Have you ever felt as if you just can’t write?
Have a look at this infographic filled with helpful tips to get you back on track.
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Do you have any advice for a young writer? I really like writing and want to keep doing it, but I don't think my work is any good. Any advice?
I guess you could call this a pep talk.
Being a young writer is not a burden or a bad thing; we all start as young, inexperienced writers and grow. You’ve gotta just write and keep writing and experimenting with different plots and styles until you find the one that fits for you- the style that is yours. The only way to grow is to practice and the only way to practice with writing is to write. There’s no secret formula that you can learn and BAM, you’re a good writer. You become a writer when you pick up a pencil, a good writer when you learn rules and methods, and a great writer when your story comes alive.
Just keep practicing and you’ll do great :). Practice can include short story prompts, putting yourself out of your element/comfort zone, etc.
If followers have any suggestions, please do reply!
Hey, I have real trouble finishing any of my NaNo novels outside of November, I just can't seem to get down to it. Also, I have two different endings for my latest novel but I can't decide between the cliché 'I love her so much!' suicide or a survivor guilt ending, where one of the MCs inadvertently ends up killing another character. That's badly explained but yeah. Help?
As for deciding on an ending, honestly for the first draft I would say just pick one and write it. And if it ends up not working, try the other one. Also, there’s no rule that says you have to go through with an ending as originally planned. Who knows, once you start writing, you may even discover a different alternative.
In regards to finishing NaNo works outside of November, it is difficult to regain motivation and momentum in the months that follow. Personally, I find that the follow-up pep talks from NaNo can spur me to completing anything I left hanging after November. Additionally, having writing buddies to stay in touch with after NaNo can help keep you all on task to either finish your story, or start editing it. Lastly, as a huge part of NaNo is about carving out time for yourself to write, it’s something that can (and should) be carried over even outside of November (or the Camp months). While you don’t need to continue at the pace of NaNo throughout the year, if you really want to finish your novel, you do need to create some type of schedule or plan for completing your writing projects (and this goes for pretty much any creative endeavor).
Hope this helps!
Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling with editors block and thinks his or her writing sucks?
We all think our writing sucks, and it’s not actually a bad thing until it stops you from writing. If you reach a point where you think you’re amazing and can’t improve any more because you’ve reached the pinnacle of excellence, then it’s time to stop writing.
When it comes to editing, make sure you’re not editing as you go. That’s a sure-fire way to make you lose the passion for your own writing. Do it afterwards. Rewrite over and over until you like it.
Do your research. Instead of taking a bleak view of your writing, try to figure out what you don’t like about it and address the issue. Show it to other people and ask for constructive criticism (prepare to feel a little bruised and deflated). Make changes. When you hit the wall with your writing, you have two options; learn how to improve or stop. Don’t stop.
The worst thing that could happen right now is the thing that will feel best for any writer; you want someone to read it and say, “Oh, I love it! It’s the best thing I’ve read since War and Peace!”. That’s not helpful to you. It’ll pick your ego up for a short period of time and then you’ll fall back into your slump.
So, sit down and have a long talk with yourself. Research the technicalities of editing. Ask others what they think and tell them to be honest. Identify the problems and if you don’t know how to rectify them, do some research, buy some ‘how to’ books, ask other writers how they do it. Read a lot and see whether the same problems are in what you’re reading.
Find what’s broke and fix it. Take it to pieces sentence by sentence if you have to, and if you need to delete manuscript after manuscript and start again, then do it. It’s about finding what’ll save you from hitting the wall and training yourself to see your bad habits.
Don’t stop. It’ll come, if you look for ways to enable it to.
So, I've been having motivation issues lately (haven't we all). However, I noticed that I go through these periods of not doing any writing at all (insert random excuse why here) and then when I finally do come back to writing (should have mentioned my main project is a novel), I feel like I need to start over completely because I have new ideas to make early things better. The thing is, I'm fine with editing, but I keep starting over anyways - leading to never finishing a draft. Suggestions?
In Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, she suggests that we all write 3 pages of free-flowing writing each day in the morning. I’ve been trying; and I haven’t been able to keep up. When I started initially, I couldn’t fathom the idea of just scribbling down three pages of whatever comes to mind. That was a year ago.
Cameron suggests that we don’t show these morning pages to anyone - unless of course, we want to. I think it helps to write a couple of pages each day of how you think your writing is going; just to vent your frustration with your novel, your life, etc.
For me personally, I find that when I am unable to write, I read A LOT. It’s a little like mental chewing gum, if you know what I mean. I take long walks. I think about what other writers have written. I take a moment to envy them. And then I get back to my notebook a week or two later to scribble, scribble, scribble.
I also think that you should take two weeks between the first time you write something, and when you go back to edit it.
I hope this helps!
I've got a new idea for a story that I want to write, but I don't know if it's an original idea and if I can find enough motivation to work on it untill it's finished. What do you do if you don't have motivation to work on a story or if you're not sure if you want to work out an idea? Any tips?
