Do you have pesky story ideas that you've started writing, but have been unable to complete? I can probably think of one to two story ideas a month, but I have yet to finish, sell, and promote a novel. Usually, I think of an idea, I plan it out, and I sit down to write. I'm excited; ideas are flowing, characters are developing, and the plot is developing well.
However, somewhere along the line, I start procrastinating. I'm no longer excited to write my novel, and I spend my time on social media or reading books. I come up with another story idea and am tempted to devote my time to that new idea instead of finishing the one I've already started.
However, I've discovered three tips that have helped me remain devoted to my story and engaged from beginning to end. Hopefully, you'll find these tips useful in your writing journey.
Tip One: Eliminate Distractions
In a world where we are always connected through phone and social media, it can be hard to tune out and focus. For NaNoWriMo, I decided that during my dedicated writing times, I would turn my phone over and set it to silent so I won't be tempted to answer unimportant calls or text messages. I also turn off the Internet on my laptop so notifications won't pop up and distract me. Doing has allowed me to focus more on my story and less on group chats and Instagram notifications. I also try to switch up my writing environments. If I plan on writing in the evening but know my favorite show is coming on that night, I'll go to a cozy cafe or bookstore instead to write. This way I can devote time to what matters most to me at that moment, my novel, and not to something I can watch later on Netflix or Hulu.
Tip Two: Know Your Why
We tend to focus more on the things that mean the most to us. Is the goal of being a successful published author at the top of your list? I like to write, but I also love to cook, to entertain, to read, and to binge watch movies and TV shows. However, once I got serious about publishing, I noticed a shift in my priorities. Whenever I had free time, I was less inclined to pick up the remote and invite a friend over, and more willing to open my laptop and write or research more of my debut novel. Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you write? What do you hope to accomplish with your book? Why is this story important to you? Why does this novel deserve to be published? Once you know your reason for writing, it will be much easier to devote time to it, instead of to doing something else.
Tip Three: Fall In Love
No, I'm not trying to set you up on a date. However, I do want you to fall in love with your characters. Yes, even your novel's villain or antagonist. When someone picks up your book, you want them to see themselves in your characters and relate to them. In my opinion, to do this effectively, you need to fall in love with your characters first. Make them imperfect, give them quirks, and more importantly give them motivations. Have fun crafting these imaginary individuals. Create Pinterest boards and Spotify playlists for them. The more you love your characters, the easier it will be for you to write them and the less you will struggle to advance your plot and keep writing. If anything, you'll be even more excited to return to their story and see what happens next.
What tips do you have to motivate writers to stop procrastinating and finish their novels? Let me know in the comments down below!