We all know how hard it is to keep writing. Beginning is easy. The idea is new, fresh. Ripe for writing. We can’t wait to dig in. Nothing keeps us from our new characters and our new story. Five chapters in, fifteen chapters in, maybe not so easy. And sometimes there are just so many other things that can crop up to get in the way. We don’t put them there. We wanted to write, of course we did, but the time disappeared. And when we do sit down to write, a blank page stares at us. What are we supposed to do with it?
How do you recapture the initial enthusiasm and get on with it?
- Get out of bed and write. This is (usually) when your motivation is highest. PJ’s are fine. Your characters won’t care if you’re not in your best bib and tucker. Just don’t get cold. You can get respectable afterwards (like you were ever going to!). Or if you’re not a morning person, sort out the best time for you and set the alarm on your phone, your cooker, whatever, to remind you to go and write.
- Take tea/coffee/diet coke/water/biscuits/paracetamol/band aid’s for paper cuts etc. with you to the computer. Otherwise you will feed the need to have at least one of the above as soon as you hit the blank screen.
- Write first. Blog, Twitter etc. only after the word count is achieved. No cheating. Or tell Twitter you will be writing in half an hour. Someone will probably bob up to ask if you’ve gone yet. (Has happened to me twice).
- Write on a machine that doesn’t have the internet. Disable it. Cast it to the dark side, where it belongs while you’re trying to write.
- Don’t read what you wrote yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. You’ll want to correct, revise and fiddle. That won’t help the word count and you’ll lose the thread of where you were going. Use your notes or that filing cabinet in your head where you keep all the chapters lined up. Or your imagination if you haven’t a clue where it’s going yet. But don’t read – get on with it.
And when you’re finishing your day’s writing…
- Break off in mid sentence. Not my tip, but a well-known ploy by some of the big writers. Even if you know how the sentence ends, especially if you know how the sentence ends, don’t write it. It gives you a head start tomorrow.
- Break halfway down the page. That way you won’t have that blank screen looking at you in the morning.
- Set a small word count for the following day. Make the word counts different each day. Days are different. You might have an idea of what the next one is going to look like. If you have a dental appointment for a root canal, a trip to the supermarket and your most un-favourite aunt visiting, chances are you will get less done than if you have a clear day with all the family out at Lego land. Be reasonable with yourself.
- Ring a friend and tell her/him you’ve achieved the word count. Needn’t elaborate. Just say that you’ve done it and ask after the cat. Doubtless you will be congratulated. Good. Announce it on Twitter. Shout it from the rooftop. Congratulate yourself. Hooray! You need this validation that you are a writer and you have done well.
- Give yourself a treat. An artist’s date, a walk in the park, a bubble bath, two chocolate biscuits, whatever is your bag. And tell yourself if you can do it today, you can do it tomorrow.
Any other thoughts?
What about you? What keeps you going after that initial buzz of the beginning? Do you have any tips on keeping on with the writing?