How to Stop Procrastinating and Find Motivation to Write, Even If You Don’t Feel Like It

“I can never build a writing habit.”

“I can't think of anything when I'm staring at a blank page.”

“I wanted to write, but I ended up on the internet again. What is wrong with me?”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, don't worry. Even the best writers struggle to find writing motivation when depressed, anxious, or distracted.

It gets even worse when your writing time is limited, but somehow you can't stay off your phone.

How can you stop procrastinating? How can you reach your writing goals when it feels so hard?

In this blog post, I'll discuss some different ways to help motivate you and give you the push that you need to consistently produce quality content.

Start Small

One way to start writing is to set small, achievable goals. This could be anything from writing for five minutes to writing 200 words. No goal is too small.

You can also break your larger goals into smaller goals to make them more manageable. This will help you stay motivated as you work on your goal.

One Project at a Time

And then the short story leaves you for its sister…

If you're like me, you have a tendency to start project after project, most of which never get past the initial excitement stage. Staying focused on one project at a time is far more productive than trying to work on multiple projects at once.

This is easier said that done. I'm always getting new ideas, and I get excited about new projects all the time. How can you stay focused on your writing project when there are so many other awesome things to do?

One thing that helps is scheduling a time block for working on each project, and sticking with it (unless something really important comes up). This keeps me from getting distracted by shiny objects too much. If my eye starts to wander too much, I have to

Create a Pre-Writing Ritual (Even if It Only Takes Two Minutes)

Rituals play a powerful role in our lives, shaping our daily routines and helping us to accomplish our goals. A pre-writing ritual can help to motivate you and get you into the writing frame of mind.

Even if it only takes two minutes, setting aside a little time before you start writing will help prime your brain and imagination for the work to come.

If you want to start a ritual, start by doing one of the following things for two minutes before you start writing:

  • stretch
  • meditate
  • clean your office
  • write down all your thoughts, stream of consciousness-style, without stopping
  • repeat out loud your desired affirmations
  • review your vision board
  • pour yourself a glass of water, coffee, or tea
  • visualize your desired outcome (see below)

As you develop a writing routine, you can add to this routine. But keep it simple when you begin.

Imagine Yourself Reaching Your Goal

Visualization is the process of seeing something in your mind before it happens in reality. It's a powerful tool that can be used for anything from manifesting a new car to increasing your income.

Visualization can be a powerful motivator, and can shape the course of your work more than you might think possible. By envisioning yourself writing a great story, essay, or article, you can imagine yourself succeeding, which makes success even more achievable.

Outline, Outline, Outline

An outline organizes your thoughts and prevents you from getting overwhelmed. Although some writers don't like to use them, I think an outline is an indispensible part of the writing process.

It can also help to increase your motivation because you will have a better idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Seeing the end goal will make it feel more real and achievable.

Turn Off the Internet (and Put Your Smartphone in Airplane Mode)

Turn off the internet. Turn it off. You can check that fact later. . The internet is a big distraction, and it's better to keep it fully at bay.

A lot of people find it helpful to put their phones in airplane mode so they won't be tempted by any notifications or social media updates while trying to write something. If you can't do that–if you're expecting an important call, for example–then use an app like Forest to keep yourself from reflexively trying to check your screen.

Write in Sprints

When you don't feel like writing, it can be helpful to practice writing sprints. This is where you write as much as possible for a set amount of time. You can write for two minutes or for twenty, it's up to you.

When you're on a writing sprint, you must keep writing until the time is up, without pausing to do anything else.

Don't edit your writing. Don't check your email. Don't turn on the internet. While you're on a writing sprint, your only focus is to get as many words as you can on the page.

Remember to start small. Good writing habits can be grown over time. A four-minute writing sprint is better than doing nothing.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a way to help you focus on a task by working for short periods of time and then taking regular, even shorter breaks.

When you use the Pomodore Technique, your work:break ratio should be roughly 5:1. If you write for five minutes, you'd take a one minute break; if you write for 20 minutes, you'd take a four minute break. After four of these intervals, you take a longer break, then go back to work.