I had those same thoughts running through my mind a few months ago, actually.
I thought my idea sounded way too much like some other current bestsellers, and I thought no one would like it. But, I decided to give it a go and start writing it.
As I went along with the story, the characters and plot became more and more my own creations to the point where I no longer have any qualms about it being too unoriginal or plagiaristic. It has become one of my favorite original stories to date.
I think if you even have a small interest in writing something, you get that out on paper, dude! (Or a screen, or whatever else you prefer to write on.) The details will come in time.
As for motivation:
When I personally want to start writing a story, I wait until I feel inspired. That puts me off to a good start. But from then on, I think the best plan is to write everyday, even when uninspired. Think about what puts you in the mood to write. Find out what inspires you, and stick with it. Maybe a certain song helps. Maybe you need people talking in the room with you, maybe you need complete silence. Maybe you need to constantly be drinking coffee. Find what helps you, and stick with it! The end result will be worth all the days you spent on your computer when you didn’t want to write, and the nights you spent jotting down ideas when you just wanted to sleep.
Everyone is different, but those are some of my own personal suggestions.
I understand you completely. At this moment in time I don’t feel like a writer, at all. I feel like a failure of a writer and I am trying to get out of this funk. So let’s do this together?
The outside world likes to cause distractions in the form of parties, friends, work and family. And this is fine, this is normal. What me and you need to do better is organise our time so once a week or once a day however often you want to write you have the time, privacy and resources to do it.
For me this means I plan it in, I look at the clock and I think at 12 I’m going to write for half an hour. Then I work for half an hour. Then I set another goal for myself, perhaps a bigger goal and try to achieve that.
There are some tricks to writing like this (the same tips as I would give you for any work).
- Set an attainable goal. You might want to write 5000 words in fifteen minutes, but it you can’t achieve it you will feel disheartened and unmotivated.
- Give yourself a period of time to do it again.
- Give yourself frequent breaks. Not breaks on tumblr, that’s a bad idea. But give yourself five minutes to go sit outside or make a drink or paint your nails.
- Have a plan for what you want to write before you sit down to do it. There is nothing worse than sitting there having no idea what to write. Honest.
Prompts are a good kickstarter, scrawl some blogs and look for a prompt that really inspires you and write that. It helps me! Perhaps reuse some old characters if you are struggling with new characters.
But the best advice is to not stop trying. We both can do this, we both can write. We just have to give ourself chance to do it. We need to believe in ourselves and to try and succeed.
Best of luck to you, I believe in you!
Is it bad if I want to write, have written a bit, and consider myself a writer (I'm also having a short story published as a book soon) but I procrastinate so much and don't spend time writing? I feel like it's fear of screwing up that's stopping me. All I can do is outline and plan things but I'm afraid to jump on it. I haven't written anything in over a month. What should I do? I think about writing literally every day but I never bring myself to actually do it.
It isn’t bad, you aren’t bad and you aren’t screwing up. Okay? Okay. [heh heh reference]
No but first of all a massive congratulations on getting a story published, well done! That is a massive accomplishment so really, honest to god congratulations.
Second, we all procrastinate. We all don’t do as much as we can, that’s fine. But what you need to do is keep trying to write, even if you can’t write a lot. Just writing like a page or a paragraph will help you out. It will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something even if it is really small.
Third, you don’t need to be scared. I don’t want to sound like I’m belittling you, I understand why you are scared and I’d be scared too. But look at what you’ve already done, you have already accomplished getting a short story published. As writers we consistently improve as we practice, so if that story did so well why wouldn’t your next one?
Lastly, just try. You have your ideas, you have your inspiration and you want to write. So don’t let that fear win- sit down and just try to write a couple of lines. I know it can be difficult but once you get those first few words down it starts to get easier and easier.
I really hope you manage to get out of your writers block. Congrats again for getting published!
Now it works. Hey guys, I need some advice. I'm working on a novel, and I'm about... halfway through. My publisher calls me weekly, asking for updates - and truthfully? I haven't written any more of the story in ages, because I'm stuck. I have it organized already - I know what each chapter will be and what's in it - but I don't feel motivated to write the next several chapters (I want to get to the action!) and it's making me lose interest. Any advice?
Hello there, friend! I have to say, I had a similar problem for a few months, but I recently discovered the way out of the Desert of No Motivation, and I have returned with the good news and a map to get you the fuck out of dodge!
The way I got through it was, oddly enough, easing into it. I couldn’t just delve right into my work, because I felt like I had already written it, in a way — it’s one of the downsides of being so specific in your outlines sometimes. So, I couldn’t force myself into just typing more.
Instead, I did a lot with the characters. I went through their profiles and information and polished them, relearned them. Hell, I drew them. I even wrote mini-shorts that would NEVER show up in the finished work just to get used to how they interacted and get myself back into the swing of things.
Once you do that, it’s easier to ease yourself into your writing. Don’t look at it as a chore, or as ‘I have to write all of these chapters still!’. Look at it as ‘I’m going to write, say, one page today. I’ll write one page tomorrow. Even if it’s not the best, I’ll do it. I can always fix it up when I’m editing and when it’s done’.
