Write More By Understanding Your Motivation Style

Do you want to write more consistently or understand why you’re experiencing writer’s block? Knowing your motivation style could be the answer you’re looking for to hit those writing goals, and more importantly, to develop compassion towards yourself when you’re struggling to add words to the page.

A writing habit is an essential component of writing a lot and doing it consistently. Before writing becomes a habit there’s one daunting challenge to overcome, and I’m sure we all know its name.


Indulge me as I preamble, but every habit comes in three stages:

  1. Excitement: also known as inspiration, it’s the initial burst of interest that gets you fixated on the project.
  2. Motivation: the drive that keeps you going once the initial excitement inevitably fades out (which it will). It doesn’t burn as hot, but it burns for longer. It comes in three types, which we’ll discuss below.
  3. Habit / Discipline: once you know your motivation style and how to play to its strengths, writing becomes a habit because you know how to keep yourself interested in the project long-term.

Disclaimer: Motivation styles can change over time and people will often experience multiple styles at once. For example, I tend to display both dynamic and resilient styles. This is completely normal!

Dynamic Motivation (Wind Style)

You’re the type who is easy to excite and easy to lose interest. A project will catch your attention quickly and you’ll make explosive progress, only to lose interest after a week and want to start writing something else. Some people call this bout of boredom writer’s block, others laziness.

The good news is, they’re both wrong!

The usual response taken by a dynamic type when the initial excitement fizzles out (or the usual advice people give them) is to force themselves to keep writing. This type of advice will not work for you, for your motivation ebbs and flows like the wind and waves. The key is to play into your nature, not stand against it. Give yourself permission to let your mind wander for the time being, then come back to the project. Try having multiple projects on the go, that way you can switch between them as your motivation rises and falls. By rotating between the same projects, your progression will start to accumulate.

Keep an eye out for anxiety, especially when you feel you’re not progressing fast enough. Remember that your progression will accumulate over time, and if you feel it creeping in, remind yourself that it will also ebb and flow just like your motivation. Your mind is a beautiful, dynamic place! The anxiety won’t last for long.

Driven Motivation (Fire Style)

This is the classic motivation that our hustle culture society likes. If you have the driven style, you demonstrate a steady level of motivation as well as high ambition. Like fire, you find it easy to write at a consistent pace as you burn through your writing goals.

Burnout will be the thing to trip you up as your ambition gets the better of you. If you’re struggling to put words on the page or you feel overwhelmed, take a break and evaluate the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself lately. Have you set your goals too high? Are you skipping self-care to write more? Are you trying to do everything at once? Is the thought of missing deadlines paralysing?

During your break, you’ll feel anxious about not hitting those consistent goals, (which can make you not want to start writing again) but it’s important to remember that you don’t need to take on too much. You are amazingly consistent and you will hit those goals, but only if you spread them out sensibly. Fire is dangerous because it burns, but it also has amazing power for good.

Resilient Motivation (Earth Style)

You are a marathon runner, not a sprinter like the driven style. You start slowly and will often be overtaken by other writers who start at the same time, but don’t worry because once you hit your top speed, you’ll become unstoppable. You will find it difficult to sink into a project but will pick up speed as time progresses.

Your weakness? Impatience. You won’t get an explosive or consistent start like the other styles. As a resilient type myself, I know it’s easy to get frustrated and self-critical when you think you’re not hitting the goals you want, but don’t give up yet. Most resilient types will give up just before they reach their first moment of success and just before they reach the speeds they’re happy with. Keep at it, because once you start, you’re unstoppable.

In Conclusion

Let’s look at one part from the intro again:

  1. Habit / Discipline: once you know your motivation style and how to play to its strengths, writing becomes a habit because you know how to keep yourself interested in the project long-term.

By understanding the three motivation styles and which ones you’re prone to, you will understand exactly why you’re struggling to write. Either follow your motivation to a different project before returning (dynamic), take a look at whether you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, too fast (driven), or remind yourself that you might be slow now, but give it a week and you’ll be unstoppable (resilient). Never let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you’re being lazy because that’s not true. It’s just the anxiety getting in your way, and once you understand it, you can overcome it.

Keep writing you beautiful people,


Source: 3 Motivation Styles Determined by Personality. If you have the time, this is well worth watching in its entirety. If you are short on time, the timestamps are below:

  • Intro: 0:00 - 12:09;
  • Dynamic Motivation Style: 12:10 - 18:59;
  • Driven Motivation Style: 19:00 - 21:57;
  • Resilient Motivation Style: 21:58 - 26:29
  • Recap: 26:30 +

This is actually really helpful! I’ve seen that YouTube channel around before, but I didn’t realize it had such interesting advice in some of their videos. I’ll have to look at some of their others.

