Motivation for Writers by Faith Van Horne

I am happy to welcome Faith Van Horne back for another month with us! In today’s article Faith discusses motivation for writers and how to power through your writing. Enjoy!


There are days I just don’t want to write. Actually, most days before I begin writing, it’s hard to pick up the pen (or put my fingers on the keyboard, depending on which stage of the writing process I’m in) and just go. I don’t want to. I’d rather distract myself with pointless internet surfing.

Same deal with exercise. Especially in the winter, when it gets dark and cold, it’s hard to work up the steam to get going. What gives?

In the film The Neverending Story, Atreyu and his horse must face the Swamps of Sadness, through which he must trudge to reach his destination. If he stops for even a moment and reflects on the sorrow of the place, he will sink into it. He must trudge through, immune to the weight of negativity in his surroundings. While Atreyu makes it, his horse is not so disciplined.

I’m not saying that the writing life, or an exercise routine, is a bog of sorrow, though sometimes it can feel like it. However, both require strong internal motivation to keep going. Especially if you’re not someone who’s making their living from exercise, or from writing (yet). There are so many legitimate distractions that get in the way. But like Atreyu, you must keep going.

The solution is not easy, but it is straightforward. Power through it. Accept that you don’t want to do it. Let your brain whine about how hard it is, and how the dishes are dirty. Then do it anyway.

If you’re looking for outside motivation, Nanowrimo is starting up in a couple of weeks. For those unfamiliar, it’s a worldwide effort to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. The website comes complete with pep talks, local write-ins, word trackers and more. Having a community to which you’re held accountable is a great way to stay on track. I’m doing it this year. If you’re looking for a boost, come join me.

If you’re extra motivated, you can combine your WriMo (the nickname for those participating in Nanowrimo) community with your fitness goals. After a write-in, arrange a group jog or walk. Again, keeping each other accountable leads to faster, better results.

Fellow writers in the grips of flagging fluency: don’t give up. Find the strength to power through your own Swamp of Sadness. I’ll meet you on the far shore, and we can stare back and spite the darkness behind us.

Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Do you have exercise buddies you also write with?


Faith Van Horne is the author of the young adult fantasy novel Slideways. Her collection of offbeat horror stories, Super Sargasso, is now available. She is currently working on another novel. In her free time, she practices karate, and even helps teach it a little. She also blogs at Scribatious (


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  • Wyatt Bessing says:

    I love the idea of combining Nanowrimo and exercise! I often sacrifice one for the other, but they are so important to work in tandem. A little exercise makes the words come so much more easily to me. I’ll be doing nanowrimo, and cheering you on too, Faith! Thanks for the article.

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