I found a great article about writing a novel on The Independent. Here’s the best of the tips on how to stay motivated – I tweaked them to apply to writers who need a boost. If you’ve ever felt rejected by publishers, literary agents, or even your writing group, you need to learn ways to keep your motivation levels high.
If you’re having trouble writing your first draft, read How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. He shares 10 steps that jump-start your creativity and help you quickly map out your story. All around the world, novelists are using the Snowflake Method to ignite their imaginations and get their first drafts down. This book will show you how to define your “target audience” the right way, so you know exactly how your ideal readers think and feel. You’ll learn how to get inside the skin of each of your characters – even your villain. Writing novels isn’t all fun and games; you’ll learn how to stay motivated if you learn the craft.
These aren’t your typical “writing a novel” tips you’ll find on every writing blog on the internet. They’re strategic and practical, and they work – especially if you want to learn how to stay motivated because you lost interest in your fiction characters. They will help you recover from the dejection of getting rejected as a writer, because they’ll help you focus on scheduling your writing time…not just dreaming of being a writer.
“Don’t just dream about pursuing your passion,” says attorney Pamela Samuels Young, author of Anybody’s Daughter. “Make it happen!” You CAN make your dream of writing a novel come true. You CAN bounce back after getting rejected by publisher and literary agents, after feeling like a failure, even after tossing your first book in the paper shredder.
How to Stay Motivated to Write a Novel
Maybe the first book or article you wrote was rejected by literary agents, publishers, and even your mom. These tips for writing a novel will help you bounce back and keep writing, even after rejection and disappointment.
Below are Young’s tips for writing a novel. She wasn’t specifically talking about how to stay motivated after you get rejected as a writer; I’m adding that because all novelists get rejected – even the most famous published authors!
Make writing a book part of your daily schedule
“On my calendar, you’ll find a few hours or full days blocked out as ‘Writing Time’ every week,” Young says. “You have to schedule time for your passion. If you don’t, the day-to-day demands of life will get in the way.”
Scheduling a routine will free your creativity. Don’t waste energy trying to decide if you should write today; instead, plan to write every day at 7 am.
Put your passion for writing a novel ahead of your free time
If you’re serious about getting published (or just writing a novel for yourself), you need to sacrifice your pleasure time.
“You’ll have to cut back on watching television, socializing with friends and even family time,” Young says. “Explain your goals to friends and family. People who have your best interests at heart will support you. But do take an occasional break to relax. Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out by working around the clock.”
If you’ve found the best tip for staying motivated is to envision success, read How to Predict if Your Novel Will Be Popular.
Learn how to stay motivated from other novelists
Yes, you need to write alone…but you should also connect with other people writing a novel. Young suggests signing up for writing newsletters, reading books about getting published, and join communities of writers. “There are tons of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and business goals. This is how you stay motivated.”
Young is a member of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes the advancement of women mystery writers. “Not only will you get energy and inspiration from networking with others, you’ll grow.” This is especially important if you’re writing a book after being rejected by agents and publishers, because you may feel vulnerable and alone.
Joining a community of writers is a great way not only to learn how to stay motivated, but also insider secrets such as the reasons manuscripts are rejected and how to get published.
But, ultimately, motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, it will burn very briefly.
Don’t abandon your day job when you’re writing a novel
This is an interesting tip for writing a novel, especially after you’ve been rejected by literary agents or publishers: Give your day job 100 percent!
“I never want my co-workers to think I’m phoning it in because I also have a writing career.” And, she says, this attitude and strong work ethic has paid off for her. “I have a strong support system at work. My co-workers read my books, critique my manuscripts and come to book signings.”
Many of the people Young thanks in the acknowledgements in each of her books are co-workers. Take heart if you’re stuck in a day job, for one day you will be thanking your coworkers in the forward of your book. That’s how to stay motivated: keep your eyes on the prize.
For more tips on writing a novel after receiving rejection after rejection as a writer, read The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well by Paula LaRocque.
If you want to write your book, you need to learn how to be a good writer. You don’t have to be a perfect writer or a literary genius, but you definitely have to know how to write well.
I welcome your thoughts on how to stay motivated when you’re writing a novel. What works for you? Do tell!
Inspiration for these tips on writing a book after getting rejected: New Year’s Resolutions: Pursuing your passion as a moonlighter.