You know how it goes.
You get a great idea. You open a Word document. You write about three chapters, feeling like the cat who got the cream. You are on fire.
Then you lose interest and never see it again!
It happens to the best of us – trying to write a novel and ultimately failing. About a few chapters – or sometimes even pages – in, we either get a writer’s block that we never recover from, or we find something more interesting to use our time for and that Word document we proudly created remained untouched.
To be honest, it isn’t actually that hard to finish a book – well, kind of. Point is, it’s doable. We could actually do it, but we don’t. Sometimes, it’s a lack of motivation, and sometimes, we aren’t actually that interested – it just seemed like something fun to do.
Here are my top tips for sticking to your writing.
1) You have friends for a reason
One of the key reasons that people give up on their writing projects is because they don’t have anyone to hold themselves accountable to. Send your story to your friends, family, and anyone else who will read it – not necessarily because they have a better grasp of the English language than you, but because it is harder to give up when you have your friend texting you saying ‘Loved this chapter! When’s the next instalment?’ (this is not how my friends actually text, sadly – I am the only one in my immediate or extended friend group who texts using the Queen’s English). Use them to help you, and you never know – they might give you an idea that you may have otherwise missed. Besides, even if they’re absolutely rubbish, it’ll be a laugh.
2) Write about what you love
When I was in year 6, I tried to write a Gothic Horror story.
It was going to be a remake of Little Red Riding Hood, where she got attacked by a mysterious assailant in the woods who turned out to be her grandmother. There would be gore and blood and really wild things.
I never got past page 3.
As much as it was an idea that fascinated me, when it came down to the nitty-gritty, I didn’t have the stomach for it. I’m not a horror story kind of person, and I don’t have the kind of imagination to dream up this sort of thing. My heart wasn’t in it and I’m glad that I discontinued it.
Make sure that you are passionate about what you choose to commit yourself to, otherwise, it will be very short-lived.
3) Writer’s Block is not the end of everything
Pretty much everyone, writer or not, has heard of the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block’ – when you write yourself into a corner, run out of ideas, and just ‘cant b bovvered’ (this is how my friends actually text and talk, and I don’t thank them for it.)
Writer’s Block definitely does not mean the end of the world or your novel/story. The world has survived many other, more drastic things, like Twilight, and Writer’s Block is not a permanent state of matter. All you have to do is try to look at things from a different perspective.
Whether that requires you to walk away (but only temporarily, which is the whole point of this article) and look at it again afterwards, or do a few character development profiles (with sketches), keep it fresh.
With these tips and your imagination to guide you, you’ll be able to start AND finish an award-winning best-selling story. Just make sure that you invite me to the awards ceremony!