by Hannah Brown, Europe Blogger jaBlog!
It’s week three of NaNoWriMo. You’re about 12 chapters into your novel, and you can feel yourself lagging a bit. The work is getting dull, you’re tired, homework is piling up, the weather’s abominable, and the thought of sitting down and writing for an hour makes you want to tear your hair out.
First thing’s first: you are not alone. When you’re struggling with the word count, it’s easy to think that you’re the only one who is suffering, especially when you’re browsing the forums and see people who have already got 100,000 words. Look at bit closer at the forums: there are people who have the same, or around the same, word count as you do. Other people are desperately trying to keep their novels alive and character’s entertained, but it’s a challenging task.
It’s discouraging to think about authors like Hemingway or Conan Doyle who just wrote day after day after day without fail. They were professionals, right?
They were writers. And the great thing about writers is that if you’ve harnessed your literary dragon, well, anyone can become one. All you need are some helpful tips and a little bit of practice. Remember: every single writer in the world was young once, and every single writer once nearly gave up.
But the difference between a published author and someone with half a dozen unfinished books on their computer is one thing: the published author didn’t stop.
Here are six tips for writing when you don’t want to write:
#1. Add something that makes you smile. Adding something new to your novel gives your imagination and your novel a boost. It could offer a new obstacle and give the novel a completely new turn. Adding something fresh will keep you more entertained as well, and you’ll look forward to writing instead of settling on the same old thing.
#2. Music. Make a playlist for your novel. Even when you’re not writing, you can listen to it and it might inspire new ideas.
#3. Time yourself. Timing yourself creates pressure, which most people find easier to write under. If you don’t, perhaps this tip isn’t for you. When you set your timer (say, for 20 minutes) stop when the timer goes off. Finish your sentence, even if you’re half way through a great scene. When you’ve had a break and you come back to it, you’ll be raring to go.
#4. Warm up before you start. Laura recently did a challenge of writing for 2 minutes without any clear idea of where you’re going. It’s a great idea; not only does it warm up your brain, but it warms up your hands!
#5. Have an end goal. Having an end goal means that you can have something worthwhile to work towards. It doesn’t have to be writing related. It could be something like a trip to the cinema, a take away, reading that new book, going to the local coffee shop with your best mate. Make it something that you really want, otherwise you won’t want to work towards it.
#6. Get people to make you write. When all else fails, get someone behind prodding you with a big stick when your fingers stop moving. Seriously though, having some moral support can really keep your enthusiasm up and those words coming.
If the project really isn’t working for you, abandon it; there’s no point in trying to write something that just isn’t there. But, you’ve started this project: you must have cared about it at some point. Why did you stop caring? Your characters need you, they need their story to be told.
Writing isn’t meant to be a chore. It’s meant to be fun. And sometimes you just need to be reminded of the fun to keep doing what you’re good at. Good luck and let us know how you did!
When you are finished NaNoWriMo, consider applying for the NaNoWriMo Polly Prize sponsored by LTC.