive by checking statistics, highlights, or comments.
  • Tweak articles: headlines, stories, photos; add video, infographic.
  • Republish on different channels.

Don’t start from scratch all the time.


7: Be Humble and Keep Learning

There’s an attitude I’ve termed “The I Know Syndrome.” It’s when we don’t listen actively because we think we know what someone is about to tell us. It takes great humility and wisdom to truly listen and learn.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”—Albert Einstein

  • Stop letting the “I know” attitude shut down your mind and your success.
  • Learn deliberately. It’s been found the best in the world don’t rely on talent. They practice exercises that improve their weaknesses. Do short courses, join a writing community, learn from other writers, get involved with a publication.
  • Be self-aware and challenge your thinking. Listen to podcasts, read articles, surround yourself with people who are where you want to be.

Be humble and keep learning.


Summary: 7 Tips to Regain Your Passion for Writing

An Ernest Hemingway quote beautifully captures the trauma of writing: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

He assumes we make it to our typewriter when often we avoid it. But there are ways to make writing less traumatic and more enjoyable. To recap:

  1. Make writing fun.
  2. Reinforce your why.
  3. Write on autopilot.
  4. Connect deeply with others—and yourself.
  5. Combat negative brain chatter.
  6. Don’t start from scratch all the time.
  7. Be humble and keep learning.

Listen more, talk less.
Worry less, write more.

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

Cynthia Marinakos

Written by

Copywriter. I help small businesses sell more by selling less. Contributer: The Mission, The Startup, Better Marketing, The Writing Coop.

Better Marketing

Advice & case studies

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