One of the less talked about elements of writing a book is momentum. Defined as the quality that keeps an event developing or making progress after it has started, momentum can be a play a powerful role in your success as an author.
Writing momentum can be achieved in many ways and writing every day, even if it’s just fifteen minutes, is probably the most crucial. At the same though, you need to know what you want to say - nothing kills momentum faster than not knowing what to write.
So if your writing sessions are sporadic or unproductive, here are my top five tips to help you keep the momentum going.
1. Outline Your Book
I know this is controversial – not every creative likes to plan, but by outlining your chapters, you’ll avoid writers’ block and optimise your writing sessions. Also consider just how many details there are in a book – hundreds, if not thousands, and it’s so easy to get lost in your own work. This is especially true if you’re writing novel with different time periods.
To outline, I use an Excel spreadsheet, but I know people who use Post It notes, mind maps, and even online systems, such as Scrivener. In my digital course, Kick Start Your Book With Karen, I dedicate a lot of time to outlining because it’s one of the most effective tools to achieving your goals. And don’t forget, just because you’ve created an outline doesn’t mean it won’t change – nothing is set in stone!
2. Identify When Motivation Is Highest
Mornings, specifically between 8 am and 12 noon, are my most productive time and I usually write five mornings a week, but everyone is different with different responsibilities, so ask yourself, when are you at your most creative? I also know that as the working week goes on, I get more tired, so on the first day of the week, I will often go beyond my daily word count to give me a head start.
3. Keep Editing To A Minimum (Initially)
Or in other words, write fast. It’s incredibly tempting to go back and continuously edit and re-edit your work but I try and avoid this, especially with the first draft. My momentum climbs along with my word count, so the more I write, the more I feel I can write. Of course, there are times when I write dribble, but if that’s the case, I will highlight it in red to flag that a particular section needs work at a later date.
4. Plan For Bad Days
If you’re like me, some days can be harder to write than others. Whether I’m distracted with other demands or simply lacking inspiration, there are inevitably days, even weeks, when I just don’t feel like it. To address this, I made a list of back-up plans, my most favourite being to move to another location - a change of scene normally does the trick. Another option is to go for a walk or do some exercise – a writer’s life is fairly sedentary so even just ten minutes of movement can help. Finally, a good network of other authors is a great support. I meet with my writing buddy once a week which keeps me accountable and I also set up a Facebook page to keep us all connected and share tips and techniques.
5. Treat It Like A Job
It took me a long time to practise this, but it’s a game changer! You have to be your own boss and show up just like you would if you worked in a corporate company. And if writing feels indulgent or you find your writing time being put on the back burner, remember this quote by Robin William’s: No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
These are just some of the ideas that work for me. Every writer works differently though, and I always love to hear hacks from other writers – please feel free to share!
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