Today I thought I’d talk a little about motivation. All writing has its ups and downs, it can be hard to keep ourselves in a positive headspace to push our writing forward. We love our stories, and then we second guess them…then we love them again, and the cycle continues. But when we stick with our stories, we can end up with creating things that we never thought were possible. I know that was true for me and my newest YA novel “A Girl Called Monster”. It’s the Frankenstein story I’ve always wanted to create, I love the characters and the message. But the honest truth is, there were days that I wasn’t sure if I’d ever finish it.
When I get into the slump, it’s always simple things that help to get me out, the things I know are good for me, but in the moment, are easy to forget. So, I thought since this is a universal problem among writers (and all creative people) I’d share my tips with you. Here are some things to do, when you don’t feel like writing.
- Clean your workspace. A cluttered desk can, unfortunately, equal a cluttered mind. Clear out the trash, water glasses, old coffee cups, and organize your pile of novel notes in one easy to place to find.
- Make a coffee date with a friend! Whether it’s someone in your writing community that you can brainstorm with or a friend that you’d like to just catch up with. Sipping a delicious drink and getting out of your house can help get you out of your slump, and ready to dive back into that manuscripts! Absence makes the heart grow fonder right?
- No matter what I write, food always ends up in the as the focus in a scene. Whether it’s a cake that falls on the floor, a sad cooked fish, or a pizza topped with Mac and cheese. I love writing about food, and even more than that, I love eating it. If you’re in the same boat, why not recreate a recipe from your story for dinner! Will it re-inspire you? Maybe! Will it be delicious? Hopefully! Either way, it will be interesting to eat something that your character enjoys and might help you discover a new way to describe it.
- Listen to the playlist for your novel. Don’t have one! Now, is the time to gather up the songs that inspire you in a digital mixtape. While I was writing A Girl Called Monster, I listened to a lot of 1920s radio on Pandora, (Putting on the Ritz came on a million times!) St. Vincent and Halsey were also on my playlist when I was writing a moody scene. I think I listened to “The Party” by St. Vincent on loop for an hour once while editing.
- Read through your story. Let the words you’ve written wrap around you, and suck you back into the world you’ve created. This is one of my favorite things to do, and most of the time it really does help me get back on track or figure out what isn’t working. You know your characters best, if a scene feels a little strange, what to do think they’d do to fix it?
- Bonus Tip! I’ve recently started using an app called Wysa to unbox my feelings when I find that I’m being really down on myself. In the moments that I feel frozen, it really helps me gain a new perspective through questions, games, and the interface feels like your chatting on instant messenger, which gives it a really casual feeling.
Do you practice any of these yourself? If not, what do you do to stay motivated? Leave your tips in the comments on this blog post or send me a tweet at @mrspaigelavoie . Keep telling your stories, writing, and meeting new characters, and I am wishing you all of my best! You got this ❤ And for a weekly dose of videos be sure to subscribe to Writer’s Atelier youtube channel where I post a “motivational minute” video every monday!
Thanks so much for having me & Happy Storytelling!
Xo Paige Lavoie