Thursday, 24 July 2014

Who moved the goal posts?

Who moved the goal posts?
Starting a novel is great fun. It's all there, energy, drive, ambition.... then there's a snag and the engine starts to struggle. This is the moment when many people will quit. The warning signs are easy to spot.....
  • do you find other things to do instead of writing?
  • does the rest of the world seem to be having more fun than you?
  • do you believe your work is rubbish?
  • does writing feel more like a chore than fun?
  • do you have lots of ideas and half written projects but haven't finished any of them?
I've got good news for you. You can overcome these hurdles and reach the end. You can finish your novel, and here's how.
  • Know your characters, intimately. Talk to a friend about them, as if they were really real people. Tell your friend everything about them, what they do for a living, what they look like, how they reacted when something good/bad happened. It'll make them come alive in your mind, again, and freshen your ideas.
  • What does your main character do? If they go mountain climbing in your novel, hadn't you better try it? (You can always start off on the safety ropes at the local leisure centre and climb the rock wall) Writing the experiences through the eyes of your characters can only be a good thing. This is partly where the saying, "write what you know", comes from.
  • Remind yourself of your dream. Try writing the back cover blurb for your novel. It'll concentrate your story into a compact paragraph or two, and it'll refresh your mind of the theme and thread of your novel.
  • Have a holiday. You can always hop on a plane and jet off to the sun, but just a break from your writing will help. Have a couple of weeks off and don't think about it at all. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Re-read a favourite book. It'll restore your desire to write.
  • Be confident. If you're feeling great, your writing will be great. We are human beings at the end of the day. We can only do our best if we're feeling up to our best.
  • Find a quote from a favourite author and put it where you can see it every day. It'll remind you to keep going.
  • Don't let yourself be distracted with new ideas. Jot them down and put them aside until you've finished your existing work. Only then, go back to them. Just keep going. You'll get there, eventually. We all do.
If you've got more ideas about how to keep writing or how to finish that first novel, please feel free to comment. Having completed four novels and several other unpublished volumes, I can testify that the above is true!

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