You can use the Pomodoro Technique to plan out a series of writing sprints. Since writing sprints can be intense, you might want to take slightly longer breaks between sprints. For example, you might do an eight-minute writing sprint and then take a three-minute break, followed by an eight-minute break after four sprints.

There are many apps that will help you use the Pomodoro Technique, such as Tomato One (the app I use) and Forest. You could also use the timer on your phone, watch, or a dedicated timer like the Time Timer if you want to keep going when you hit a writing groove.

Don't Reward Yourself with (Time-Sucking) Distractions

Two minutes on the internet can quickly turn into twenty, or 120. When you do take a break, reward yourself with something that won't endanger you staying in the zone.

Here are some ideas for possible rewards:

  • stretching. It's really good to stretch since writing is a pretty sedentary activity.
  • get up and walk.
  • draw or doodle something.
  • meditate.
  • do a light chore, e.g. watering a few plants or wiping down one counter.
  • read a few pages of a book or magazine.

I would highly, highly recommend not going on the internet during your breaks, especially if you have ADHD like I do. All it takes is one wrong turn and you can easily ignore the timer and go down a rabbit hole of distraction.

Track Your Progress

One of the most important things to do when trying to change a behavior is to measure it. This includes tracking not just your writing output, but also your daily word count, the number of articles you write, the amount of time you spend writing, and more.

This data can be incredibly useful in helping you to see your progress and identify any potential areas where you need to make changes.

You can also track your moods and emotions. This information can help you to see if your writing productivity is related to your mental health. If it is, you can then take steps to address that issue.

If this sounds like way too much, just start tracking how many words you've written. It's a simple number and you can write it anywhere.

I used to tape a monthly calendar behind my desk. When I finished writing for the day, I would write the total number of words in the space for that day; if I met my minimum daily goal, I'd draw an X through the day as well. Having this visual reminder of my progress kept me motivated to write even when I was tired, upset, or burnt out.

Speaking of burnout…

Set a Realistic Goal

If you're working full-time and taking care of multiple kids after work, you'll have less time to write than someone with a freer schedule.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't write 3,000 words a day every day. Writing a little bit every day is much better than writing nothing at all.

Find a Writing Accountability Partner

Having someone to partner with you can be a great way to stay on track. This person can be someone who is also working on a writing project, or they could simply be someone who checks in with you regularly to see how you're doing.

You don't have to be in the same city or country as your accountability partner; there are many online tools that can help you stay connected, such as Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts.

Join or Start a Writing Group

Similar to having an accountability partner, being part of a group can help you stay on track. There are many online and in-person groups available, so find one that's a good fit for you.

Conclusion

You may not always feel like writing, but if you keep at it and learn how to find your motivation, you'll be able to put in the work when it's important. So don't give up; instead, try out some of these tips for finding inspiration and stay committed to completing your written goals. How do you motivate yourself?

Homepage of Jarvis Mastermind course.

Jasper Mastermind x Adam Enfroy Blog Growth Engine (Course Review)

I just finished the Jasper Mastermind x Adam Enfroy course on blogging. The last video ends with the instructor saying, “I will see you in the next video,” so there may be more to come. Since I've finished the course as it is now, I wanted to post a review of the course as it is. I'll update this review after the last video(s) are posted.

I took this course because I wanted to learn how this blog could promote my books and art projects. I came away with a deeper understanding of how blogging can be its own business or a valuable (and profitable) part of an existing business.

Looking back a year from today, what would you like to have done? If one of your answers is “start a blog” or “find an audience,” read this review to determine if Jasper Mastermind is right for you.

See this course on Jasper.ai

Note: Jasper used to be called Jarvis, so you'll hear the term “Jarvis” throughout the course. When they say “Jarvis,” they're referring to Jasper. The software is the same, but the name is different.

Course Overview

Jasper.ai, a company that makes AI writing software, and Adam Enfroy, a blogger in the marketing niche, co-created this course. The course is designed for bloggers who want to build a successful blog and make passive income (well, passive-ish) through affiliate marketing.

