What Helps You Keep Writing?

This is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month’s question is “When your writing life is a bit cloudy or full of rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?”

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Personally, I’m one of those authors who is okay with letting things go, with moving on to other projects because I know that the stories that matter the most will come back to me and be the sort that won’t let me go. They will be the characters who hunt me down and find me in my dreams, who whisper at the edges of my awareness or downright speak at times, saying, “When are you going to write my story?”

For me, writing fits the quote about love (and other things in life):

“If you want something very, very badly, let it go free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t it was never yours to begin with.”

But here are three ways to help stay committed to a writing project:

  • Track down the original inspiration. If you keep detailed files, go back and read some of the earliest versions or ideas of the story or project. Read the character sheets, the scribbles, the snippets you wrote when you didn’t yet know where things were going. Read the outline, if you made one. Returning to the intellectual “place” where the story was born can help bring some of the magic and drive back.
  • List all the things you like about your project. Never mind the frustrations, the difficulties, or the plot snag you’ve fallen into. Look for all the things you love, whether it’s a few lines of dialogue, a particular character, or a bit of description. Remind yourself of all the good that’s coming into being in the project, and you’ll feel more inspired and encouraged to keep writing.
  • Think about how you’d feel if your project never fully came “alive.” This can be a gauge as to how important something is. If you won’t mind that much if the project never gets finished, never gets published, and never goes anywhere, then perhaps it’s just supposed to be writing practice, a stepping stone to your next project . . . And not something you have to take so seriously. But if you feel like your life wouldn’t quite be complete without your project, then it matters, and you have to see it through.

Happy writing!

Copyright 2018 Andrea Lundgren

 

6 thoughts on “What Helps You Keep Writing?

  1. Whenever I feel like giving up writing (which is just about every time I get a snarky two-star review) I realize that like Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman” I’ve got nowhere else to go…

    Put another way, I hope that writing Biblical fiction will have more lasting value than the empty things I fill my life with otherwise…

    –Joel Thimell

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those are really helpful tips, thank you so much!! Got stuck with a project and have let it sit for a few months, reading widely to help inform worldview building has been helping (at least the thinking bit…haven’t put it down on paper yet…!). I think that last tip about thinking about what if it never got finished is a great one, to separate what we really care about writing about from everything else 🙂

    Like

  3. I feel that way with some projects. Just because they’re not working now or my interest has waned, it doesn’t mean I won’t return to the project eventually. Sometimes you just need a break to work on something else that’s more pressing.

    Like

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