Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Personal Motivation

I had a very good friend pose this question: What do you do if you hate the book you're working on right now?  She's much further along in her project than I've ever been, doing final edits to polish it before sending it to an agent. I'm no where near that, but this is something that happens to all of us during the writing process.

So while I did give her one small bit of advice, I don't know exactly what will help her. I know her well enough to realize that even though she's hating working on this book right now, she's still doing it. Which is MINDBLOWING to me because I cave under the mental pressure of project loathing. Even recently I put aside a project that had so much potential because I got stuck and couldn't muscle through.

So I'm posing this question to you: How do you motivate yourself with your writing when you either a) have written yourself into a corner, b) have a personal deadline that you want to meet but feel blocked, or c) have an outside deadline (from an agent or editor, you lucky dogs) that you need to meet?

And I REALLY want to hear your responses, because I NEED HELP!!!!!!


  1. My suggestions don't help so much with deadlines, but for me whenever I start to feel stuck or just hate what I'm working on, I try one of two things: 1. Just put it aside for awhile. Don't look at it, think about it, nothing. Wait until you start to feel that creative pull again, and then go back to it. Sometimes this takes me hours, sometimes days, sometimes weeks or months.

    2. Start all over. This sounds ridiculous, especially if you've put in hours of time and effort. But for me, often my starting over doesn't give me a new story, it just gives me new angles and insights into my old story and I'm able to go back to it with a fresh perspective. So my hours of work aren't wasted. Sometimes I only do this with a portion of the story, because for me it's rare that I hate the whole thing- usually there are just pieces that are irritating to me. If you can pinpoint the pieces and just start from scratch, sometimes that helps.

    Like I said, not great solutions where deadlines are concerned, but hopefully it's helpful nonetheless!

  2. Uh oh... You didn't put aside your nano from last year, did you??? Please, don't put that one aside! I want to read it when you finish it!

    Uh... I have no ideas, though. I usually get a little ways into a story, then realize that I hate it and I can't see any reason why anyone would ever want to read it. Then, I stop writing for a few months, and struggle immensely to get myself to write again...

  3. give yourself a little break. most writers go through periods of really not liking their work. then commit to picking it up again and if you can't find the enthusiasm for the work itself, motivate yourself with the reward of getting it done. my 2 cents :)

  4. I actually just had this happen. And seriously, this week I figured out how to get over a block that has been in my way for like 8 months. I was working on a story I loved but I couldn't go anywhere with it and I had reached a point where I was considering just walking away.

    So, let me tell you what happened to get over this. I won first place at the LDStorymakers and realized I had to FINISH this story. But I couldn't finish it because I was missing a vital part of the plot and I couldn't figure out what it was. Well, during a conversation with my mother she was throwing out ideas for me to use and one of her ideas worked. (This isn't what got me unstuck.)

    At first I denied her idea would work because it went against what I had planned in my head for the story. But, suddenly I realized it did work.

    The reason....I had painted myself into a corner trying to push out parts of the story I didn't think should be there. Sadly, these were the parts I really loved but I was worried other people wouldn't like them so I pulled them from the story and, in essence, killed it. When I let those parts back in the story literally began to fall into place. I was the one getting in the way of telling the story because I refused to let it be told!

    I figured this out on Monday and since then I have gotten the ENTIRE thing mapped out. That's right, in the space of three days I did what I couldn't do in 8 months. Not just one book got mapped out, but books two and three! I didn't even know there would be a third book!

    My advice is this: you might be getting in your own way. Are you refusing to let the real story come to life? I did. And man I haven't been this excited to write in a while!

  5. This happened to me this past week. I had to ask myself where I got stuck? At what point did it feel like pushing a boulder uphill? I found the point and realized I wrote it because it looked good on the outline, but it wasn't working with the story, so I got fed up and used the delete key. I deleted that whole part and suddenly I could breath again. I actually wrote today for the first time in almost a week. (which is bad since I only have 6 more weeks to write before I have to go back to work and I wanted to finish it by then.). It felt good to feel the story actually open up and see the potential again. I am hoping to write even more tomorrow!



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