The course starts from the foundations, beginning with choosing a domain name and setting up your blog. From there, you'll learn how to build a website, write informative and persuasive content, and build links that drive website traffic.

You'll also learn the essentials of search engine optimization without any fluff.

And you'll learn how to find affiliate marketing opportunities and when you should start looking for them.

Adam Enfroy and Colin Shipp, the course's co-hosts, are successful bloggers with a lot of experience in blogging, marketing, and SEO. They're also good at presenting information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

Adam recommends starting a blog based on your name and choosing a niche based on your interests and experience. Instead of choosing a domain name that reflects your niche, use your name so you can pivot if a certain niche doesn't work out.

Starting a Blog from Scratch (or Not)

If you've never set up a blog before, the course will show you how to get started. The course will recommend hosting, plugins, and an SEO tool that you can use for keyword research. If you don't know what that is, don't worry. The course will tell you everything you need to know.

This course's keyword research and content-creation units focus on search intent. Are people looking to buy, or just looking for information? It's not bad to write informative posts. It's actually necessary. But that's not all you should write. Certain posts, e.g. “best of” lists, will generally be your money-makers.

Getting More Traffic to Your Blog

The link-building unit in this course is worth the price of admission. In this unit, you'll learn how guest blogging can dramatically change your blog's positioning on search engines like Google.

You'll also learn how websites like LinkedIn, HARO, and Crunchbase can help you find the right people to contact if you want to get your work featured on other websites. And the course focuses on building relationships, not spamming everyone with form letters that they won't actually read.

If you hate social media, this is the course for you. You do not need social media to join the blogging world or become a successful blogger.

Meet Other Masterminds

This course also includes a private Facebook group to allow you to talk to other course-takers and compare notes on your progress.

Once you've joined, you can ask questions, see what other people are struggling with, and tell everyone about your own blogging journey so far. The community is very supportive and full of information.

You'll also get to feel like you're part of an elite blog academy–or maybe that's just me.

If you've signed up for the course, search Facebook for the “Jarvis Mastermind” or “Jasper Mastermind” group to get started.

Strategy Call

This course also allows you to book at least one free strategy call to discuss anything you're having trouble with. My call is scheduled for later, so I will update this review and let you know how it goes.

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for bloggers of all levels of experience. If you're starting from scratch, the course will show you how to start blogging and get search engine traffic in 6-12 months.

If you've been blogging for years, it will show you how to pivot, or create a new blog, if you need to.

If you're just starting out, you'll be able to ignore everything but this course's strategies for content marketing and organic ways to drive traffic to your website.

Do you need a PhD in computer science, or a massive social media following, to run a successful blog?

You do not need any coding knowledge to take this course or to run a successful, profitable blog.

You do not need a pre-existing online business, a massive following on TikTok, or a certification in Google Analytics. You can start from absolute zero.

I'll be honest with y'all. I barely know what a DNS zone is. Or PHP. My “programming” knowledge begins and ends with 2008-era CSS. And I was never confused while taking this course.

This course does assume a certain baseline of technological literacy, but it's not very high.

Have you ever bought hosting for a domain, installed WordPress on that domain, and installed a new plugin inside WordPress? If you've done all three, you're pretty much good to go.

If the above paragraph confuses you, you'll need to consult other tutorials to make this course work.

Content, Traffic, and SEO Strategies

Other online blogging courses are tailored to getting absolute newbies over the technical hurdles, and navigating platforms like Google Search Console.

This course is much more big picture and strategy focused. If you're struggling with content marketing or trying to launch a blogging career, then this is the course for you.

Do you need a Jasper account to benefit from this course?

You will still get a lot out of this course even if you don't have access to any AI writing software, including Jasper.

There are a few videos about using Jasper/Jarvis and SurferSEO to optimize your content. Most videos don't mention Jasper, or AI content writers, at all.

This course does not focus on using AI to write your content; for that, see Jasper's free SEO course.

How thorough is this course?

