Let’s face it: we all give up at some point in our writing journey. In fact, we could probably call it inevitable.
Things happen. We try to write a novel in a month and the weekends aren’t spent writing, and our friends don’t get it, and we lose our steam. We work for years on a work-in-progress without seeming to make any progress at all. We lose inspiration or motivation of confidence.
I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo six times. I’ve finished twice. I know all about giving up.
But I also know about moving on when it feels like giving up is the end of the road. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Camp NaNoWriMo is almost two weeks in. Can you believe it? And yet here is when so many people lose their motivation and taper off, perhaps never looking at the project they started again. This is where the sludge hits. This is where you must show your gumption to make it out on the other side.
I’m all about self-reflection. I think it’s one of the best tools to aid in your writing journey. It makes you better writer and a better person.
So today I have nine questions for you to help you figure out WHY you’ve given up, IF you want to try a new project, and HOW to get back on track. Later this week, I’ll post an article on WHAT to do to stay strong. Sound good? Good!
Grab a journal or your computer and get ready to write things down. I want you to actually write answers to these questions, so you can visually see your progress and your struggles.
Let’s start with why you’ve given up.
Why have you given up? Is it lack of time? Other people’s opinions? What obstacles are holding you back? Is it your schedule, your confidence, your energy? Write them down.
What thoughts pass through your head every time you sit down to write? Or every time you think about writing? Write those thoughts down, even if they’re negative or hurtful or untrue.
Now let’s discuss if continuing on with your current project or starting a new project is the best route.
How do you feel when you think about your current project? Excited? Tired? Bored? Thrilled? Write a few sentences about what the project makes you feel and why it makes you feel that way.
Do you have any other ideas for projects? Is there another idea nagging at your curiosity? Take a scroll through Pinterest and see if an idea intrigues you. Does this new idea interest you more than your current project?
What is best for you right now? Are you facing other crises at work or with family that need your full attention? Or are you just being lazy and allowing yourself to negatively talk to yourself while in reality you really want to work on your project? Think on whether or not working on a project is a good idea for you right now OR if you can manage the project in increments over a course of time.
Now that you’ve sorted why you’ve given up, whether or not you want to continue, and if you need to find a new idea, let’s look into getting back on track.
What are some strategies to help you plan out the rest of your writing month? What can you schedule into your planner that you can commit to for the rest of the month? For ideas, see my post on getting through your first draft!
Now that you have your strategies, figure out a schedule for yourself. Check out my post on creating a writing schedule that actually works!
When do you want to reach your goal? The end of the month? In three months? The end of the year? Five years? Write down a date.
What can you write today? How much can you contribute to your project right now? It doesn’t have to be much, even small steps count towards a bigger journey.
Now pull it all together:
- Make a bullet point list of the things that pull you away from writing.
- Write down the main thoughts that plague you and keep you from writing.
- Write how you want to feel when you’re working on a project and how you currently feel about your WIP. Note if they line up or not.
- Write down any other ideas you have. Cross out the ones that don’t make you excited. Circle the ones you want to either start right away or add to a list to work on later.
- Write down any life or work challenges you’re facing right now that could inhibit your writing. Write down if you really want to continue with your project or not.
- Write down the strategies you want to implement for the rest of the month with your writing and how you’ll act on them for the next few weeks.
- Write down your new writing schedule!
- Set your end date. Highlight in a bright color.
You now have your blueprint to guide you back to writing again. I like to do this exercise whenever I’ve given up or feel like a failure or like my work isn’t amounting to anything.
And of course, sit down right after reading this post and write 500 words for your book, or spend twenty minutes outlining your novel, or spend half an hour mapping out a character profile or two. Progress can start TODAY.
Remember…If you can continue on, even after you’ve given up, even after you’ve failed, that marks you a true writer.
Let me know if this helps and what strategies you come up with you help you achieve your goal!