Like the title says: today, I’m going to solve all of your writing problems. And yes, I am a fairy godmother.
Ok, so many I’m not going to wave a magic wand and *poof* turn you into a writer who never has any struggles. But I will talk about the problems I’ve experienced as a writer and then share the solutions that helped me keep putting words on the page.
As I’m writing this post, I’m about 4,000 words away from completing the first draft of my second novel! It’s a YA magical realism with a really interesting magic system that’s both snarky and family-oriented and I just love it.
This project is very different from my first novel, which I wrote over 18 months during my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. With this project, I’ve been writing since January, which means it’ll have taken me 7-8 months to write the first draft once it’s finished.
Here’s why it took me so much less time to write this first draft: I’ve written every day this year for 10 minutes a day. Before I go to bed, I crack open my laptop, make note of the time, and devote myself to writing for that 10 minutes.
Sometimes, I write 500 words. Sometimes, I write two. Either way, if I can sit at my computer and open myself up to the possibility of writing for those ten minutes, it’s a successful session.
That’s been the key here. Not counting my words or graphing my progress, but just showing up for my story and myself. This practice has genuinely changed how I write and I’m unbelievably proud of myself for committing to this project like I have.
Throughout this first draft, I’ve battled my fair share of issues. I’ve had nasty run-ins with self-doubt, lack of motivation, and the temptation to start other projects before I finish this one. Writing a book isn’t supposed to be easy, and I’m rooting for you to overcome whatever obstacles you face.
Here are some of the most common obstacles to the writing process and how you can overcome them.
not motivated? set a timer.
My favorite trick! If you’re feeling sluggish and droopy and are pretty sure that putting words on the page would cause your fingers to fall off, set a short timer and obligate yourself to show up for the story.
The trick here is to keep the time limit short; think no more than 15 minutes. Even a three-minute writing session is something to be proud of when you’d rather do anything than write. Keep your expectations manageable and your goals achievable.
think you’re a sh*tty writer? read some fanfiction.
We all know that lame piece of token advice: even your favorite book was once a terrible first draft, blah blah blah. If that doesn’t make you feel any better, go read some fanfiction. Reading other amateur and unpublished work might boost your confidence.
This isn’t to bash fanfiction or anything, but we can all agree that the content on Wattpad is largely unedited and not written by professionals, just like your first draft. If these stories can get millions of reads without ever being touched by an editor, your first draft can turn into something great, too.
feeling uninspired? talk to other writers.
Part of your lack of inspiration may be rooted in feelings of isolation, like you’re the only one who’s experienced this lack of inspiration. But I’m here to tell you that you are NOT alone in this!! You’ve got an army of fellow writers who are right there with you.
Seek out your friends who write and just talk about your projects. Seeing other writers get excited about their work will probably rub off on you, sending you into a productive streak.
stuck because your draft isn’t perfect? write something that sucks.
The only thing a first draft has to be is complete. That’s it. That’s literally it.
Any words you put on the page are an improvement upon the page. If you aim to write something that’s bad, you take the pressure out of writing and allow yourself to create without conditions. A sucky first draft is better than an idea that never leaves your head. This tip has been a lifesaver for me lately.
I hope these are helpful for ya! Let me know how your current project is going 🙂 What writing advice do you find helpful when you’re in a rut?
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