KNOWHOW To keep writing

Finding the motivation to keep on with our writing can be challenging, especially now. KnowHow Editor, Eleanor Pender has a few suggestions. 

Shakespeare supposedly wrote King Lear during the bubonic plague. This was a fact shared early on in the first lockdown, and the idea that people could use the time to learn a new language, try out a new hobby, or stay writing a novel was widespread. 

It did not take long to realise that not everyone would write their King Lear in 2020. Looking back now, this makes perfect sense. We have all responded to lockdowns, working remotely, home schooling children in a variety of ways. And on top of all this, as writers, if we are able to do so, it can make a big difference to a day if we can find the energy and motivation to check in with our current work-in-progress.

Blocking off time can be a real challenge. The free Writers’ HQ online writing retreats can help with this. Hosted over the weekend and on some weekdays, currently Wednesdays, the WHQ team kick off the day with a bit of accountability. How many words do you want to write today? How long can you write for? Maybe you’re hoping to revise and submit a short story, edit a novel draft or get back into a regular journaling practice. However you start, you can work away and share goal check-ins over the course of the day. These sessions were a real lifesaver for me last year, helping me carve out time a few times a week and building a regular writing habit. 

Having periodic check-ins may not work for you. If you prefer a more fluid approach, more and more writing groups are setting up online meetings. Whether groups use rooms on Facebook or in WhatsApp, or even a zoom meeting room, fellow writers gather together to write, edit, work away quietly but with others there with them. Some work with cameras off, some on. The accountability is there – I’m on this ‘call’ and I will do the work while I’m here – but there is the flexibility that you can step away at any time. Members can ask around in the SCBWI BI Facebook Group and there is sure to be a group you can join. 

For those wanting to build on their word count by themselves but looking for something extra to kickstart their motivation, 4thewords may be the novel approach you’re looking for. Described as an online writing game, 4thewords encourages users to grow their daily word count and maintain a healthy writing habit. You can aim for 444 words a day and are rewarded for building up writing streaks. The difference is, you create a hero and battle monsters as you write your own words. Is the pen mightier than the sword? 4thewords would say they are one and the same! 4theword offer a 30-day free trial. 

We all come to our writing in different ways. If you have a different approach or method, KnowHow would love to hear about it! Send in an email or comment below.

Main Image by Jake Blucker

Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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