The course covers every major aspect of creating a profitable blog: finding a niche, writing posts that generate revenue, getting more traffic through search engines, and monetizing your blog through affiliate programs.

The videos on all of these topics are very thorough, without including a lot of extraneous information. You don't have to worry about evaluating 15 different plugins; they tell you everything you need to start a minimum viable website to get up and running.

LIke all the best blogging courses, Jasper Mastermind includes a lot of information about how long you should wait before monetizing your blog.

It's not as simple as throwing up some posts, installing AdSense, and calling it a day. It wasn't even that simple ten years ago, when I started making websites. Ask me how I know…

What's missing?

There is no total cost estimate for all the tools recommended throughout the video series. What will it cost, in total, if I buy every recommended plugin and program? What if I only buy the absolutely essential ones?

There are not many recommended programs, and only a few of them are expensive, but it would be good to see an estimate of how much all these tools will cost when you add them together. I was fortunate to get some of these tools in Black Friday sales, but not everyone can be so lucky!

Limited Monetization Options

Affiliate programs are the only monetization model discussed in this course. There's nothing about, for example, setting up a WooCommerce store, using blogging to promote your own products, or when you should start your own course (if ever).

Too much information? How to start a course, for example, is probably a course all its own. And Jasper Mastermind is designed to narrow down your focus so you're not pinging about trying 15 different things at once and going nowhere.

There are so many blogging courses, it helps to choose one and focus on the strategies therein.

If you're like me, and tend to bounce from project to project, this course might help quiet the noise in your head and get you to focus on what matters.

No Social Media (Is That a Bad Thing?)

Speaking of focus: there is nothing about social media in this course. Social media can be a huge timesuck, and it's too easy to get distracted by TikTok when you haven't even written your first blog post.

That said, I wish there was at least one video about how to automate your social media using an app like Canva, IFTTT, or Metricool.

No Email Marketing

For some niches, email marketing is esssential, especially if you sell your own products. Sending an email is the easiest way to connect with your audience

Course Organization

This course is divided into 10 units with 3-5 videos in each unit. All videos feature Adam Enfroy and/or Colin Shipp. Most videos are about 20-30 minutes long, though a few are longer than an hour.

You can watch these videos at your own pace. I listened to the videos, via BlueTooth headphones, while working around the house. It took me about a month to go through all the videos.

The course, and all its videos, are available for both desktop and mobile. I only watched this course on my smartphone, and had very little trouble navigating the course website. My only complaint is that you can view the course video titles, but not click on them, from the “Course Overview” screen. That's a little annoying.

The course website allows you to watch the videos at up to 2x speed. Adam and Colin both speak relatively slowly, and the audio quality is pretty high, so it was easy for me to understand them even at 2x speed. (I'm also a speed demon when I read audiobooks, so that might help!)

The course is hosted on Adam's website. To take this course, you'll need to create a new account on his website. There is no social sign-on, i.e. through your Google or Facebook account. Some users might be annoyed at having to create yet another account and remember (or store) another password.

Course Homework

The homework assignments are very manageable, even with a busy schedule. If you need to start a blog from scratch, you may have to carve out 2-4 hours to get started. Most of the other assignments take one hour at the most.

Whenever I take an online course, I try to do everything in the video before I move onto the next one. This was easy to do for most of these videos. A few videos are so comprehensive, you really can't do everything in them unless you give yourself a few months. Thankfully, you can go back to the videos and watch them again anytime you like.

I have three kids under six, so any free time I have is hard-fought. Often my “free time” isn't really free; I often listened to these videos while trying to empty the dishwasher (or fold the laundry, or wipe down the counters, or…) with three little kids vying for my attention.

I was still able to follow the course material and do the assignments over about 30 days. It may help that I already have my own blog with a built-in target audience. Or that I'd already experimented with blog monetization on previous websites.

Course Cost

The course was $1400 per year or $199 per month when I signed up. The course is now $2400 per year or $299 per month. The course is currently waitlisted, so it's possible that price will increase.

Is it worth it?