Like many, I am a writer. And like many writers, I both believe it’s necessary to write every day (in theory) and difficult to make that aim a reality. Some days, I’m busy. Other days, I just feel stuck and the words won’t come. The last thing I want to do is fiddle around with that work in progress.
Every writer gets to that point, and we all need some way to find the push to keep going when we arrive there. Through the years I’ve developed some tips to carry me forward when I just don’t want to open that blasted file and deal with the draft and its issues.
- I remind myself what excited me about the story in the first place. Sometimes that’s enough to motivate me to power through a tough section.
- I’m a big “write every day” person, so I tell myself half an hour won’t be really that long of a struggle to make some headway, and afterward I’ll feel good about myself for diving in. Sometimes, I get on a roll and when that half an hour is up, I feel inclined to write a little longer.
- If I’m editing and up against a scene (or group of scenes) that frustrates or bores me, I consider whether some of that material can come out. How much of it is vital to the story? A scene that doesn’t interest me or that I want to shirk from is a red flag, after all. (Perhaps. Not always…. Sometimes it has the potential to be great, and I’m just feeling lazy to make the changes I need to. But it’s always worth considering where that malaise is coming from.)
- I remember how much I love calling myself a writer. And I think that I can’t do that if I don’t write. While I know taking a short break doesn’t disqualify me from that title, I acknowledge that a short break is the first step to a longer one, and a longer one still.
- I haven’t been so good about this lately, but when I know my day is going to be jam-packed, I try to get up a little early and get some writing in before I do anything else. Then I can just do what I need to do and not worry about squeezing some writing time in somewhere along the way.
One of the biggest keys to writing and polishing up a novel is just to figure out some way to do the work when you don’t feel like it or you don’t have the time. So, I’m curious: how do you get motivated when the going gets tough? Does anyone promise him or herself a reward? Set deadlines and stick to them, come hell or high water? For someone with discipline, that’s a great strategy. (I’ve decided I will release “The King’s Sons” sometime in 2013, making my deadline December. It’s out with beta readers, so that’s a reasonable goal, I think. If I don’t make it, I don’t make…. But I’m feeling like I should.)