During NaNoWriMo, lack of motivation is by far the biggest hurdle a writer will have to overcome, and the lucky writers who do not have to fight through it are few and far between. When writing a novel in a month, time is of the essence, and a single day could make or break your writing challenge. So today, I’ll be sharing some tips for staying motivated, writing on through days of low motivation and coming out on the other side.
My first tip for overcoming writers’ block, is to play music from your favourite videogame, or just any videogame soundtrack in general. Yes, specifically a videogame! It’s specifically designed to make you feel motivated to complete a task or keep playing, so videogame music is the perfect backing track to novel-writing. In addition, it usually doesn’t have lyrics, so you’ll have plenty of room to keep thinking and writing without distractions. Similarly, keeping a playlist of music that thematically fits your novel or characters and listening to that whilst walking, doing chores, or working out always works for me!
My next advice is to read through your synopsis, plans, and ideas notebooks regularly. This doesn’t need to be done alongside your novel, though; sometimes reading your materials in a more relaxed setting, such as a café or on a bench in your favourite outdoorsy spot is just what you’ll need to know how to progress.
Another important thing is, if you are stuck on one scene in particular, skim or even skip it. The first draft doesn’t matter too much, so just describe it in the barest of details needed to get the idea on your edit. As I said earlier, milling on one scene for days or weeks on end when there’s a deadline in sight could well be your downfall. But when you take a step back and just skim the important bits, you might be surprised by what you produce when you’re not worried about how it flows!
Finally, and most importantly, if you keep on pushing through your block, but find that it only gets harder the further on you get, allow yourself to take a day’s break. Take care of yourself and stop writing entirely. Read some novels, do something you enjoy, and most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it. You’ll find that when you return to your piece in the coming days, you’ll feel refreshed and, more often than not, the words will flow easier than you ever thought they would. If you need someone’s permission, then take mine; novels are hard! So even if you finish it a day late, give yourself the opportunity to rest.