3 Ways to Stay Motivated When Revising Your Novel

a forest in winter just before christmas is so inspiring for writers looking for ideas or for the motivation to get back to writing

There and back again.


Once more, I find myself staring at the screen, dreading the revision weeks to come, lacking any kind of motivation whatsoever to even start.

Where to find motivation? And how to keep it up?

What is Motivation Anyway ?

Being a master procrastinator allows me to do some wonderful discoveries. Sometimes.
Too often, the video game industry score alone wins it all.

Instead of doing what I was suppose to do with my scheduled writing time, I went on Pinterest and Google, looking for motivation tips.

It got me thinking: what was motivation exactly? A day later, a doctor on a morning radio show I like to listen to was talking precisely about the inside out of motivation.

Well, it appears motivation is really a scale, with many levels. Motivation cannot be activated with a button. It varies quite a bit.

It’s a strength each and every one of us, dear humans, have inside. It comes from within.
That’s the highest level of motivation. It’s intrinsic motivation.

For example, we all know writing is hard and to get traditionally published is harder. However, writing makes us feel happy, proud of ourselves. We like to feel creative, we like to think our dream world will help the readers, or make them laugh, cry, or feel like they live in a better world now that they have read our books.

(One can dream, right!?!)

Then there’s extrinsic motivation. Which might come from your personal trainer or your doctor or your peers at work.

For example, I dislike taking walks on rainy days, but everybody in the office is going, so it will motivate me to tag along and go. The motivation is triggered by something outside of us.

Since the motivation to revise my manuscript is not intrinsic these days, I need to find some extrinsic motivation to get going and keep at it.

Why Revising a Novel ?

That’s what I asked myself when I sat in front of a first draft. Why should I revise this, since I’m going to second draft the whole thing anyway?

In my humble case, I revise before rewriting because… my first drafts are so messy !!

Revising is the perfect opportunity to get to know the characters even better, to simplify, to trim those words and, at last, to make sure the story makes sense.
At least a little bit!

It needs to be done. It has to be done.

Motivation, the Revision Ultimate Foe

All of sudden, the house is sparkly clean.

The toys are back living in the toy boxes, the art and crafts things are all in the right place on the cupboard shelves. No dirty dishes got to relax in the sink until morning.

No dear. For this mama writer is re-vi-siiing!

At one point, I even cleaned up the tools box instead of revising the manuscript. That’s not how one with a dream of earning a living writing novels makes the donuts.

No dear.

How writers find motivation varies widely, depending on location, season, life situation.

It depends on the level of motivation we are able to conjure up or the things we do to reward our efforts.

I choose to share 3 ways to find motivation that – almost ! – always works for me, but I found a bunch of useful advice from writers all over Pinterest if the following are a never-will-I-ever-do-that for you.

3 Ways to Stay Motivated When Revising

When it comes to motivation tips and hacks, there’s one thing I learned to always keep in mind: there are no miracle tips, nor hacks.

You know it too, fellow writers.

Without further ado, here are my 3 ways to bring some motivation back into my revision process.

  • Print the manuscript and go throught one chapter a day minimum
    I take notes as I read, then it’s time for the computer. Once in front of the screen, some of the revision I juste makes the cut… or not, but I don’t start over.
    After all, the rewriting is coming me writer way!
  • Writing Sprints
    Either with other writers online (I haven’t done those in a very long while) or using either a timer – I use a good old houglass! – or an app to help me focused if I’m desperatly out of focus.
  • Back to Class
    Online with MasterClass or on AuthorTube, where many fellows writers came up with videos to teach or help writers, a class, a tutoriel can help sparks things up for me. I particulaly like « The Courtney Project ». She’s dedicated and inspiring, and her advices often motivates me to keep going.

Events like NaNoWriMo works for some, but not for me. I don’t do well under pressure and I cannot help but compare myself to others and it just gets me down.

Taking a writing retreat has been a secret dream of mine, but I know that, right now, I would miss my kid and my hubby-to-be way way way too much

Either you are trying to finish your novel or trying to get over the revision process, dear fellow writers, I wish you all the good words.

Until next time !

Understanding intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, by Phil Sennett, University of Rochester

Comment garder la motivation, by Dr. Denis Fortier, Radio-Canada Première (in French)

Auteur : Marie Alice

Writing away and reading books. Joy! Écrire à tout vent et lire des romans. Joie!

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