August 13, 2020 at 4:07 pm #118073
My name’s Laurel, and I’ve been working on a book for nearly seven years now. I began the project when I was in seventh grade, and as you might imagine, my writing capabilities have vastly improved since then. I’m now a sophomore in college majoring in English and minoring in Great Books, and while I have plenty of time to write, my motivation has been…well, lacking.
I finally have a solid plot map, a firm idea of what to do, and what I hope are the skills to pull it off, but I can’t seem to make myself do it. I want this sixth rewrite to be the last but haven’t been able to get past halfway through the story in several years. Which makes me sad, since I’ve come to love the characters and have visions of a whole series one day!
So, I guess my main question is this: how do y’all stick it in for the long game? What habits help you stay motivated and actually get things done on your draft? I’ve been through a few rounds with depression/anxiety which absolutely zaps my energy, and the pandemic certainly isn’t helping, so any advice relating to that would be awesome.
Thanks in advance—good luck with y’all’s projects! If anybody needs a critique partner I’d be happy to help 🙂
I say I won’t buy any more books until I’ve finished the ones I have, and then I laugh at myself.August 13, 2020 at 5:24 pm #118087Anne of Lothlorien@anne-of-lothlorien
Well, I struggle with this too. A lot. I’ve been working on my current WIP for a whole year and I have… seven chapters written. :I
Pure motivation wise, I usually like re-reading through old, unrelated works. Random poems, snippets from two years ago at that one McDonald’s in Kentucky, character descriptions I’d forgotten. Often times random words and unrelated thoughts can twist themselves into ideas and just what I needed to get writing again.
The thing that helps me the most mentally is remembering that nobody writes an amazing book without getting through this. J.R.R. Tolkien had writer’s block and C.S. Lewis spent days frustrated his characters wouldn’t work and Charles Dickens chewed his pen in frustration when nothing was coming. And yet these books are the ones we adore and devour and hold dear to our hearts today.
Nothing worthwhile comes from nothing. My frustration and suffering will turn into something beautiful, if I have the patience and fortitude to work through it.
And… prayer. Prayer, prayer, and a lot of prayer. 😀 I’d be happy to pray for you about this. Hope things get better for you!
I'm short, I like words, and I love people.
No, I didn't draw my profile pic.August 14, 2020 at 1:25 am #118104
Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve definitely found some stuff in my writing archives that I enjoy rereading, even if my old writing style sometimes makes me cringe 😅
Lewis has been my favorite author for a long time and I know Tolkien was equally awesome. Crazy how sometimes I forget my favorite authors are human, too!
Thank you also for praying for me—praying about writing, as well as prayer in general, are two things I can definitely get better at. I’m happy to pray for you too if you’d like 🙂
Thanks again for the advice, and good luck with your current story. You rock! <3
I say I won’t buy any more books until I’ve finished the ones I have, and then I laugh at myself.August 14, 2020 at 8:59 am #118109Zee@zee
Hi @law0413, nice to meet you and thanks for sharing! Could we have some more details on your story/series? Genre, what it’s about, etc.
In my opinion, what you need is to find someone (or several someones) whom you trust to read your work and keep you accountable. People who will push you to keep churning out new chapters and not get caught up on the hamster wheel of revising old stuff. People who will make you hold to the goals you set for yourself and be willing to push…”I haven’t seen a new chapter for a month, hey, what’s going on?”
You get people like that, and before you know it, your book will be written. Of course it won’t be perfect, you’ll have a lot of revising/editing to do, but you’ll have a book!August 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm #118130Ella@writergirl101
Hey Laurel! Nice to meet you!
I struggle with that BIG TIME. I think the furthest I’ve ever gotten to finishing something is 17 very long chapters. And even then I didn’t finish.
@anne-of-lothlorien and @zee made really good points. Authors are humans! I always forget that too. And having people come alongside you to help you finish really, really makes a difference. That’s what Story Embers is for, right? I’d be happy to help you in any way you need (critique, encouragement, reminders, etc). Even if someone just read something you’ve written so you know you’re not alone might be helpful.
I’d love to have a critique partner (when I’ve written a full chapter, that is ).
I don’t know if you’ve done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but that also really helps to keep yourself dedicated.
Newsletters are also encouraging to me–the one here on SE is great, and so is one at email@example.com. She has a beautiful heart and is really encouraging. If you want, I can forward an email to you that she sent out–it’s a super fast survey so she can be the most helpful to you personally in her newsletters. (no personal information required to take it) If you don’t want to share your email, she might have it on her website. Idk, though.
I hope you can push through to the end of your story!!
- This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Ella. Reason: mistake
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.August 14, 2020 at 6:34 pm #118140
@zee nice to meet you too! In terms of story details, it’s changed a little bit over the years, but the basic plot premise is about three 13-14 year-olds (class clown, goody two-shoes, and school bully) lost in the woods after a tornado wrecks the track bus they’re on. Genre has been a little hard to pin down, but given that the protagonists are teenagers, it’s technically young-adult. The first draft was more of a good old-fashioned adventure story like The Incredible Journey (or Homeward Bound, if you’re more familiar with the movie version). Right now, it’s taking on more of a psychological thriller/ghost story turn, with comedic moments sprinkled in. I’m taking a lot of my inspiration from Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and the like, but, as I’m a firm believer in happy endings, it won’t be nearly so bleak as some of those works. The series would be their further adventures–I’ve got some ideas floating around, like an old family mystery, a daring rescue from kidnappers, a crazy summer at camp, maybe even solving a murder or something like that.
I love the idea of finding accountability/critique partners! There are days when I’d much rather read the story than write it, and having someone else who’s as invested in it as I would be if I were just reading it would be fantastic. I’ve tried swapping stories with a friend from school, but, you know, COVID and all 🙂
Thanks so much for the advice, and I hope your projects are going well! <3
I say I won’t buy any more books until I’ve finished the ones I have, and then I laugh at myself.August 14, 2020 at 6:38 pm #118141
@writergirl101 Hi Ella! Nice to meet you too 🙂 I’d love for you to read it if you’d like! And that newsletter/quiz sounds like a fantastic resource–would you mind forwarding it? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want I can send you the draft I have so far. It’s about 18 pages as of last time I worked on it.
I’ve always wanted to try NaNoWriMo but am TERRIBLE when it comes to planning ahead for that…maybe this year I’ll give it a shot, though? And as soon as you’ve finished a chapter, send it my way! Reading other works in progress always gets me fired up about writing.
Thank you so much for the tips–I’m so grateful for them! <3
- This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Laurel. Reason: I suppose the post isn't an underlining fan
I say I won’t buy any more books until I’ve finished the ones I have, and then I laugh at myself.August 14, 2020 at 9:29 pm #118152Ella@writergirl101
I forwarded the thingy, so I hope you got it.
I’ve always wanted to try NaNoWriMo but am TERRIBLE when it comes to planning ahead for that…maybe this year I’ll give it a shot, though?
Great! I did it in July, but I didn’t have my novel planned at all, and I’m not a pantser, so it was challenging. (I’m a “plantser”, leaning on the “planner” side.) I was just so excited for it! But it was very helpful.
And as soon as you’ve finished a chapter, send it my way!
Reading other works in progress always gets me fired up about writing.
I’ll be sending a lot when you need inspiration, then.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
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