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Friday, November 07, 2008

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I have a confession: Writing has not been my number one life priority as of late. Which is essentially my way of saying that I have not been working on my writing.

How terrible of me! This is National Novel Writing Month, and not only have I not accepted the challenge, I have already wiled away the last two weekends, not to mention blowing off the entire month of October.

My engine is stalled and it looks like I'm gonna need a jump.

That makes this the perfect opportunity to share some ideas on how to get yourself back on the writing track and building momentum again:

1. Brainstorm - Get back into your project by investing time exploring your characters and the world they inhabit again. Work on descriptions, details, imagining new scenes and conflicts. As you open yourself up to the possibilities of your story, new ideas will form and you'll turn up something to get excited about again.

2. Jump Ahead - It seems logical that you would need to write a novel in a linear fashion, but if you're following along with an outline but struggling to build momentum, a jump ahead might be the perfect solution. Look for the scene that you're most excited to write, and then dive right in. By moving forward in the story, you may actually reveal an idea that you want to use earlier on in the book, and that will give you a motivation to go back to the beginning and start plowing ahead.

3. Set Aside a Time and Place to Write - We say this time and again, but nothing could be more true: sometimes you just need to sit down and do it. Putting yourself in a comfortable place with a good block of time that you're devoting to writing can be really helpful to get you back on track and back in the writer's vein. Writing, after all, is just as habit forming as exercise. Push yourself to do it over and over and someday it will just stick.

4. Writing Exercises - If none of the above is working, try setting out just ten minutes of time for a quick writing exercise using your characters. Imagine your protagonist trapped in an elevator. How does he get himself out? What does he think about while he's there? How does he relate to the other people trapped with him? Little exercises like that can be less intimidating than trying to work on the whole project, but sometimes all you need is to get the pen flowing again.

Anyone else with ideas?

4 comments:

stu said...

After a break, I find the main thing is to get something, anything, written to build momentum. A completely unconnected short story usually does the trick.

Andi said...

I need to put some of these ideas into practice because I've totally jumped ship on my writing lately.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

"Writing has not been my number one life priority as of late."

I actually don't know any writers in which this is not the case.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

Seriously.