Welcome to this lesson of David Kummer’s writing course. That’s me, by the way. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, success stories, or just something fun to say, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk about anything and everything, especially if that everything has to do with books, basketball, or Chinese food. I am a teenager, after all. So that’s that! Head on down and read what might be the best writing course of your life, but also might be the worst You won’t know until you try!
Section 3: How to do the Writing
A book is a challenge for everyone. But challenges can be overcome.
You most enjoy writing when you are passionate about it.
Welcome to Lesson #2 of Part 3! In the last lesson, we looked at how to make your writing a habit, and increase your production by doing that. The problem is, just because it’s a habit doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it. And when you don’t enjoy your habits, they are all the easier to break -something we don’t want to do.
So how do we make sure you keep enjoying the writing? You most enjoy writing when you are passionate about it. This is why you sometimes get that burning desire to write when you have a great idea for a book, or a story, or a scene. And when you feel that need to write, it becomes one of the most enjoyable things you could do.
Why does that feeling go away, though? Why aren’t you always excited about it?
Well, in this lesson we’ll look at 1) why that feeling goes away, 2) how to get that feeling back, and 3) how to keep that feeling once you get it.
Why You Lose It: Boredom
We all know that moment when you sit down at your keyboard, or you see your keyboard, or you think about your keyboard and it becomes like some terrible thing that should be locked away in prison. In that moment, you absolutely hate having to sit down and write.
Everybody feels this, some people more than others. What normally happens before that moment, though? What leads up to it and causes it? I would argue that the leading problem is… I can’t think of one word to describe it, so let me just talk about this condition.
Getting into a habit is a good thing, but getting stuck in your writing isn’t. You get to a point in a book that becomes like a wall. This happens with every single novel ever written, and some authors push through the wall while others don’t. You become bored with your book and your characters.
That’s why you stop writing. You get bored with what you’re working on.
And if you get bored, how can you expect the readers to be excited? What you’re writing is exactly what the reader will read. And if you’re bored about it, I promise they will be too.
So there’s our first problem: Boredom.
Why You Lose It: Distractions
This, also, is a huge reason why you lose the passion for writing. You become distracted by something else. Maybe it’s a TV that’s on, maybe it’s a song that’s stuck in your head, or maybe you’re just plain tired.
Whatever the distraction is, it clearly messes up your writing. You can tell this because when you sit down to write, your vision wanders elsewhere or your thoughts are taken far away from where they need to be. While having distractions is a big problem, it’s also not very hard to fix.
How to Fix It: Distractions
The best way to limit distractions is to change your place where you write. As you go through your writing career, you will certainly change where and when you write, but the most important thing is to limit distractions as much as possible. And if you notice some distractions, then change it.
Another way to un-distraction yourself is just putting your nose down and get to typing. You can’t always control how the noise level is around you or get rid of all possible problems. But like anything, writing is a workout. It’s a mental workout, which means you have to seize control of your brain and get down to work. In the end, it’s just a mental thing.
The other problem we talked about was Boredom. This is a little trickier to fix, but let’s give it a shot.
How to Fix It: Boredom
When you get bored with your story, you need to give it an infusion of life. Now, I’m not talking about a major plot change or an entirely new character, although that could potentially work. There are many other things you could add that will help just as much and not cause you to drastically change your story. I’ll give you two examples from my own work.
Raymond Chandler famously said, “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun.” So for one story where I’d lost track of my plot, I literally did that. I had some dude walk in with a gun and start shooting. And before I knew it, the story completely changed course on me. I threw my plot out the window, made a new one, and the story became much better than I could have hoped.
The other story I was having problems with required a much simpler help. All I did was add in a random snow storm, and this made the story seem better to me. I described the storm as best I could, and then the rest of the chapter and book felt easier to write. Even though the weather change had no real effect on the story, it helped me as an author.
These are just a couple things that really help. Changing the weather, adding an insignificant character, anything will help. All you have to do is make the story fun for you. If you enjoy writing it, the chance of the reader enjoying it skyrockets as well.
How to Keep It
I’ve come up with one tip for keeping the passion with your writing, and I think it’ll be very helpful to a lot of people.
Everything I’ve mentioned up to this point will help significantly. Getting rid of distractions, making your writing exciting for you, and any other ideas you come up with will help. But there’s something else I’ve found ever more helpful, and if you remember anything from the lesson remember this.
So you know how you get that burning desire, that great idea? Well, most people write until they can’t anymore when that happens. They burn up all that energy, and then they’re left with nothing. I think this is a terrible thing to do.
When you get a fantastic idea, you need to write until just before the end. You need to leave something to look forward to. If you’ve been excited to start writing a novel, put if off for a week with other work. I call it Positive Procrastination. Let me explain.
Using the example of the novel, here’s what you’d do. You have this novel you’re so excited to start, and you have this amazing idea for the opening scene or whatever. So Positive Procrastination would do this:
Put some points in for the first scene so that you remember your great idea for it.
Plot out the rest of the novel, and make a character chart to organize them, however, works best for you.
Go over the plot again and fine-tune it, making it better.
Go back and think of some more scenes or some more details about certain scenes.
Get yourself fired up every day for writing, but never actually write the first chapter.
And then, in your moment of glory, start writing.
This keeps you happy and excited and thrilled to start again the next day. When you work on that first chapter, do part of it. Do the first half, then leave the rest for tomorrow. When you aren’t working on writing, you can start thinking about how you will promote your book. There’s always something helpful to procrastinate with.
So the bottom line is you need to leave some of the excitement for tomorrow. Look forward to your writing session, instead of dreading it. If you follow these tips, you’ll find it changes everything.
Thanks so much for listening to this course and I hope it’s been helpful 🙂 Next up is the last lesson in this part, and we’ll go over how to NEVER STOP your writing career. Stay tuned!
If you have missed the first lesson in section 3 you can read it here.
If you have missed Section 2 you can catch up here.