We all know the feeling of sitting in front of the computer and staring down a blank Word document (or, if you’re a hipster working on your next screenplay, a Pages document) and trying to motivate ourselves to actually do that essay we’ve been putting off all week. A lot of the time, writing is something we have to do rather than something we get to do. We know there are people somewhere who actually like writing, but we don’t know what radioactive printer ink they fell into to make them that way, and the customer service guy at Staples just gives you a weird look when you ask him about it. But there’s really nothing special about people who enjoy writing. In fact, you can learn to enjoy writing starting right now (or at least when you get your next writing assignment). Here are some tips to help you get motivated!
When you can, choose a prompt that actually interests you. This might seem obvious, but
it’s easy to just pick randomly, or pick the topic that would require the least amount of research. And while it might be a bit more work to research an interesting topic, it’ll be work you actually enjoy. “But wait,” you might say, “I don’t have time to do any more work!” Well that leads into number two …
Life is busy, and it’s hard to make time for all the things that are on our plates. But one way to ensure you won’t enjoy your writing is to wait until the last minute to begin. Usually, at least in college, you’ll know what papers you have to write for each class right at the beginning of the semester (check your syllabus). You don’t have to be that guy who finishes all his coursework before the first class, but starting your paper a couple of weeks before the due date will mean you’ll be able to write stress-free, or at least more stress-free than if you were rushing to get the paper in on time.
By far the best way to enjoy writing is to bring your topic into “the real world.” Generally speaking, just getting an A isn’t a strong enough motivator to get people to care about writing (beyond just checking all the boxes on the rubric). But when we connect our topic with something we genuinely care about, we find that it has significance beyond that single assignment. Whether it’s learning about something we’re interested in or expressing an opinion we’re passionate about, writing is a great vessel for engaging the world around us. When we look at writing this way, and not just as something we have to do to appease our professor, writing is, dare I say it, really enjoyable!