So, back when I was doing NaNoWriMo, and posting weekly updates (<shameless plug> click here to check them out! </shameless plug>), I got a great comment from Ruqs over at Many Things Bookish:
[…]Can you do a post on how you managed to write your novel?? Such as inspiration, motivation, ploughing through and battling writers’ block etc? Because I’ve really been struggling with this I wish you the best of luck with the editing process!
So, first, go follow her. Her blog is amazing and you should definitely check it out!
I’ve been meaning to write up this post for months now. I wanted to do it in the first week of December, but then life kept getting in the way and now it’s March. But since I’ve finally started working on editing my book (and by started I mean I gave it to a friend to help me start), it’s about time I answered this. Sorry if you’ve already moved on and this post is too late to be helpful!
I’m still not sure how I managed to write this novel. I have it printed out and staring at me from within a binder, and whenever I see how big it is, I am shocked. 93,000 words is a pretty good number for a YA fantasy, and some might say it’s a little short, but it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written by far. So, how did I actually do it?
As for inspiration, it’s was a line in another book. I was reading something last July, and one line made me think of a line from Legally Blonde, which then made me think of a bizarre scenario that somehow turned into a plot, which then turned into my book. Naturally, there were quite a few brainstorming sessions between steps there, but otherwise, it was just a stroke of luck and a sleep-deprived mind.
I spent my summer talking with friends and trying to actually come up with characters to go with the vague plot I concocted, then I worked on a deeper plot to really flesh it out. However, I didn’t actually start getting motivated to write until September, when I saw that one of my favorite booktubers, Katytastic, uploaded a video on a new book she was writing. Seeing her enthusiasm, and how fast she was plowing through her draft, inspired me to actually take action.
But then I didn’t start writing for another month, but whatever.
Once I started writing, I used the NaNoWriMo website to track my word count and daily progress. While it wasn’t quite NaNo time when I started, I tried to keep up with a daily goal of 1,667 words a day. I’m really competitive, so seeing the chart that NaNo makes was all I needed to want to keep writing. Any break in my continuous word count growth would have ruined the pattern in my chart, so I couldn’t miss a day or slack off.
However, writer’s block still hit. A lot. Luckily, this recent book wasn’t as bad as my other manuscript, but I think I know why. I went crazy with my outline. I outlined all 27 chapters (which then became 28) with the major events and what needs to happen, then I split each chapter into ~3 scenes with their major goals. Whenever writer’s block would hit, I would just fight to meet those goals I set and finish out the scene. Those chapters are a little duller, but I got through them.
On chapters where my outline was a little sparse, it was hard to break through blocks. There were two ways I always try:
The first thing to try is stepping away. Sometimes, you need to take a break and relax a minute before jumping into your world. Maybe there’s something you need to work out plot-wise or in your world-building that doesn’t require actual writing. However, you can’t let your writer’s block keep you away for forever. No matter how bad it is, try to put some words to paper that day.
Speaking of putting down words, my other way to get past writer’s block is just by fighting it directly. If you don’t think you can write, and you have no motivation or inspiration, just reread your last chapter or so, and then write something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be good. Or useful. But if you try to work through it, you may find yourself slowly inspired.
So there, that’s my advice for writing, inspiration, motivation, and blocks. I hope that’s helpful.
And I totally wasn’t doing this to procrastinate editing my book.
What’s your favorite writing advice? How do you fight writer’s block?