Hi folks, sorry for the massive lack in updates for the past few weeks! I’ve not been in a great place lately but I’ve taken a few days off work so hopefully I’ll be more active from now on. These past few days have been a bit of a struggle; the first day I was off work I could barely get out of bed at all. But thankfully in the past couple of days I’ve been feeling a bit more motivated and put my time to good use; I got some fresh flowers for my Ostara altar, I made some lavender lemonade, I caught up with two of my best friends and most significantly – I wrote.
Anyone who aspires to be a writer (at least the majority of those I know or have spoken to) will tell you that being a writer involves a lot of not writing. Writer’s block is less of an occasional problem and more a consistent state of being. And let me tell you, no one can procrastinate like a writer can. I’m not exactly what you could call a professional writer; my writing has never been in so much as a school paper. But I have been writing for a hell of a long time, so I’m hoping I can share some tips on what helps me in terms of finding motivation to write.
1. Keep a notepad with you ALWAYS
This is a fairly common piece of advice, but honestly; KEEP IT WITH YOU. Most of my best ideas for phrases and descriptions and characters come to me in the middle of the night, so I keep my notepad next to my bed so I can write them straight away. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a notepad; I have a friend who has a notes folder on her phone dedicated to dreams that she can use in her stories. I prefer a notepad but if you are more technologically-minded than I am (which to be honest, most people under 70 are) then that’s a great alternative. Write anything that catches your eye, even if it doesn’t fit into to what you’re working on at the time. I’ve had customers at work who have inspired characters that I’ve scribbled on my break or on the bus home – characters I’ve not yet used and maybe never will. But it’s a great resource to have if you’re ever stuck for characters, settings or a nice way to round off a paragraph.
2. Make playlists for your characters
This is a rather subjective piece of advice, but it really works for me. I have Youtube playlists for just about everything, including my characters; some of the songs are chosen for the lyrics, as I’ve found that they sum up a characters’s personality or relationship perfectly; some are chosen purely on the music, as the sound works well for their emotions and mental state. I’ve made some for individual characters, some for romantic relationships between characters, some for platonic relationships between characters… I find it really helpful in terms of getting into a character’s mindset. This won’t work for everyone, but if you’re like me and music can massively influence your mood then it’s ideal. The only danger is that it can become very distracting – if you find yourself spending hours searching for more songs to add and no time actually writing, then it might not be working!
3. Do Myers-Briggs (or other personality tests) for your characters
This is one of the first things I do when planning a story. The humanmetrics Myers-Briggs test is my go-to for this, but essentially any personality test will do; simply answer the questions how you imagine your character would and see what they come out as. I find this useful in ensuring that my characters have distinctive personalities, as it gives me a clearer image of how they would react to certain situations, how they would interact with each other and their motivating factors.
This is great for both settings and characters; I have a powerpoint for my moodboards, with each slide being dedicated to a character or place.All I do is search for images that form an impression of the place or character, using sites like Google images, Deviantart and Tumblr. For example, one of the settings in the piece I’m currently working on is a divey bar, so I have pictures of old jukeboxes, bars smashed up after brawls and scuffed furniture. Sometimes if you really can’t think of what to do, just describing some of the images you have can give you the push you need to write
5. Even if you don’t have motivation, write anyway
Definitely easier said than done, but sometimes it really is the only way. I have written pages that I think are complete crap at the time and have taken me hours, but when I’ve looked back
on them in a more positive mood have actually been pretty good! You’re not always going to be motivated, but if you wait for inspiration for strike then you could be waiting for a while. However, if you just write something anyway – even if it’s rubbish and you end up changing it all – it can spur you on to do better later. My recommendation is to never delete what you’ve written immediately after writing it; leave it for a day, then come back to it and read it over. If you still don’t think it works, then you can change it. But for me, at least 70% of the time parts that I’ve thought were terrible were, on reflection, not as bad as I thought!
So, I hope this has been vaguely helpful to any aspiring writers out there! I feel like this post might be a bit messy and rough around the edges, but I’m hoping to be back in the swing of posting regularly again.
Blessed be )O(