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Keeping the Momentum

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August 16, 2012 by jcfarnham

I have always been told that the single most important thing about being a writer is to keep the momentum going. Ask any prefessional author and you’ll probably find that they attribute their success to being able to sit their arse in front of their laptop/notepad/typewriter and just get words down… oh and editors and publishers breathing down their neck. That helps apparently. Not that I would know.

We all know I’m not published, not even self published, so when I offer advice I’m doing so from my limited experience. But experiences, I can draw from to talk about publishing and momentum.

Since I started being a more active blogger I’ve noticed (as of writing this post) a steady increase in traffic. I’d like to be able attribute this to hooking and keeping readers who pass through with consistancy. They visit once, they like what they see, they visit again. If I can provide them with something new on that second visit they’ll check back again… hopefully.

So what I’m trying to say is, since my blogging momentum is paying off (slightly), conversely if one applied this theory to writing then:

Momentum = An actual product to sell = Readers who stick around.

I am failing incredibly at this right now.

I was swimming through Chapter 8 of Faebound [a fight scene, woo, feel so manly] and took a break to sleep. You know that thing you have to do ;-). And when I came back to it what ever spark I had found the previous session… was gone. The moral of this story is to keep writing that damn chapter, no matter what, or else.

But then I realised. I have no idea what that “spark” is. How can I possibly get it back if I don’t know what it is?

The most inspired and efficient I have ever been, was during the November of 2011. It was my first NaNoWriMo. I completed the challenge and wrote over 50,000 words in just one month. I unequivocally know that I can hit that level of productivity. Perhaps the key to my getting through Chapter 8 is trying to recapture some of that NaNoMagic?

The key to NaNoWriMo’s success has to be the pace, the force, the community and the social aspect… but the biggest thing that helped me was writing a complete outline. I didn’t have to stop and think about what’s going to happen next, and therefore have time to start doubting myself. I just kept writing.

We amateur writers often get given useless advice like “Just do it.” If I knew what it was that would be fine, but since I don’t… not helpful.

Instead, let’s analyse what it was that got me through my most productive time. 

1) It seems I need to be forced into writing by some sort of outside pressure. I don’t have deadlines to meet, so perhaps the key to achieving this is to get a writing group. That’s one group of people who won’t give a crap about my excuses, and someone who’ll look at my work and tell me what isn’t going to fly.

2) I need to remember to finish an outline for Faebound (but only because I’m a plotter.)

3) Just write… kidding.

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4 thoughts on “Keeping the Momentum

  1. Man, if you could bottle that spark, it'd change the world. I like to think of it as something that happens spontaneously and irregularly, but scales linearly with how often you write. So the more you write, the more you spark. 🙂

  2. Joining a writing group with one of the objectives being that they will motivate you to finish–not a good reason to join and it won't happen. In the end it comes down to persistence and self-discipline. That's what will get the job done.Setting goals, reasonable goals, measurable goals is one thing that might work. If NaNoWriMo works–set a word count goal for a month, why not set a goal of 5000 words a week.Sometimes that spark is there, sometimes it isn't. But the story is there, inside of you. The only way to get it out there for others to enjoy is to do the work required. Because writing, while sometimes fun and interesting, is also work.Or that's how I see it. Good luck moving forward!

  3. Jc Farnham says:

    Specifically, I find that being around people who are constantly writing and consistantly producing material to be a huge motivational boost to me. I end up thinking "I'm literate right? I have stories in me. Well, if they can do it, why can't I?" It helps, if only because I feel guilty.Such was the case during NaNoWriMo 😉

  4. Jc Farnham says:

    You know, that "linear scaling" is exactly what I was driving at. Nice way to put it Benjamin. Interesting phenomen-n-non.

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