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The writing process

Learn more about aspects of the writing process to help you stay motivated and on track with your writing.

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Staying motivated

Acknowledge the difficulty

If you are struggling to stay motivated to write, the first step to feeling better about your writing is to acknowledge the difficulties that may be holding you back. For example, are you finding it hard to work because of how tired you are? Do you feel like the topic is too difficult or challenging? Or that you don't have information? Some common sources of frustration are listed below:

  • I am not interested in the topic
  • I do not know enough about the topic to write anything
  • I am too exhausted to put in the necessary effort into my writing
  • I am too busy to find the time I need to write my paper
  • I have an independent personal or professional challenge that is impacting my ability to focus on this project

Identify what you can change

Once you have diagnosed the factors that are impacting your ability to write, you will then have a better sense of what you can change to improve the situation or work around the challenges, especially when the situation cannot be changed. For example, depending on your situation, if you are not interested in a topic you might:

  •  Change your approach by focussing on a topic or an aspect of the topic that genuinely interests you.

A discussion with your instructor might also be necessary to explore whether subjects that interest you are possible topics for the assignment. However, if you cannot change the topic, your strategy should then focus on accepting the criteria as part of the reality you are working to address:

  • Focus on the benefits of learning more about this topic. After all, it is interesting to other people, and there is a reason you need to learn about the topic to write the paper and complete the program. With this perspective, what stands out to you as the most important aspects of the topic? Why does it interest others, including your instructor? See Visualize Your Reader for more information.

Reach out for support

You may also feel your writing is being affected by other challenges unrelated to writing, such as things happening at work or at home, because they are more important at that time than your academic work. If you are feeling this way, please see the resources included in Anxiety about Academic Writing and consider speaking with a RRU counsellor and/or learning strategist.

If you are looking for strategies to move forward when you feel stuck or can't focus, please proceed to the next two sections, and if you find it difficult to manage time and balance competing priorities, please see the sections under Ending on Time for more information.