And when it’s done, the feeling you’ll get will be wonderful. There’s nothing better. Can you imagine how great it’ll feel to tell your publisher that you’re finished, or that you’re even farther, and mean it? How proud you’ll be?
You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you, and I’m sure the followers will help cheer you on, too! Be positive. Be in control. It’s your story, and only you can finish it. You started it because you had words that needed to get out, to be shared, to be expressed — and they still need to be! And if worse comes to worse, tell yourself every day: what have I accomplished today to earn myself my tomorrow?
So, get to your writing, soldier! I expect a full report from the finish line soon!
what if my writing is bad, aka fuck that bullshit
Okay, so you want to write things. Many things. Beautiful things! Things that seem so awesome in your head! But you have just one tiny, itty-bitty problem:
Everything you write is total, complete shit. It’s so shit you want to print it out just so you can set it on fire so nobody else will ever see it. Maybe someone told you your writing was shit. Maybe you have a bad writing habit or something that plagues you constantly (mine is typos. Horrible, horrible typos). Maybe your idea is so awesome that you’re afraid you’ll ruin it. Well, I have a awesome, wonderful news just for you. One of those secrets that people forget to share. Here it goes:
Writing crap is good for you.
You don’t believe me. Crap is crap! Writing isn’t worth it if all you’re going to write is crap, right? Wrong. Fucking wrong. Fuck that shit so hard. Fuck it until it burns. Writing crap is good for you. Crap is the fertilizer in which your ideas grow. Your shitty first draft will become a beautiful flower, even if it takes many washings to get the stink off. What is crap now can be remade into not crap later, even if that later is much, much later.
Or maybe your crap isn’t worth rewriting. Maybe it’s just best to bury it quietly, with a fond farewell or a bottle of whiskey. You know what? It still did you good to write it. Crap today will improve your writing in the future. It will! You’ll learn where your strengths are. You’ll improve your weaknesses. You’ll reuse ideas you buried, or retweak them in ways you like.
Don’t be afraid to write crap. Don’t feel bad if you think you are writing crap. Everyone writes crap. Your favorite book had a shitty first draft. Your favorite authors had bad writing days. The journalist you admire had her stories rejected. The blogger you follow left his shitty posts on the drawing board.
Everyone writes crap. Don’t let it stop you from writing at all.
I have writer's insecurity. I write, but I've never posted it anywhere. It's just never perfect. It always has room for improvement and there are always mistakes. What do I do?
Really, that is we don’t have nice things — like your writing! There is always going to be room for improvement. Hell, every book that has ever been printed has at least one typo somewhere. Don’t believe me? In one of the more recent vlogbrothers videos, John Green found his.
What you need to realize is, yes, there are always things you can do to polish it and make it better, but at some point, you won’t get better unless you get it out there and see what other people think of it, too. After all, the goal of being a writer is to have a reader.
You’re not perfect, Anon, but neither is the world, so your writing will fit in just fine.
I used to write fanfiction all day a few years ago...I would write everything that came into my head and I was happy. But now I can't seem to force myself to write. I keep thinking, "Is it good enough?" and critiquing and hating every word put on paper. How do I go back to the girl who was so content with sitting at her computer for hours on end? I want writing to be fun and for it to make me happy again and I don't know how.
Listen to me. When you go back and read through the rough draft, of all things, of course it’s going to be horrible. It should be so full of errors and god-awful at points that you never want it to see the light of day that way! That’s why it’s called the rough draft. There are supposed to be manymanymany drafts after that where you can polish it and make it all pretty and clean.
You need to stop going back and critiquing every little thing in your rough draft while you’re doing it. That’s how you get the fun back. Just writing for the sake of writing — and not letting yourself go back and fix every little mistake the first time.
If you want help, though, I’ve said it before and I will say it until the day that I die: writing prompts. Go and find some of the silliest, strangest writing prompts and let yourself go nuts with them. Not every piece has to be serious.
I always find myself going through spurts of "writer's block" where I can't seem to motivate myself or think of anything that's worth writing. To cure my block, I write a list of things that inspire me, read advice from my favorite author's, make a list of my favorite books/why do I love those books, etc. Something usually comes out of reflecting on what I love and the books I love. Passion can easily be turned into creativity.
Just don’t let all of those other tasks draw you away from writing for too long. They’re addicting sometimes, I know.
Tips on how to regain motivation when you have major depression? I want to write but I can't. I haven't written anything since February.
I know personally when I was in a fit of major depression, I actually wrote about that. That sounds really strange, but writing about what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling this way [if you know] will prove to not only be a valuable resource to your later works when you try to write about depression in a happier point in your life — and yes, I guarantee, there will be a happier point in your life. Don’t let the depression trick you — but also as an outlet.
I know I found it to be a really great way to get myself motivated to actually write.
Followers? Got any other suggestions?