Guest Post: 5 Ways to See Your Novel Through12:00
Today's guest is young writer, Laura. In this amazing post, she talks about how to keep going with your novel, even when you're finding it difficult to sit down and write. Why not hop over to her blog after you've read this post and say hi?
1. Identify Distractions
What is keeping you from writing? Social media? Homework? Family? Watching too much TV? Maybe it’s several things, but once you identify the problem, you can make a concerted strategy to keep those things from cutting out your writing time. If it’s social media, sign out, unplug, and turn off your cell phone or wifi. For example, one of my main distractions is school, but if I would just stop being such a perfectionist things would go a lot faster. Another distraction is social media, but if I would stop looking at every single post and start ending chat conversations a bit earlier, I could free up some more time.
2. Set a Specific Time to Write.
Writing is just like every other part of your life: if you don't purposely make room for it an endless to-do list will readily fill in the space. Early in the morning or late at night are often good times, depending on your schedule. Getting up before everyone else is awake and writing for an hour or so with a fresh mind is good, but you may prefer writing at night when you have free time and all your other work is done.
If you start writing at the same time in the same place every day, it will soon become a habit. You won't have to force yourself to stop what you're doing to sit down and write, it will begin to become a natural part of your life. It's like working out or starting healthy eating...at first it's a struggle, but will eventually become a natural part of your lifestyle. Additionally, people close to you may leave you alone a bit more during your designated writing time once they get used to your habit.
3. Stay Inspired
Make a Pinterest board, Tumblr tag, or just a folder on your computer to keep all the music, quotes, and images that remind you of and inspire you about your story. Collect pictures of settings, choose a character cast, find some mood music for important scenes, and any time your imagination gets dull just go take a look at your inspiration center. After I joined Pinterest, I started needing to restrain myself from using all the great story inspiration I found for more characters and plot bunnies!
Try to remember what made you choose this story in the first place. No story idea is perfect, but there was probably SOMETHING that got you excited about it, so focus on that element! Perhaps it was a character, or a cool concept, or a movie you saw, or a line from a poem. Whatever it was, go back to that and you may get inspired all over again!
4. Outline, Outline, Outline.
This will keep you on track and help you avoid getting stuck and quitting. If I’m having an especially hard time, I sometimes find it helpful to outline not only major points of the story, but also individual scenes. I’ve even done outlines for just one page before when it was a complicated part I was struggling to get right. If you know where your story is going and have a plan of action, you won't struggle so much with writer's block. I like outlines because if I'm inspired about one part of the story at the moment, I can just write on that section knowing that it will fit in with the other parts later.
5. Let Yourself Make Mistakes
A lot of writers struggle with perfectionism, which can cause the whole process to slow down so much that they give up. But if you simply accept the fact that there will be weak parts in your first draft, you can actually FINISH it and pat yourself on the back for a job well-but-not-perfectly-done. After all, the proper way of editing is not to critique-to-death every word, but rather to get out a rough draft and then come back to your work a bit later and reevaluate and make changes--even extensive changes. I'm not saying write a mess, but simply trust yourself a bit more and realize that you can come back and touch things up and even add more scenes later.
Laura Mizvaria is a 19 year old Christian girl in her junior year of going to college online. She wrote her first book at age 12 and has explored many areas of writing ever since--from poetry to screenwriting. She has many other interests such as reading, digital art, photography, and cinematography and some of her favorite things are the great outdoors, Narnia, tea, places overflowing with books, classic movies, and Steampunk fashion. Laura runs a blog at Mizvaria.blogspot.com where she posts writing tips, inspiration, and more. You can also find her on Pinterest, deviantART, and Twitter.