|Summer makes me lazy as a cat.|
Excuses. I'm not saying they aren't legitimate, but the problem remains. Either you aren't writing, or you aren't writing very quickly. What can you do to help yourself stay focused and write more than a sentence or two when you just aren't feeling motivated? I've been having this problem all month. Here are some of my suggestions for myself, and anyone else who might be feeling the lack of creative fervor the summer can bring.
I've mentioned this before. It is SOOOOOO helpful to know where you're going. If you've ever been driving down the road behind a car that isn't quite sure where/when to turn, you know how speed can be affected by uncertainty. When you're trying to stall for time to think up where you want your plot to go, this can affect your writing.
2. Leave some mystery regarding the plot
|What's in the box? Write the story to find out ...|
So, that mystery of wanting to discover what happens to my characters can really keep me going.
3. Make yourself write
Sometimes you just have to shut the door, turn off the cellphone, log off twitter/facebook/youtube/etc. and just write.
I know. I KNOW. Sometimes writing is easy. The words practically spurt from your pen onto the page (or more likely through your fingers into the Word document) and you're rushing just to record the deluge of thoughts and ideas that won't stop churning in your mind. You're driven to write by a whip-wielding muse, but it's exhilarating and you love it even while you hate it.
And then sometimes writing feels like slogging through wet cement dragging the dead carcass of a gutted elephant. Writing can be AWFUL. It HURTS. It BLEEDS THE SOUL. I know. Bless your heart. You would rather clean bathrooms. You would rather scrub floors. You would rather get a root canal. But guess what? Not writing is just going to produce ... you guessed it. Nothing.
My advice? Just get in the zone and buckle down and force yourself to write something until you're there. Usually forced writing, for me, is crappy writing, but crappy writing can be REVISED. A blank page cannot. Something else that helps me keep writing is going back and rereading a few passages of what I've already written, parts I like or parts that capture the emotional elements of the story. This helps me get into the mood to write more.
4. Leave something to write tomorrow
|Carrots = YUM|
5. Fall in love with your story/ write what you love
If you don't love what you're writing, how can you expect other people to like it? I've made this mistake before--I've written stuff I didn't really care about, and it was dull and dry. Of course, there are always exceptions (Sherlock Holmes springs to mind--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle apparently loathed writing it, but it paid the bills). However, generally speaking, if you aren't enthusiastic about your project then your subconscious might be telling you something. If you don't care about it, why not? What's missing?
Here's a helpful question I like to ask. What is driving your characters--what do YOU (and hopefully, the reader) desperately want to see them achieve?
If you have a sympathetic character with strong motivations, you might write faster to see those motivations realized.
I hope these suggestions are helpful!