Loving What You Write

I've had a hard time writing lately. Oh don't worry, there's still a novel on sub, and another novel ready to go after that one. This page is still up to date (wait, is it up to date? . . . Yes, now it's up to date).

What's been hard is writing something new. Part of that has been RPG crafting systems and dialogue design (who knew two full-time jobs would be so much work, am I right?). Part of it is in that first paragraph: I'm on sub, have another ready to go, and my brain is saying, "Why are you writing more?"

BUT I've figured out something that makes it hard to write no matter how many jobs or kids I have: I'm bored of the book.

It sucks, I know, but it has two very easy fixes:
  1. Find what you love about the book (you did love something, right?) and do that.
  2. If all you're left with is things you don't love, fix them until you do.
For me, that played out in a few ways.

I read ahead in my outline until I hit a scene I was excited about. Once I remembered the cool thing I was working toward, it gave me motivation and ideas for how to get there. SO much better than thinking, "Okay, now I have to write a scene where he goes to school again . . ."

(Obviously if you're Zuko-ing it, you won't have an outline, but you have notes, right? Ideas? You can at least think ahead even if you can't read ahead).

World-building. You may know I love me some world-building. A lot of times when I'm bored it's because the world is boring. So I fix that and add something cool. Like mechs or displacer beasts.

I made up some slang. This is part of world-building, but it's become such a fundamental part of my process (and it was such a fundamental part of me getting unstuck today) that it deserves its own paragraph. I HEART SLANG. I came up with six new words and a system unique to this world for just a couple of pages (which, for you math-minded, means that about 1% of the words on those pages are completely made up).

If those don't work for you, then maybe it's the characters, maybe you need to know what they want or fear. Maybe you need to talk to yourself about the story a while, or maybe you just need to get out.

The important thing is that if you're bored with the story, your readers probably will be too. Find what you love and fill the story with that.


Jenilyn Collings said...

This is an excellent post. Thank you for sharing. And now to dive back in and remember what I loved about this WIP... :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah, if i'm bored with a story, it will kill all motivation to write. Which is one of the reasons i try and draft as fast as possible, to finish it before i get bored with it

Matthew MacNish said...

I forgot about the displacer beasts!

I've been struggling with my latest MS too. What helps me (but can also discourage) is critiquing an excellent MS, and falling in love with seeing what works again.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Ooh. Love this post. Especially since I don't outline! Always, always go to the part you enjoy (or take a break if you're hating it)! There's never a point in taking the fun out of writing! That's what I say, anyway! :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...


Writing is hard right now, not because I'm bored, but because it's ALL FREAKING NEW. Start a new story is hard. It's work I love, but I have to remind myself to be patient when I'm inventing like five thousand things at once and creating an entire universe in my head just so I can write one paragraph.

Patience, grasshopper. <--me talking to myself oy vey

Myrna Foster said...

Haha! If I'm bored, I figure out the absolute worst thing I can do to my characters. Then I work it into the plot.

Displacer beasts sound like fun. :o)

Steve MC said...

Thanks for the link to your slang article - I just printed it up.

One thing that goes with fears and wants is one's stated goal vs. their actual goal. Which goes along with a tip from Jen Burke - what lies are they telling others, and what lies are they telling themselves?

Unknown said...

Yeah, I've abandoned a MG-YA boy cross-over book because I could no longer get into it. Maybe someday I'll come back to it, but I have 4 in my Mason Davis series I still need to work on, a YA romance, and now my 9 year old wants to co-author a spin off series for the Mason Davis one, and my 13 year old wants to add a 5th to the original series. Yikes. I'm swimming in worlds and words alike. Throw me a line - I'm drowning!

Nick said...

Have you heard about this game coming out soon called Torment? Well, I think if someone were working on that full time, and not having the creative juices for other creative stuff, he shouldn't beat himself up about it. Also, I hear the novellas for Torment are pretty good!

Keep being awesome, and do some manual labor, that always gives the creative brain time to catch up :)