One of the hardest things about writing to deadlines – which professional writers do, and which National Novel Writing Month imposes – is keeping the momentum going. Even when the muse sags and the last session of Half Life 2 calls, and the sun’s shining, and all the rest of it.
My answer? Work the problem. Is the issue lack of words – you know what you want to say, but can’t figure out how to say it? Or are you flat out of ideas about what to say? Has the excitement of creating something gone a bit – well, dull?
Welcome to writing reality. Like any task, it’s going to have its flat spots.
The trick is breaking through them. Here are my top tips:
1. Planning helps, because you know what you’re trying to work to. As we’ve been exploring in recent posts, this doesn’t necessarily mean creating a prison-like structure that squashes inspiration, but it does mean preparing enough of a plan to guide the story through the correct structure.
2. ‘Found inspiration’ is good. This is where something you see or do – such as during a walk – triggers a lateral thought, and suddenly you’ve got an idea.
3. What is it that’s unexciting about the section you’re writing? Why doesn’t it inspire you to write? This answer is important, because if you find it boring then your readers probably will too.
4. Barrel ahead anyway. This is the old journalist standby. Deadlines won’t wait. Sometimes the only answer is the brute force method – sit down, and tackle it head on. There are tricks to get around this too, such as writing the second sentence rather than the first, or starting in the middle of a paragraph and back-filling. Word processors make wonderful friends at these moments.
Do you find your writing sagging every so often? And do these ideas work for you? What’s your way of getting around them?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013
Coming up: More NaNo writing tips, more about how to write…more fun stuff, and more…