Many days have passed with me sitting and staring blankly at the unfinished manuscript on my computer screen. You’ve done this too, yes? So how do you get your groove back?
You’ve probably heard the same suggestions repeatedly about how to get inspired.
- Read, read, read.
- Write every day.
- Keep your butt in the chair.
- Yadda, yadda, yadda…
That’s all well and good, and true, but sometimes universal advice doesn’t fit our busy schedules or jive with our motivation level. Then what? Throw the manuscript on the fire, toss the computer out the window, curl up in the fetal position and weep?
Writing a novel is hard. Here are a few ways I stay motivated and inspired. Maybe a couple will resonate with you.
- Move – Get your butt OUT of the chair and shake it. Yes, dance! Or clean the house, take a walk – whatever. Don’t just sit staring at the computer screen. Get your blood flowing. Me? I grab my iPod and head out the door. This helps my neurons get their synapse on. Walking through my neighborhood, I write scenes in my head about the people or things I see. When I get back home, my brain is in full functioning order, and I’m ready to write.
- Treat a notebook like an appendage – You know you’ve had moments when a great idea, a random thought, or a line of dialogue pops into your head. Of course, when that happens you’re in the grocery store checkout, or waiting in your car for your kid’s soccer practice to end. Don’t lose the mojo! Take a notebook wherever you go. Keep one in the car, next to the bed, in the bathroom even. Have one with you always. Get one surgically attached! Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
- Move forward, back or anywhere but where you are – A book does not have to be written in chronological order. If you’re stuck, write a different section. When I get a story idea, I usually know the beginning, end, and a couple scenes in the middle. When I’m not sure how to get from “A” to “B,” I’ll write one of the sections I already have mapped out in my head. Then I figure out what needs to happen in between.
- Step back –Take a couple days to rethink the storyline and plot. Maybe write an outline. Fill out a character development worksheet like this one from Deviant Art, or this graphic worksheet I found on Pinterest. After you do some thinking, plotting and developing, go back and push forward.
- Give it up – Yes, this is okay. Don’t quit writing altogether, but ditch the work if it’s not working for you. I’ve abandoned projects with 30k words into them. If you’re like me you have another twenty ideas in your head or a project that needs revision. Develop these. Maybe someday you’ll go back to the project you left behind. Don’t feel guilty; moving on is not failing. Some manuscripts are simply not meant to be.
I hope these ideas have helped some of you at least a little bit. May your muse be your guide. Happy writing!!
Megan (pronounced with a long “e”) Bostic is the mother of two crazy beautiful girls, living in the rainy, but lovely Pacific Northwest. She has an unhealthy obsession with sock monkeys, loves pizza, soccer, the color black, and the sun. She is the author of YA titles Never Eighteen and Dissected. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and at her blog, http://meganbostic.blogspot.com/