Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Motivation for novel writing

It's really difficult to not get distracted when you work from home because there are a million things you could be doing verses the one thing you should actually be doing. If you woke up this morning with only a smidge of interest in working on your novel or writing project, trust me, it will be very easy to achieve little or nothing today.

So how can you stay motivated?

First of all, set yourself a realistic target for the day. Something along the lines of editing 100 pages, writing the first draft of a chapter, or piecing together a sub plot using a spider diagram. Try not to beat yourself up if it doesn't happen for you, but do everything you can to complete the task by the end of the day. That in itself will give you a massive boost.

Allow yourself some day dream time (maybe when you're making and eating breakfast - or lunch - or both) and let the buoyancy of the day dream carry you for a moment or two. It's ok to get swept up in best case scenarios (I do it all the time!) but don't turn the dreams into your expectations. You'll only be setting yourself up for a mighty fall...

Finally, write what you love and love what you write - and do all that unconditionally. Trends and markets are important (and they should always be sitting in the back of your mind) BUT if it's coming out stilted, you'll know straight away and it'll put you right off. DON'T think too much about the technicalities. DO focus on the heart of the story. Tuning and fine tuning come much later. That's what second, third, fourth and fifth drafts are for!

As I was telling a friend, when I'm in the zone with my writing, I'm really in the zone. That writing place, that I hope for the writers out there you can connect with, is simply magical. The words flow, the plot thickens, the characters come alive in the visual inside my head - and the secret is to capture it in words before reality drags you back to, well, reality. When I wrote my first novel, I would say I probably only found that peace about four or five times in the space of six months. The rest of the time I teetered on the edge, my everyday To Do list sitting there in the back of my mind, bugging me and distracting me. Does it affect your creativity and output? Of course it does, and it also causes frustration and resentment. To escape is self indulgent and selfish, but that's how I write my best stuff, so I'll never change it.

A few years ago now, a friend and colleague gave me some advice when I kept making excuses about why I couldn't write daily. Apparently Yoda says in Star Wars "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Sandy wrote this on a piece of paper for me and I still have it pinned to my noticeboard in my home office today. It's amazing the impact a few words can have. They were the catalyst to get my first novel finished after so long. I guess what I'm trying to say is - find your motivation and hold on to it (for dear life in many cases), so you can fulfill your potential and complete whatever writing goals you've set yourself today, this week, this month, this year and beyond.

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