With my blog’s recent feature on Discover, I was quite happy to receive various emails from new readers. I can’t thank them enough for getting my writing out there. And I’m here today because I got a splendid question in the mail (via the contact form) and instead of speaking there, I thought it might make for a good blog post since I think many of us can relate to this discussion. If you have anything to add, I encourage you all to share your thoughts in the comments down below. I believe your opinions and advice on the matter might help the asker. 🙂
This question was asked by Thomas,
“I was wondering, how you manage to stay inspired long enough to write a whole novel? I myself have started many a time and can’t keep it going.”
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have much to respond in the inspiration department. (What a depressing start…) I’m the type that binge writes. This is terrible for my schedule and recently, I’ve found myself unable to set aside more important tasks like college and work, and then I end up with the idea stuck in my head, but no actual time to do it, then not soon after my drive leaves me at that terrible point where I just end up taking a long, overdue nap.
But I believe that if you’re invested enough in the idea, then you won’t lose inspiration for it. (At least this is the case for me.) My mind is always buzzing with my novel—oh, an avatar maker? I need to make my novel character on it!, I should really place a fight scene there when I get the chance, Is that a bunny? My book needs a bunny!—motivation, however, you might lose more quickly. I’m like this, and my advice is to find a writing style that works for you. If you find you can write quality content during binges and not from writing every, single day like I know many do and recommend (so you hone your craft), then stick with that. Don’t conform to other approaches. Instead, try, incorporate, try again, and just… develop until you find a style that works. (You don’t want to burn yourself out writing at a pace you don’t like.)
Oh! One thing I can speak plainly about inspiration is when you’re struggling to keep it, then try taking a walk, eating a convenience store dinner, listening to music, or even just reading. It’ll help get your mind running. Have you ever read those articles from published authors where they mention that after completing their manuscript, they let it sit for a month or two or six, then come back to look at it with a fresh eye? It’s so they can see their mistakes and improve things. Sometimes having a clear head is important. And maybe it’ll help you, too. Don’t give up on an idea—especially one you particularly like—too quickly. Try returning to it after some time and if nothing sparks, move on, then come back again. Rinse and repeat. Perhaps you’ll be able to blend your unfinished snippets into one.
It would be great if you ask other writers their opinions as well and see which responses resonate with you, seeing as how everyone approaches writing differently. Some have no problem with motivation but don’t quite have the time, others struggle with inspiration and just write until they find something fleeting enough to catch their fancy—perhaps you’re like this—but seeing as how I’m not, then their advice on the matter will be more beneficial to you since I can’t really provide anything solid. The two undoubtedly go hand-in-hand, but rarely do I find someone capable of balancing them just so. It doesn’t help that life is fickle and greedy and always vying for attention.
As you all can see, I didn’t have that much to say in regards to the question itself—oh good god, that moment you realize you’ve actually gone off on a tangent on an entirely different topic is just… ridiculous. I feel like a rambling, old man—but if any of you struggle with this and can offer your own advice in the comments below, then that would be wonderful!