The joy of writing and completing a story should be the thing that motivates all writers to write. It should give you some happiness and joy, telling the story in your head and seeing it become alive on the page. It should.
But it don’t. Even doing something you enjoy can become tedious, especially when you hit a creative block and can’t just get the words to flow. Or you might be having a not so good day or there are just other things you want to do, like Netflix and pizza.
Every writing session doesn’t have to be sparkles and tulips. It’s okay if you don’t enjoy writing sometimes — although if you consistently hate it, maybe re-evaluate whether you even like writing at all. Sometimes, it is fine to take a break.
Other times, you are on a deadline either self-imposed because your book is in pre-order and you still need to finish writing or a personal one you set yourself. The words need to be written, but you don’t wanna! What do you do then? Well, I don’t know about you, but here are a few things that work for me that get me wanting to write again. I haven’t done research. All of these are things I have done that usually work for me.
Read a book.
Read something new or one you’ve read before. Read your favorite book, or one by an author you admire. Don’t dwell on that author’s success or ‘how much better they are than you’. Unless you’re competitive like me, and it compels you to try and write a book equal or better than theirs. But reading other stories gets me thinking about certain aspects or scenes or ideas, and how I can adapt them or modify them. When I first started writing, I wrote fanfiction, so I think that’s one of the reasons why my brain is so open for more ideas.
Take a break.
I don’t mean go on a year long hiatus, but taking a step back from your project might do some good. You could deep clean the house, hang out with friends, take the dog on a walk, interact with people. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and doing other tasks or activities gives your brain a chance to work on the story in the back of your mind. Then suddenly, as your elbow deep washing dishes, that niggling plot point you couldn’t figure out solves itself from out of nowhere and you have to fling water from your hands while rushing to find pen and paper to write it down before it vanishes.
Work on a different project.
I usually am working on two books, if not more at a time. Writing always give me other ideas, and a lot of If I have an idea, I take it as far as I like, for as long as I have ‘inspiration’ or ideas for it. I rotate around. Sometimes I will dedicate myself to one to write, and the other is just notes and outlines. Sometimes, I am actively drafting several at the same time. My brain works that way. Yours may not. And that is totally okay. I might be more productive if I solely wrote one story at a time, but I don’t like that restriction.
Talk to your (writer) friends.
Talking to your non-writerly friends is good too, but they may not ‘get it’ when you tell them about the OTP end goals, and your muse is failing, and none of the characters are cooperating. You might sound like a crazy person. However, if you do have them as support and they don’t mind listening to you compla — er, discuss your writing woes and triumphs, definitely use — I mean…well, yeah. Use them. As friends do.
Or maybe I should say, ‘reward’ or treat yo’self.
I like buying things. I buy things when I’m happy, I buy things when I’m sad. I’m trying to do better with that because fiscal responsibility should be a thing. When I hit a 10,000 word count on one — or across several projects if I want to cheat — then I can buy one of these traveler’s notebooks. I’m a little bit obsessed with them, but I am convinced that they are a writer’s essential tool. For me, at least.
Compete with others.
I get my competitive side from my mama. We used to have family spade tournaments that lasted for days and kept the house up until 1 A.M. sometimes — another plus for homeschooling. I like winning. So there’s a thing called mywriteclub.com. It’s a little bit sprint house, a little bit project tracker, a little bit chat room. You and other writers can sprint together real time, and watch each other’s progress — without anyone seeing what you’re writing, just the numbers. You can automatically have your work saved to Dropbox or you could copy and paste it over each time, which is quite tedious. Now you don’t win anything for writing more than anyone except for that bit of self-satisfaction
I am (mostly) kidding about that last part. I think I’m very funny, okay?
Sit down and write. The other things may not motivate you, and you still don’t want to write so be an adult about this. Treat the writing like somethnig you have to do, like eating or breathing or going to work and doing your job. Take this seriously. Why are you writing? For fun or for your career? If it’s for fun, then sure, wait for the ephemeral muse to descend from the heavens and kiss your brow and bless you with inspiration. Or sit down and write your story so you can edit it so you can get a cover and write the blurb and self-publish it or get an agent and go traditional.
Also, I’m doing a new thing to help support other Indie Authors a little bit. At least every time I post, a new book will be linked at the bottom of each one. It is an affiliate link, so if you click through and buy the book, I get a few cents from the sale.
This week’s book is Stars Like Fate by Brie Farmer. It’s a fantasy romance and her debut novel. Can we take a moment to appreciate the cover art?