Recently, I seem to be finding more and more people who are struggling with to stay motivated for their project when it’s no longer fresh, and I know I am constantly finding myself in the same conundrum, as well. For us writers, finding the fire and drive to finish a story is just as important (if not more so) than coming up with an idea in the first place! Otherwise, you’re just left with a big folder or pile of unfinished manuscripts, with the excuse that your “inspiration left you”. So how do we fix this problem to stay motivated and survive through the end of the “shiny new toy” phase? Let’s get started!
REREAD YOUR FAVORITE SCENES
One of the first pieces of advice I give to fellow writers who are having a hard time motivating themselves to finish their work is to go back and reread some of your favorite scenes you’ve written. For one, it’ll remind you and inspire you with the best your characters, your plot, and your written world have to offer. Second, it’ll remind you just how incredibly awesome your writing can be, and we all know that getting down on ourselves can be a big culprit of “lost inspiration”.
MAKE PINTEREST BOARDS
Guys, if you don’t know just how powerful Pinterest can be, you are seriously missing out, especially my fellow writers. Aside from using it as a search engine (as the wonderful Melyssa Griffin explains it!), you can also use it as a major resource for finding inspiration for your story and character. Make general inspiration boards for your writing, or make a board specifically for the fantasy world you’re creating, or even make what’s called a “character board”. Think of it as a mini Pinterest account, but you repin things either your character would repin, or inspiration for that character. Here’s a screenshot of my some of the pins on my boardfor Rion, my main character in my current manuscript.
Please excuse the slightly NSFW topics, I’m writing a New Adult novel about a friends-with-benefits relationship.
Pro-tip, for a ton of awesome inspiration, be sure to follow my writing inspiration Pinterest board!
CHANGE IT UP
This can be a great exercise not only for people struggling to continue their book, but also just to have on the backburner as “character practice” or worldbuilding. If your story is written in your main female character’s perspective, try writing from another character’s perspective. Or try writing a scene that happens before or after the book happens, just to give yourself some backstory (or future-story? Is that a term?). It’ll help you stay motivated a whole lot more than you probably realize, and it’s a lot of fun!
THROW IN A PLOT TWIST
On the topic of changing up your writing style, I’d also suggest that you throw something weird into your plot to help make it fresh again. Writing a contemporary romance novel about a runaway teen? Toss in a magical abilities. Western thriller? Give ’em a fire-breathing dragon that can talk, but only in Klingon so no one knows how to get him to stop destroying the saloon! Go crazy! This doesn’t have to make it into your final manuscript, but it can be just the right thing that will pull you out of your writing “slump” and get you back in love with your story!
STEP AWAY FOR A WHILE
When worse comes to worse, try giving yourself a little break from your writing. Forcing yourself to write something when you aren’t feeling it is just about as helpful as trying to write the book with a piece of grass as your pen. It’ll feel weird and uncomfortable, and nothing productive will come from it, other than some smeary “ink”. However, I would say not to give yourself more than about a month at most away from your project, or you’ll lose sight of it completely and it’ll end up as one of those lost manuscripts I mentioned earlier. Then, when you come back to it, you’ll return with fresh eyes to make sure you stay motivated to finish!
My biggest piece of advice to you guys is to stick with it. I’m the first person to admit that I have a ton of unfinished plot bunnies and half-written novels sitting in my computer and in the notebooks on my shelves, so I understand where you’re all coming from. But whatever the issue is that’s causing your story to become “uninteresting”… don’t let it win! This is your story, so write it.