Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a great time over the holidays. And, I hope if you're writing (or planning on writing), you stick with it. It's easy when life gets in the way to let writing slip down your priority list - don't let that happen to you. Here are my tips on how to maintain your passion for your story, and see it all the way through to the end.
1. Remember why you started it
You didn't commit to the scary craziness that is writing a novel for nothing. Something awesome - a character, a world, a cool premise - sparked your interest enough to even think about writing a whole book. When you're staring at a blank page and can't figure out how to get things moving again, always return to that seed. Maybe it doesn't excite you anymore. That's okay. It happens. But more often than not, you just lose sight of it. Refocus and you can push through!
2. Listen to your instincts
Maybe you've taken a wrong turn, or you've lost the sense of who your characters are. You could be losing interest because you know, deep down, that you need to step back and have a think before moving forward. This is great! It saves you time in the long run if you don't need to trash half a novel because it's flat or plain wrong. Think back to when you last loved your novel, and how it could take a different turn.
3. Ignore negative voices
This is a big one. It's so, so easy to let outside influences bring you down. Maybe no one understands your dream of becoming a published author, or rejections come flooding in and you don't see the point in pressing forward with a new manuscript. Writers deflect a lot of awkward questions and opinions, especially over the holidays - it's a minefield, I know. Shut all of this out and focus on what you can control - your story. Don't ever believe that it's not worth your while.
4. Break it into manageable chunks
Everyone struggles through The Middle. It's a maze of possible wrong turns and difficulties - don't stress. Take it one scene at a time. Don't fret about word count, and work at your own pace. Don't worry about how much you have left to write or fix. Think about how excited you are to find out what happens next.
5. Pause when you could write more
I find it really effective to stop writing right before something is about to happen. Unless I'm really in the zone, I always give myself a 'reward' for returning to my desk - a confrontation I can't wait to write, a kissing scene...anything. I also often write the first paragraph of a new chapter or scene before I stop so I have something to work with when I start writing again. I find this really helpful.
Sometimes, the passion for that story really isn't there anymore. Don't stress. It happens to everyone. But often, if you keep pushing, you can maintain passion for your story - enough to keep you ploughing through revisions and beyond.
Here's to a successful year of writing, everyone!