Writing Wednesdays: How to fall in love with your story all over again

Sometimes you fall out of love with your story. It happens. In this post, I share some tips on how to fall back in love with your book.

Anonymous asked: Aside from being under contract and having a deadline, how do you stay motivated while writing? How do you cope when you fall out of love with a story, or when the writing feels so difficult it makes you miserable? Life has been so hectic these past couple months, and it leaves me so drained, that writing feels like a chore even though I know I loved my manuscript/the idea/the characters once upon a time *ultimate sadness*

I did answer this at the time, but wanted to do a longer and more detailed one for Writing Wednesdays, as I thought it might be a useful one for you guys! So if you’re having some trouble staying motivated with your story, read on…

Firstly, I suggest that, for a little while, you walk away. 

Close that Word document (or notebook or whatever), and put the story out of your mind. Don’t feel guilty for doing this. Sometimes, you have to put some distance between you and the book.

‘It’s not the story - it’s me. I just need some space.’

You’re not breaking up with (I mean, uh, totally abandoning) your story. You’re just on a break (um, taking some time off work). Consider it a holiday, a hiatus, if that makes you feel better about it.

You might like this post on how to write when your confidence is rock-bottom.

Maybe work on some smaller projects in the meantime, or don’t do any writing at all - or maybe just journal! 

Read some books (you might find it useful to read books of the same genre as you’re writing, but reading ANYTHING will help you – it’ll let you focus on a different writing style, different plots, different characters). Watch some movies. Try new things. Take up crochet! Whatever you’re happy with. But take some time off. It’s not your fault that you’re not feeling motivated to write, and it’s not your fault you haven’t had the time to write.

You might like this post on why it’s important to read, not just write.

I know some people like to take the stance of ‘I will write a little each day. Two words is better than no words, and even if they’re crap I can delete them later – but I’ll still have done some writing.’ And that’s fine, if that works for you. But I know that it doesn’t work for me.

Writing is a very personal thing, and you have to do it however is best for you. 

So don’t try to pressure yourself into working on a story (even just ten words a day) if you have no love for the story at this point. It’s okay.

Things get in the way. And if writing is something you love, it shouldn’t be a chore. So don’t make it one. Don’t sit there and force yourself to write if that’s the case. And don’t feel guilty for it.

I know that’s a little bit repetitive, but I’m just trying to drive the point home. YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT WRITING FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

After a while away, go back to your story.

Maybe read through from the start, or just the last couple of chapters. It’s a little like with my advice for dealing with writer’s block: you’ll come back to it with a fresh mind and new ideas and you’ll feel a little bit more inspired. And you’ll be a little more in love with it.

Whenever I take time away from a story, I still find myself thinking about it – the characters, subplots, scenes I’d like to write… And those thoughts and ideas start building back up the longer I leave my story alone, so that when I go back to it, I’m full of a renewed passion to write all of these things and continue the story I want to write. It’s no longer something I feel I have to finish just because I started it and I liked it at some point.

And again: don’t feel bad for falling out of love with your story. It’s like, if you listen to ‘Mr Brightside’ every morning as soon as you wake up, you might start to begrudge the song even if you loved it before. But leave it for a couple of weeks, and when you listen to it again, you’ll be singing along at the top of your voice before you can remember you’d hated it for a while.

Think of your book like that.

What do you do to fall in love with your story again?

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