I’m like 75% the Earth Style, 20% Wind Style, and 5% Fire Style. :joy: Just get those very rare bursts of motivation that I follow through with, usually neglect myself in the process, and then quit. But for the most part I’m Earth Style (always knew I would be an earthbender). Hearing this makes me sound like a way less lazy person! Thank you for sharing this with all of us here! :star2:


I am the wind!


Earth benders unite! :mountain:

Dr. K is definitely worth following! It can be hard to break into his longer videos, but he has lots of shorter ones that are more digestible in his playlists (especially the motivation playlist). His passion for encouraging people to avoid describing themselves as lazy really helped me change my mentality when it came to writer’s block. A little self-compassion goes a long way :sparkling_heart:


With enough time, the wind can reduce a mountain to dust :wind_face: :mountain:


Okay, I’m fire, but let’s just say I’m a slow, steady smoldering fire and not a roaring blaze. (*・_・)ノ⌒*


Thanks so much for this–explains a lot, lol!


Mix of type one and two. 3rd isn’t me at all.


I’m the Wind~

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Those types of fires are always the most beautiful, in my opinion!


I think I’m Fire Style and Earth Style. I used to write 7K a week (1K words daily) then I was hit with a major burnout. Which I’m still in. Now, I’m taking things slow. Just having a rough patch of IRL and stuff as well. I immediately stop writing when I feel the writing is getting sloppy etc. On a good day, I get 600 words down. But I don’t force anything anymore.


I’m glad you found a way through your burnout. Best of luck with your writing!

I immediately stop writing when I feel the writing is getting sloppy etc.

This is good advice I’d like to follow more often. I tend to push my way through it instead of assessing why my writing’s going downhill. Most of the time all I need to do is change the setting/ circumstances of a scene for it to work, but I can’t think that logically when I’m forcing it. I’ll be following your lead when it comes to this :grin:

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I used to do this as a teen. :laughing: Ended up screwing my scenes and pacing in the long run. Sometimes taking some time off the chapter/scene makes all the difference. Usually, when you return with a fresh set of eyes, you can gauge the chapter better. This is how it goes through multiple minor edits instead of having to rewrite a whole scene. Thing is, society pushes for one to constantly work, even when it isn’t healthy for either you and the story. Your health comes first; the story will quickly follow in its own time.


Well said!

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I think I’m like donkey from Shreck when it comes to writing. I write because I write. Success, failure, good, bad, sad, happy… I still write. It’s getting me to shut up that’s the trick.


That’s an awesome analogy. You need to use it for a smartass character, explaining themselves. As it’s a kid’s movie, many of the teens on WP would understand the reference.


I’m a bit of a wind and a bit of fire. Sometimes, I can knock down a lot at a time and can keep myself motivated with a “failure is not an option” mentality.

But then when comparing myself to other writers, I’m a bit of an Earth too. During NaNoWriMo sprints, some writers can produce 1500 words in a 20 min sprint when it would take me a few hours to write as much. But then at the end of the month, I’d win nano and they wouldn’t. I’m a tortoise, I guess.

Okay so this whole categorization doesn’t even matter.

Why is everyone so obsessed with labels?

But really what motivates me the most is that I write what I want to read. I want to read this story but someone needs to write it first, so I step into the writer’s shoes and show up to work.


Call somebody the wrong label and find out.

No, but seriously, it’s the learning structure that’s wired into the species. You learn what a dog is by classification, so you may say dog for a cat, horse, pig because they’re all 4 legged animals that are like a dog to your forming mind. Then you get dogs and cats separated, then breeds.

So humans, due to their learning limitations, forcibly keep things in groups so that way when they say one word, the whole of them springs to mind.

The problem is that once we label something, we hate for it to change.

A kid cries when daddy takes off his beard, an adult cries when you call them something they are not.


Hiya! Just letting you know the source I got this information from was from Harvard educated Dr. Alok Kanojia who practices psychiatry for a living. They’re not arbitrary, meaningless labels but tools to help people understand the mental processes going on behind the scenes when you’re working.

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I’m not discrediting the research, it’s most likely a legit study of human nature, but I think it’s important to denote that people can experience many types of motivations and putting a label on yourself too early, before you have a chance to explore your creativity can be harmful.

If I for example, look at the “failure is not an option” mentality I sometimes get myself into, and that puts me in the Fire label. And the downfall of that is burnout, right?
I sure do experience that.

But is that all there is to me? If I’m not feeling productive, is it guaranteed that I’ve hit a burnout?

Or is it more because my mind is dynamic and goes through phases - like what you describe as the Wind type?

In the end, the recommendations for each motivation type sort of mean the same thing: take a moment, breathe, and hang in there. Trust your creativity.

And in that case, how does labeling help?

I’m not saying it’s not helpful advice - it is. But it works better as a list of things to try than as a label.