Yesterday Buzzfeed published an article asking What Keeps You Motivated While Writing A Novel. Since I thought the questions were actually fairly neat (for Buzzfeed) I decided to have a go answering them, in typical “it’s kinda all personal to you” writer style;
How do people discipline themselves to write every single day?
Writing is exactly the same as physical exercise in terms of endurance. Think of it as a muscle. If you want to build it up you gotta start small and slow but continue to work at it, over and over, growing over time. It can take years, but just like attaining that toned physique, becoming athletic at the keyboard was never going to be easy.
How do you combat the fear that your writing might just be a pile of shit?
You don’t. You just roll with it. If you’ve written something before that’s received okayish to good reviews, to cling on to those for dear life. Also remember that fear of rejection stops a huge number of people from publishing. Don’t be one of them. Don’t let your own brain put you out of the competition before other people even get a chance to air an opinion.
How do you create the perfect writing space so you don’t get distracted?
Personally, I pretty much don’t. It’s tough. Some people say write offline, but I use the internet so frequently to just quickly look up something mid-write. The way I get round it is just refusin to leave the keyboard until I’ve met the day’s objectives. Yeah I can distract myself gaming or on Youtube, but that’ll just mean I have to stay working for longer. Remember, ultimately it’s all a mind game you play with yourself.
Do you require total silence? Or do you have a writing playlist to hand?
This is a totally personal thing. I need silence, but music without lyrics (typically Classical or soundtracks) can sometimes cut it. Silence is optimal though.
And lastly, do you plan the whole story out? Do you try to write in big chunks? Do you have a strict writing schedule?
Again, that’s pretty personal to each individual. I like to have about 75% planned out (I struggle to get it all planned before the need to start overwhelms my defences). I’m in awe of people who can start writing without a plan and produce a whole novel that way, especially when it comes to endings, which I hate (I try to plan them first actually). Having said that, there will definitely be changes made once writing begins. As for the writing itself, I get round writer’s block by writing no-sequentially. If I hit something hard I’ll just skip ahead and write another part, then join the dots (thanks to my pre-prepared plan) later on. Again though, that’s a personal approach and everyone writes differently.