It’s been a week since I decided to commit myself to writing 500 words a day in my WIP. So far, I’m proud to say it’s been FABULOUS. 500 words is the perfect goal for me because it’s a manageable amount that I can spend 30 minutes to an hour on, and if I feel like writing more I can, and if not then no big deal. It’s given me the push I needed to get my writing groove back. And it got me thinking about other ways to get back in the writing groove in case committing to a daily word count isn’t enough. So here are the five best ways I know of to launch back into writing mode even when it feels like you’re in a hopeless slump of writer’s block! May the writing force be with you…
1. Read Back Over What You’ve Already Written
This is my go-to move to get back in the writing zone. Even if I’m halfway through my book, if I feel like I’m losing my mojo and that I suck, I just open the Word doc and start reading from the top. I keep going until I feel inspired again, which usually only takes a chapter or two. Sometimes I’ll read over the whole thing and revise and edit as I go along, helping perfect my blossoming creation. It doesn’t hurt, right? In fact, it usually makes for an easier proofread/edit later on and helps me remember little tidbits of information to add later in the story.
2. If You Have An Outline, READ IT!
I find refreshing my memory on what I have planned for my book gives me a kind of strange, giddy excitement. It’s probably because I write romance and remembering all the adorably romantic moments coming up for my characters brings a big goofy smile to my face. I love the anticipation of what’s to come, but it’ll only happen if I get my butt in gear and write it! I also enjoy getting excited about writing an upcoming scene, knowing it’ll be super dramatic or funny or whatever I have planned. So if you have an outline, whether it’s super detailed like mine tend to be or if it’s just bullet points, refresh your memory on what’s to come and get excited again!
3. Listen To Your Book’s Playlist…On Repeat.
What do you mean you don’t have a book playlist? Make one, STAT! Okay, so not everyone gets inspired by music but if you do, then you probably already have a long list of songs that fit your story like a glove. I always make a playlist before I even begin writing. It goes on my iPod, then gets played on repeat for a good month or two. Each song is carefully selected to fit my characters, the mood of the story, a specific scene, or the genre of the book itself. Since I always incorporate romance in my books, there’s plenty of good relationship songs of varying degrees of angst and fluffiness to help inspire me. But I always like to add other kinds of songs to my playlists, too. My current WIP takes place in L.A. and is about music, so this song was a no brainer! So if you’re feeling stuck in a writing rut, take a few hours and relax with the music that inspired the story in the first place, and maybe it’ll be exactly what you need to get back to writing.
4. Get Back In Touch With Your Characters
Sometimes I find that I have a pretty good idea of who my characters are going to be when I begin my book, but by the halfway point I feel like maybe I’ve lost them somewhere in the middle of all these “perfect” sentences I’m struggling to write. I focus more on my word choices and sentence structure and less on what my characters feel and what their motivations are, and that’s no bueno. So what I like to do is read over my notes OR hit my astrology books and refine my understanding of who they are and what they want. It may sound like it’s too late for this if you’re already halfway done with your book, but you’d be surprised how helpful it can be to refresh your memory on your character’s motivations. Everyone knows I’m a big believer in using astrology to help define character personalities, so if you’ve selected a zodiac sign for your character it may help to read over the specifics of that personality type to give you a boost of inspiration for scenes going forward. I promise, it helps more than you’d think!
5. Read Someone Else’s Work
I read a lot of the books my writing buddies put out, and for some reason every time I open one I find myself antsy to write my own story. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like magic. I think it’s because I sit there and think, well, they could do it, so I can too! It’s kind of like my competitive side comes out and I just can’t help but hop back onto the computer and re-open my WIP. The same is true when I start reading any book, especially one written by my favorite author of all time, Nora Roberts. Her work always inspires me to write, even if I’m in the slumpiest of writing slumps. It’s about going back to what first made me want to become a writer and re-installing that inspiration into my brain. Works like a charm!
Hopefully one or more of these methods will help you get your writing groove back. I’m still swearing by the 500-words a day goal, but I frequently put the others to good use as well when I’m feeling out of it. Good luck and keep writing! 🙂
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I love this! We share some philosophies on process, especially number three. Reblogging. Thanks for posting!
Glad to hear! You’re welcome and thanks for reblogging! 😀
Well done Katie. My pleasure!
Reblogged this on Paige Randall and commented:
Great thoughts here. Enjoy!
Totally agree with all of this. But for me it’s always a must to listen to music because it’s a big motivator of mine. Another way to get your groove back would be remember what is your motivator and why do you even write? It helps me everytime.
Yep music is an amazing way to get inspired! I definitely agree on remembering why we enjoy writing, too. There has to be a reason for putting ourselves through the joyous pain of writing a book 🙂
Reblogged this on The Official Site of Celeste DeWolfe and commented:
I really like this post, so I thought I would share it with you! Especially since I agree with all of the suggestions–especially #5. So thanks for the tips, Miss Jennings!
You’re welcome! Thanks for reblogging! 😀
Reblogged this on Confessions of a published author and commented:
Very useful, thank you
I think I’ve done all of these stages, and they do help a lot. My most useful tool is the book playlist. If I listen to the right song, or series of songs, then I find myself back in the world of the book and ready to go.
I totally agree 🙂 Sometimes you hear a song and it just CLICKS and it’s like it was made for your story. With my last book it was “Mad Season” by Matchbox Twenty. Weird choice but that song was practically the anthem for the whole book haha.
Actually, I’m a big Matchbox 20 song, and “Mad Season” becomes the anthem for many of my characters. It’s a great song.
Awesome! They have a ton of great songs but that one’s my favorite for sure 😀
Great tips! No 3 usually does it for me. Combo that with #1 works like a charm. 😀
Yep, I’d be lost without music! 😀