There are many advantages to writing online whether you are a blogger, a writer hoping to make a living, or someone who would just like to build up a passive (or residual) income. However, it isn't always easy to get motivated and to stay motivated. Often online writers will get excited and write a bunch one day (week or month) and after a time they will loose their focus and the excitement will fade away. This often leads to less writing or long periods of time without publishing anything, which is counter productive to most people's goals (or hopes). Getting and staying motivated is often a process and one that most people need to repeat more then once as excitement comes and goes.

Setting Goals.
Setting goals is an important part of staying motivated. Without goals it is easy to get off course, get discoraged, and even forget what you wanted to accomplish. Goal setting is something many of us don't know how to do, but it doesn't have to be hard.

  1. Write your goals down. It isn't enough to just think up a few goals, you need to write them down. Writing them down will make it easier to evaluate them and keep them in mind for the future. It also makes it easier to evaluate them and to see if they are really accomplishable.
  2. Evaluate your goals to see if they are realistic. I could come up with some goals I would love to accomplish. One might be that I would like to make $1000 a month starting next month. This sure sounds good, but unless I have a realistic way of making it happen (and as of today I don't) then it isn't a good goal to keep on the list. After all, goals that aren't realistic are more likely to discourage you from continuing on rather then incourage and keep you motivated. So go through your goals and evaluate whether or not you believe they are realistic with what you are currently doing and what you currently know.
  3. Don't be afraid to fail. One huge problem with goal setting is that we are often afraid to fail. We are afraid that if we write it down then we will know for sure when we don't accomplish it. However, this also keeps us stuck where we are. We need to be willing to fail. Sure, no one wants to do it, but failure is often going to happen and weneed to be willing to work through that.
  4. Set performance goals and not outcome goals. Sure we all want specific outcomes to occur when we are writing online, but it is much easier to set performance goals. After all, we actually have the ability to influence what we get done verses what happens from what we get done.
  5. Set priorities. It is highly possible that you won't be able to get all of your goals done. After all, life happens. Work, kids, illness, and other things come up to take away from the time you might other wise get your goals done in. That's okay, that's just how life works.
  6. Re-evaluate your goals. As you learn more about what you are able to accomplish and what just isn't feasable you will want to re-evaluate your goals. Make adjustments according to what you can really get done.This way you can feel accomplished in what you get done.

Set Up a Schedule.
Once you have your goals written down and you are working toward getting them accomplished it is time to set up a schedule and stick with it. Make a plan of what you want to get done and how you are going to do just that. Once you have a schedule and a plan stick with it as much as you can. Keeping to your schedule is a way to help fight procrastination.

Fight Procrastination.
Procrastination is often the enemy of good intentions and wealthy ideas. We have a desire to do something or the need to do something and we put it off. The more we procrastinate the easier it is to keep doing it. While it isn't easy over coming it, it is important for the success of any writer. Keeping a schedule and working toward getting your goals done will help you fight procrastination and help you get things done.

Avoid the Money.
If you are like me then you probably check the sites you make money with and your Google Adsense at least once a day, maybe more then that. This can make it easy to get discouraged and feel down about it. Instead focus on your writing and check your money once a week or better yet, at the end of the month. This way it doesn't matter as much.

Keep a Record.
At the end of each month you should write down what you have accomplished. This can be a list of how many articles, blog entries, or even pages (if writing a book or such) as well as how much money you have made. This is something you can review. As long as you continue to work at it you will see your goals get accomplished more and your earnings increase.

Read Other's Reports.
Not everyone is honest in their earnings, but it can be helpful to read the reports of others. After all, it can fire you up and excite you. You can make more and you can do better. Reading a lot of these reports is often a great way to motivate yourself when you get to feeling a bit down. There is something electrical about the excitement that people pass around the Internet and you can catch it from others to help spur you on.

Think It Through.
At the end of each month think over what you have done, what you have worked on, and how it has gone. Now is the time to evaluate what is working and what isn't. It is also a good time to figure out how you feel about your earnings on certain sites. I always recommend that you give a new site at least 20 articles and three months before making a final decision. However, figuring out what works for you is going to be something that takes a lot of thinking through it. You will need to make adjustments to your plans according to what you like, dislike, what works, and what doesn't work for you.

Challenge Yourself.
Challenges aren't always easy to complete and probably shouldn't be put in the goals section of your life, but they can be exciting and can help get you working hard. You can challenge yourself in a lot of different ways or pick a site that is running a contest and work on trying to win it. Either way you can get a lot of writing done this way. For example, this month Info Barrel is running a contest and the person with the most points will get a $50 gift card. I would like to win it and therefore have decided I want to write enough to get at least 100 points. Other times I challenge myself to write a certain number of articles for the period of time. Not always can I make these challenges happen, but they get me excited and give me something extra to work toward.

Staying motivated is often hard work. It has to start with you having goals. Then you need to work on getting those goals done. You will also want to make sure that you are working toward obtainable goals. You will also need to avoid the regular disappointments and work on keeping yourself excited. Challenges can also get you really excited!Staying motivated takes work, but it is worth it in the end.