So, there you are, stuck again. You may not know what to write or maybe you just don’t have the energy. Whether it’s your writer’s block or the life around you holding you back, you just didn’t have anything to write. How do I go from this scene? What do I do next? How do I gather the energy to write?
First, we should start with gaining the will to write otherwise known as motivation. One way to gain motivation is often dismissed: why do you want to write? Sometimes, as authors, we get so lost in our books that we forget why we began writing. Your purpose for writing is your motivation but we all know that isn’t always why we love motivation.
So, you haven’t forgotten your purpose but don’t know why you just don’t have the energy to write. Or, life has thrown some curveballs and has taken the energy. Curing this loss of motivation can be as simple as changing your surroundings. You can’t dwell in the same negativity that’s holding you back.
Go outside or to the park, release your thoughts and enjoy the nature around you. Walk around your block, or go out to eat. You may not even need to leave your house, do some spring cleaning. Light candles, draw random pictures or do something you’ve been wanting to do for a while.
My point is, don’t focus on what’s going on around you, that exam you need to study for, or that scene you can’t write. Forget all of it, even if it’s just five minutes and let the thoughts flow to you; because they will. When we write, it places stress on us sometimes often making the mistake to push forward rather than release it. You may not want to let your fans down but you can’t force what isn’t there.
Lastly, this is both a piece of advice for writing and a tip for motivation. Gain new ideas from ideas that already exist. What that means is read a book or watch a movie or a show. Be sure that they’re in the genre your struggling with and you’ll get a sprout of new ideas. Don’t force it, maybe choose one that’s your favorite. Try asking people around you for ideas, tell them your struggle and let them give you advice from a readers perspective.
We now have done ideas on how to gather the will to write, but what if you don’t need that? What if you need tips on what to do next because you just can’t see the direction ahead of you? You’ve gotten to a part of your book where you’re stumped on what to do; a party every author has experienced. That’s alright as you have come to the right community.
Let’s start with a tip that many writers, often new, don’t utilize. Outlining or planning the direction and overall ideas for your story. Many authors may come up with an idea of a book, know which events they want here or there, or know how to end it. Then, they begin writing and just wing every chapter as they go.
That’s not to say that this tactic is a bad one, it just isn’t efficient. So, let’s say you know all three of those ideas already. Now comes the hard part, how will you transition into these events? It’s a question you may have asked, or is the question your asking. How will you get from point A to B? You may know what you want to happen but there has to be a backstory that leads to that event.
So, I emphasize the importance of planning. Any ideas or thoughts you have, write them down. Whether it’s a timeline, a list, a template or any other way, just try it. Remember questions such as why is this important to the story, will this affect character development and how, will this affect the characters around the MC, and could I do without it? If they’re going to the forest but that doesn’t affect the plot, omit it.
Next, is another tip that many writers don’t put thought into. Know your characters, each and every one of them. Every character in your book should have a purpose. If they are an ally of the MC, then they should have some form of effect to the MC’s character or the story itself. If they’re an enemy, what makes them the bad guy? What is their purpose in the story? Even if you introduce a minor character who, very little, makes an appearance; what is their purpose?
Now you know every character should have a purpose. Let’s move on to knowing who your characters are. Writing characters is much more than ‘I want them to be a jolly bubble of sunshine’. If they’re a jolly bubble of sunshine, then add on realistic characteristics. Such as they’re always optimistic, they tend to be the first person to help in need, they empathize with everyone, and plot twist, they had the worst life out of all the characters.
These characteristics logically affect the way this character will think. Building on these characteristics, you may now have insight into who your character is, how they think, and why they think that way. This will affect the characters purpose, it doesn’t have to be obvious but it should be within their character. If this person ended up torturing people for fun, wouldn’t that contradict their character?
Sure, you could give a reason as to why that character ended up that way but then it defeats the purpose of their creation. The purpose of your character shouldn’t have to be explained. It should be something that is within character, not exactly obvious but not unrealistically surprising. A change like this is too drastic unless there is a motive that has already been foreshadowed within your character. Hence why knowing your characters is important.
I hope this helped out a few writers.