You’re writing your novel. Then you get stuck. Several days go by. Then a week. The more you try to force yourself to write, the more you resist.
Your novel is doomed. Or is it? Let’s look at some tips which will help you to find motivation again. By the way — these tips work for all uncompleted novels — even those novels on which you’ve completely given up.
Here we go…
1. Forget your novel for now: write something else
Try writing something else. Start another novel, or write a short story. Chances are that you’re trying too hard. You’re tripping over your mental feet; your creative self has gone silent.
Beginning a new project coaxes your creativity out of hibernation.
Complete this sentence (write it, don’t just think it): “It would be huge fun to write…”
Start writing. 😉
2. List your written scenes: what’s missing?
Open your novel’s computer file. Even this small step may be challenging if you’re blocked. Tell yourself you’re an investigator. You’re just investigating the project — you don’t need to write, if you don’t want to.
Without thinking about it too much, write one-sentence descriptions of what happens in each scene.
This may be enough to get you starting writing again. When you get stuck, it’s often because you’ve lost the main thread of your story.
3. Let your characters speak (write character journals)
Choose a character. Write 300 words of the character’s journal. Write in first person, from that character’s point of view. If the character’s angry, that’s wonderful. It means that there’s real energy there, and you can work with that.
Keep writing if you’re getting useful information. Or, write another character’s journal.
The journalling process may be enough to get you started writing your novel again.
4. Change the point of view (POV) character of an important scene
Choose a scene. Write the scene from the point of view of another character in the scene. This can get you thinking about your plot in a new way. Perhaps you’re trying to tell the story from the incorrect point of view.
5. Dream about your novel
This works. Tonight, before you go to sleep, grab a notepad. Write: “(novel title) What’s the story really about?”
Tomorrow, you may wake up with some insights.
Whether you do, or you don’t, write 100 words about your novel before you get up.
Thinking too much about your novel in a critical fashion always blocks you. “Dreaming” about your novel encourages your creative self to become involved in the project again.
6. Begin at the end: write the ending scene, then work backward, listing scenes you could write
You don’t need to write your novel in chronological, or any other order. When a project doesn’t flow, writing scenes out of order inspires your creative self.
So, write the final scene of your novel.
Then, working backwards, write a list of scenes.
Next, write any scene you like — you’ll complete your novel easily.
7. When all else fails, chop your novel into a short story (or stories)
If nothing’s working, it’s time for butchery.
Carve a short story out of your novel.
This article on writing a quick short story will help.
When your motivation fails on a novel, there’s always a reason for your resistance. However, the reason’s unimportant. All that counts is that you complete your novel. Do whatever it takes. These tips will help.
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