I know that in some of my posts, I have stated that I don’t like writing. Most of that was to show that I, like most of you, have no idea what motivates us to write. Most of us have moments where it becomes tedious. I also know that most of us want to know what everyone else, especially The Published, do to break that tedium. Like anything else that requires skill, you need to practice. Writing every day is like going to the gym is to the professional bodybuilder. You simply cannot be good at writing if you don’t write. So my advice is…just write.
Now, I have heard that simply writing a grocery list can scratch that itch, and it may be true for some, but I am certain that is not what you are searching for. Perhaps you write those little sticky notes just to say you practiced…whatever you have to tell yourself. In reality, that’s not going to cut it. You have to write with thought behind it, not just the thought about what it is you need from the grocery store either. Writing is a practiced art. Only after you’ve written a few things here and there with purpose can you truly appreciate why this is the case.
I write every day from about 6:30 p.m. (unless Jeopardy is not on) until about 8:00 p.m. or after dinner, whichever comes first. It doesn’t necessarily mean I write quality writing. I am writing something, though. Typically, my writing starts with what I worked on the previous night. I usually read the last paragraph of the last scene unless I actually remember where I left off. That is only when I am actively writing a novel. Well, what about the other times? Good question. When I finished my first novel, Copper Rain, I immediately started creating the initial stages of fleshing out the story for the next one. There really isn’t any “writing” involved, but there is “writing”. I was brainstorming for ideas in paragraph form as I thought them out. Playing the What If… game, if you will. That part is the fun part. That’s where seeds of ideas are sown. Some actually germinate and grow into parts of the main story while others just become backstory.
If you’ve seen some of the other articles I’ve written on this site, then you know that I use the Snowflake method to build up my outline down to each scene. Some people may or may not believe it works for them, and that is totally fine. You see, even if you are starting from a blank page and working your way through your story, you are still making an outline of sorts. I submit to you that if you finish your first draft, you are more likely to be taken hostage by aliens from Venus before it gets published as is. Most of the time–I know this because Copper Rain was written this way–you have to take the story completely apart, trash the icky parts, update/adjust to make it flow, and add new scenes to finish it out. Incidentally, the reason why I use the Snowflake method is that when I have to take apart a story that I wrote from page 1 to page 421, I sort of get overwhelmed. Overwhelmed isn’t even the right word, but it’s as close as I can get. I, then, get frustrated at not being able to finish what I start. Copper Rain almost ended that way. The Snowflake method saved it, just so you know. It was a way to organize my thoughts in order to make the story work within a widely accepted structure.