Hey, it's the overly thankful nerd from earlier! I've had two main problems: I'll explain the other one in another ask. Motivation. I frequently have amazing ideas and create wonderfully fleshed out characters but the more I think or write my story the more I get bored and uninterested and I make worse and worse pieces of work! I've tried the whole "if the writers getting bored the reader was bored 3 pages back" trick and threw in a lot of twists but it didn't make me any better. Any tips?
Motivation is one of the most universal problems that writers face. Unlike a stuck scene or a research malfunction, it’s not something that you can fix for good and be done with. Motivation is going to be an on again, off again battle, but luckily, there are a number of ways to help combat it.
In your particular case, it sounds like it’s possible that you have possibly over-developed, or have fallen out of touch with your inspiration and are viewing your story more as work than as the special thing that stories are.
Over-development occurs when you put too much time and work into planning before you really start writing, and as a result, when you go to write the story, nothing is a surprise anymore. Some level of planning is necessary, but part of what gives stories an ongoing curiosity for the writer is allowing it to grow organically. Sometimes, you should keep writing even after you reach the point where you had stopped planning and let the story and its characters surprise you.
Losing the spark of inspiration can happen through over-development, writer’s block, or just plain burning out for a while. Nothing beats the thrill of coming up with a perfect idea or beating a problem that was causing a block. If you can touch on that excitement, that sheer connection to the story, you can put the passion back into your work, and there are a number of ways that many writers use to get back into it.
1. Music: This is a pretty common one that helps put writers back on track. It’s actually a particularly big one for me as well. I keep playlists for each of my stories, as well as playlists for specific emotions to put me in the mood for a scene.
2. Moodboards: Whoa, that sounds pretty weird. Personally, I haven’t really seen this one on other lists. But it’s another little something I do to get back in touch with my stories. I make aesthetic boards for both my characters and my general story settings and concepts. I find that figuring out what components and quotes and so on should go on to each moodboard puts me back in touch with the original vision I had for each character.
3. Read Your Genre: A lot of inspiration can come from exposing yourself to the work of others. Many writers use previous works to get ideas. (Not endorsing stealing here, but inspiration is totally okay.) Find books that match your genre and take a reading break. Especially study the parts that make you most excited or effect you the most emotionally, and think about why they made you feel that way. Try to connect it to moments in your own story.
4. Re-Read Your Own Story: Another thing that helps sometimes is to re-read your own story- the parts you do like. The parts you previously wrote with excitement and passion. Try to get back in touch with the heart you had then. What changed?
5. Have An Honest Talk With Your Characters: A lot of character development sheets consist of answering questions, listing traits, etc. That’s all fine and necessary details, but it can feel a little worksheet-y and can cause a disconnect sometimes. But there are other ways to really get in touch with your characters in the spirit of who they are.
Try some creative writing exercises that are more than just a fill-out form. Find prompts that set gears going in your mind, whether it’s throwing your characters into an elevator for a couple hours to see what they do, or writing a death that has nothing to do with the plot, just to rally up some emotions. Or, if it helps, talk to them. Pretend you are actually having a conversation with this character. A self-insert in a very literal sense. Whatever helps you to connect with them.
6. Change Up Your Workspace: Whether this means cleaning or redecorating your current workspace, or changing it up to a different place altogether, a change of scenery can sometimes get your mind going again. Lots of people will recommend finding a place where WiFi and other things you might have at home that might distract you.
7. Find a Beta Reader: Finding yourself a fan- or a critic- can be incredibly inspiring. Sometimes having an outside pair of eyes is all you need to see your story in a new light. Having a little feedback- especially positive feedback- can help you see the things in the story that you loved in the first place.
This list is starting to get a little lengthy, and others can feel free to add on their own methods!
And one more little tip just for you, OTNFE. Writing, storytelling, is an art as well as a job. If you think of it too much like a job, a task, the magic sort of goes out of it. Yes, there are tools and tricks to help it along, but stories are like stubborn animals. They almost have a will of their own- you can’t force them into doing things they don’t “want” to do. Try some things when you need to, but also give it a chance to grow organically if it needs space.
And once again, motivation is in ongoing battle! You’re not going to cure it never have to deal with it again. It’s gonna happen again, and sometimes it’s going to be easier to kick than others.
Any which way, best of luck! We all go through this. Often. Your fellow writers are always here with their own advice as well.
I’ll be working on your second ask next OTNFE. ;)