I get so excited when I am writing and the words are flowing. I get so involved in the characters and the action that by the time I look up several pages have gone by. Ah, that is the sweet stuff.
As every writer knows, this is not always how it goes. Many times writing a single long scene is like giving birth. I can say this because I have given birth to two babies and the process is similar! It is hard to imagine how the finished product will squeeze out fully formed from the small words you are stringing together. It can be daunting – especially between scenes and major sections. When you are giving birth, it is inevitable what the outcome will be. Eventually you will finish. When we are writing a book, there is a chance we will not complete it. We may get overwhelmed or lost in the middle chapters. So, how do we ensure that we complete our novels?
Here are some techniques to try:
- Keep writing. I know this sounds naïve and cliché, but the truth is that if you have an hour or two a day to write and you normally can get two to three pages completed in that time, you should sit there and write during that time even if you can only churn out one paragraph. It is forward progress and that is more psychologically satisfying than surfing the Internet in procrastination because you feel blocked. Logically, even if you have a week of one paragraph only days, it will get you to your next take off point where your words start to flow again. Just consider the alternative.
- Set a realistic date for the completion of the first draft of your book and tell everyone you know that you are working on a book and you will finish the first draft by this date. It is harder to stop working when you have publicly stated you will be completed by a specific date. It will motivate you. An added bonus is that people may offer to be first readers on your draft – if you like that sort of thing. I know I do! This leads us to the next technique.
- If you don’t already have a close friend (or editor) to read your writing, find someone you trust to be that person. Writers have many preferences when it comes to letting people read their work. However, if you have someone that will take direction about the amount of input, if any, you want to receive, let him or her read your writing chapter by chapter. It is very motivating to know that someone wants to find out what will happen next in your story. Some writing styles don’t work with this technique. If you write out of sequence you may not be able to do this one until you have written several chapters that fit together. Just make sure the person you choose does not discourage you with too many questions or comments during the first draft. You know who your friends are.
- Always end your writing when you know what is going to happen next. It makes it easy to get started the next day. This is equivalent to a good warm-up before physical exercise. Our mind also needs to be warmed up sometimes before it produces the melody of the written word. If you know in advance what comes next, your subconscious is working on it (warming up) for hours before you press that first key or sharpen that pencil.
- If all else fails, reread a couple of paragraphs that you have set aside from your most beloved authors. Sometimes the rhythm of your favorite writing will both inspire you and school you through that uphill climb.
Be inspired! Write it. Share it.