In today’s episode on “How to Crawl Out of The Dry Spell Alley,” we’ll look at simple and fascinating ways to discover motivation to write. One of the most frustrating experiences for a fiction writer is when words seem to have abandoned you. The joy of writing has faded and all that lack of motivation and productivity has resulted in panic and, in some cases, depression.
The pointers provided here are for authors who are burned out but still want to write. The activities in this article teach us to be thoughtful and persistent, even when we don’t feel like it. Most of the suggestions may sting a little, but I recommend giving them a try and seeing what occurs.
Here are 7 practical ways to increase motivation in fiction writing.
Table of Content
- Create Small Goals and Track Your Progress
- Try Bullet Writing
- Stare at Your Boards and Ask Questions
- Deliberately Seek Inspiration
- Read Your Old Stuff
- Avoid Hard Research
- Read Short Stories
Create Small Goals and Track Your Progress
Let’s pretend your narrative concept is something big, like a 150k-word high fantasy novel. Take a piece of paper and write a word count of no more than 10,000 words next to that aim. Write down the start and end dates for your 10k word count. To make this exercise more efficient, limit your brainstorming to the first 10,000 words. You can do this throughout the day–while in the shower, driving to work, or doing a chore. Think. Imagine. Write down notes (very important). DO NOT GIVE UP, even if it gets tedious or your mind wanders.
This brainstorming session can go on for days, but I recommend keeping it within a week so we don’t lose enthusiasm and fall back on the maybe-tomorrow excuses. Once you have an outline for your 10k word goal, get to writing.
If you are in search of a free tool to help track your writing progress, visit the NaNoWriMo site. Make a plan, set goals, and start writing. Fill in the daily word count. Monitor your progress. With each achievement, give yourself a pat on the back. Repeat this process until you have something. Something is preferable to nothing.
When my motivation is at an all-time low, I do this. Get a prompt from a prompt generator and fire away. You can also use your phone to set a timer to focus just on writing for that amount of time. You can try this site if you wish to increase the difficulty level. There is a five-minute timer; if you stop writing before that period, you will lose your progress. I know it’s brutal, but it works.
Stare at Your Boards
Visual images might sometimes stimulate an idea. Print pictures and phrases from books, movies, and mentors, as well as your writing goals, and pin them to a physical board if possible. Do you have a Pinterest board for your (future)work in progress?
This is the most crucial aspect of this exercise: you must look at the items you pinned as often as you can. Do not let that board (particularly Pinterest boards) become a dumping ground where you chuck anything. Be deliberate about the characters, landscapes, and story maps you add to your work in progress boards. When you are about to start writing and you can’t seem to find motivation, visit the board and see if you can rekindle the spark that made you save your pins in the first place.
Deliberately Seek Inspiration
This has to be the most in your nose advice here. Instead of bemoaning your dry spell, look around you, listen and observe. Make a conscious effort to find a story—to be inspired. When we lookout for a thing, we mostly see it.
Read Your Old Stuff
I maintain a folder where I keep the stories I never got around to finishing. Some of these stories date back several years ago. It is true that dusting these up can be time-consuming but reading your old words can connect you to the eager-beaver writer you once were. Try this and check for a spark.
Avoid Hard Research
What is hard research? Hard research, in this context, refers to substantial research into the topics of your story. Soft research, on the other hand, is a cursory examination of the subject; you only get a rough notion and nothing more.
Soft research is something I do before and during the writing process. Some may argue that this method is risky. What if I write something that is inaccurate? I simply correct myself. What? Nobody has read my error yet. Hard research, on the other hand, resulted in one or both of the following: I get sucked into the process and do not know when to stop, or, worse, I become overwhelmed and doubt myself since my simple narrative idea has grown into a hydra. As I progress farther into the rabbit hole, all of the new fascinating concepts I keep coming across succeed in overpowering my simple plot.
Perform extensive research once you finish your first draft. After that, work out the kinks and apply the finishing touches. This is a personal preference that I believe will assist to lighten the writing process and give it a more comfortable feel. The idea is to be inspired to write something, not to be flawless the first time around.
Read Short Stories
There are numerous websites that offer free short stories. Some are even on this website. Reading short pieces of fiction written by a diverse group of people with distinct backgrounds and writing styles re-energizes creativity. Unlike when reading a lengthy novel, you are unlikely to subconsciously mimic the author’s writing style. Reedsy is a site where you may find well-written, fascinating short stories from a variety of genres.
What unique methods do you use to increase your motivation? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.