It’s December, and quite a few people have finished NaNoWriMo. And even if you didn’t finish or get to the 50,000 goal, that’s quite okay too- at least you set it in your mind that you would try to write a story in November.
I might be slightly jealous of those who did win.
But now comes the hard part.
Staying motivated through the holidays and even through the rest of the year can be quite the challenge for those of you who have frequent writer’s blocks, plot bunny escapes, and artistic burnout.
Not to mention, it seems as though your time might be shortly spread. There always seems to be something much more important to do, but that’s another subject for a different time.
So here are a few ways that I’ve devised to get yourself motivated, back in that writing chair, and typing or scribbling away.
1. Know What Gets You Excited, And Use It To Your Advantage.
This is one of the MOST important things that I can emphasize on this post. What makes you want to write or inspires you to write? Is it the fun exchanges that your characters have? Is it the beautiful backgrounds that you love to describe? Or maybe it’s even the awesome features that your writing program has? Know what interests you and abuse the heck out of it.
I, for instance, love to write fun character dialogue. I love watching my kiddos bounce off of each other and interact. Sometimes I don’t even write the scenes in order because I just want to get to the fun parts, and once I’m in the writing mood, I go back and build up to the fun character scene. It all depends on what you, as an individual and a writer, gets that kindling flame for writing that’ll turn into a wildfire.
Colors spices things up too, and can help you identify your characters in your draft. Just be sure that your characters are identifiable after your finished product even when the colors are gone.
“I love you, Monica!”
“I love you too, Brad!” She screamed, reaching out for his hand.
Luke looked over at Brad who was leaning over the the railing on the playset, just a few inches shy of Monica’s hand, who was standing on the ground. He scoffed and rolled his eyes at the two’s pathetic portrayal of last night’s show on The Bachelorette.
(my apologies to colorblind people)
2. Warmups For The Brain.
Just like a singer warms up their voice or an artist warms up their wrist for drawing, a writer warms up their brain for writing. So y’know what I said earlier about “Know what excites you, and use it to your advantage?” This is exactly where it comes in handy. You don’t even have to write a scene from your novel, just write what’s fun for you! It doesn’t have to be a part of your novel if you don’t want it to. It’s supposed to be a fun warm up rather than your dreaded practice routine. If you can’t think of anything, pick a writing prompt that sounds interesting to explore. There are a bunch of writing prompt articles out there that can be found just by typing in “Writing prompts,” but I personally recommend this NaNoWriMo forum thread just purely for the amount of more original and random prompts there are.
3. Get Someone To Read Your Work.
Nothing motivates like hearing good feedback on your writing. Notice that I say GOOD feedback. There will be a time when thoughtful critiquing should be welcomed (there is a difference between constructive criticism and criticism), but when you’re just trying to motivate yourself, this won’t be the time. Ask a trusted family member, friend, or online buddy to read your work. Tell them that you’re trying to get motivated and ask them to tell you which parts they liked the best. Make sure they understand that you’re not looking for someone to point out your flaws just yet, unless getting ANY type of useful feedback motivates you.
Here are some acceptable answers if you’re looking for some constructive criticism:
“Your dialogue between the characters are good, but the accent with (insert character name) is a little too hard to read. Could you edit it a little bit?”
“I think your character is great, but his reaction seems a little fake. Could you change it to where it would be a little more realistic?”
Here are some NOT acceptable answers as constructive criticism:
“Your dialogue stinks. Change it.”
“I hate the characters. If your whole novel is going this way, stop writing now.”
So that’s all I have for you on the topic of motivation. I really hope this helps some of you. Thanks for your time!
—Editorial Notice from Rebecca. M—
Hello guys, just a quick note to tell you guys that we will be on hold with all posts from December 15th (today) till the 2nd week of January due to the holidays, but will be back with a bang and ready to post again then!