The National Novel Writing Month is coming up!
Here’s a short pep-talk from me to you, to make sure you are well equipped with great motivational strategies! ❤
NaNoWriMo participants (and every other writer visiting my blog); I wish you awesome results and lots of fun!!!
1. Love your outline
You’re in charge. You should write about whatever you want to write about the most – and laugh out of happiness because YOU are in charge and can make ANYTHING happen. What would you love to write about? That’s your story. Develop it into an outline – polish it, add a few disasters and fall in love with it. It is so much easier to keep writing a story that you really love to write and would love to read. And when you have an outline – even on days you feel less inspired, you know what to write about.
2. Love your characters
You don’t love them yet? Okay, here’s what to do…
All important characters: Write down what their main story line is, why they are there in your story (for their own reasons!), what their dreams and goals are – what they desperately want, what embarrasses them, what makes them laugh, how they see the world, what their worst memories are, what thing from their pasts holds a grudge on them, what truly makes them angry, what they love to do, what fascinates them, what their humour is like, what funny quirks they have, what their darkest sides are.
In short: What motivates them? From what point and to what point do they develop during the story? Give them time to develop. Make them sympathetic but flawed. Funny flaws are good. Nobody likes a perfect hero, or even worse, a perfect villain. The more you understand even your villains, the better your story gets. Truly see what’s going on beneath the surface – and enjoy what your characters start teaching YOU about your story… Let your awesome characters take you on for a ride.
3. Time management
The words you put on the paper may turn into magical stories. But you still have to write it in our everyday, down-to-earth world under normal natural laws. We don’t have time turners. We can’t pause time. So make time to write in your very normal every day schedule. That’s the way to go. Make time to write and keep it precious – as if meeting up with an old friend for coffee. Don’t trade your friend for other people or solitaire. Make time. Meet up. Start writing.
By the way: Setting aside even an hour regularly will help you get going. These days are the fuel to your project. Occasional marathon days of 4 hours or more will do wonders to your writing as well – these days are the fire to your fuel. Make them happen.
4. Set goals, but be flexible.
Concrete deadlines can make you work twice as fast with twice as many ideas. But I’m also talking about evaluating your project, estimating realistically how long it will take to get done, put your S.M.A.R.T. goals into writing – put your goals into smaller step stones.
Did you finish the chapter you wanted to write this week? Achieving even these little goals is such a great feeling – and seeing that you are able to reach the smaller ones makes you inevitably reach the bigger ones. Word after word, sentence after sentence, chapter after chapter. Tadaaa. It turned into a book. 10 % magic, 90% labour and stubbornness. Finished your book? That is 100% awesomeness.
Keep track of your progress in a journal. Even after a couple of weeks you’ll be able to look back and see that you have already achieved some of your goals. This is great and you should feel good about it. Happy, even. You’re one the right way. Keep going.
By the way, it is not important that you reach every goal. Sometimes life gets in your way, so you must stay flexible. What’s important is that you are moving in the direction of your dreams. Every book starts with one word, one sentence, one chapter, you get the picture. Keep reaching small writing goals and you will finish your novel.
5. Stay engaged with other writers
I especially recommend Twitter. To me it is so much easier becoming motivated on days that I felt uninspired when I drink my morning coffee and simultaneously see that three of my author friends on Twitter ask how my awesome work in progress is going right now, another ten wrote inspirational things about writing and another twenty posted writing tips, research photos, how they reached their weekly goals, and so on.
You are not alone. That’s a good thing. Motivate other awesome writers and be inspired by their own courage to write books. We are all in this “risky” business, hoping that someone will someday read our stories. Connect with other dreamers and believers – and they will help you stay motivated. Go do it. You’re welcome.
6. Do a couple of those things you KNOW are good for you
Yes, I’m talking about occasionally trading coffee and chocolate for a salad or sleeping enough or even talking a walk OUTSIDE. I’ve heard it is supposed to do wonders to the imagination.
7. Reward yourself
We’re all related to Pawlow’s dog. Knowing what you want to do for rewarding yourself can help you stay motivated. Make your own ritual. What will you do when the next chapter is done? Eat an insane amount of your favourite ice cream? Drink that awesome wine you’ve been saving? Buy that thing you wanted? Go to the beach and just drink in the view? Read a really cheesy book or watch a funny tv show? Play with your dog? Incentives are famous for working.
8. Believe in yourself
Nothing kills my motivation as fast as the feeling that I’m not good enough. Well, we are good enough. All of us. You know who actually finish writing their books? The stubborn ones. The ones who choose to stay in the game and learn the trade. Those who want it really badly.
So let me ask you this. Are you one of those who cannot NOT write? Well, there’s your answer. If you have that inner urge you have what it takes. You can learn the trade. I can learn the trade. We know it in our hearts that we are writers already. Nobody else can tell the story you have to tell because no one sees the world just the way you see it. Learn your trade and write stories that make your heart bubble over with excitement. Be your own biggest fan. Write the books that you would love to read. If you do that – let me know. I, too, would like to read your book. Thank you!
Loved this article? I would love it if you would share it!
How do you keep motivated? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Sincerely from my heart to yours,