This is not something I like to admit, but I am struggling with motivation to work on my next novel. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing and story-telling. However, I am not at that stage yet. I am still at the planning stage, and I just can’t seem to get excited about this new story.
Well, I am excited about the characters, but before I can begin writing there is still so much planning to do. I have to get the rest of the world developed, and I know, even as much as I don’t feel like doing it, that my story will be better if I do it now before I begin writing.
But the end of school year/beginning of summer is such a busy time. Other things have demanded my attention. There were the end of school picnics, field day and our end-of-the-year PTA breakfast. Then there are first days of summer activities (which included a pool party I was in charge of throwing) as the kids enjoy their freedom. Even as I knew these things would pull me away from my writing, I vowed to try writing some each day. But that didn’t last, and I kept putting off working on my book. Other things just demanded my time more.
Some might say then that my new novel idea isn’t good enough. If it was a solid idea, I should be driven to write it. I don’t believe that is true. I like the characters I have developed. I think once I iron out the plot to make sure it is strong and compelling that this will turn out to be a great story.
And this lack of motivation has hit me before. It happened on my last two books. Writing Destiny, the conclusion of my trilogy, should have been easy as the world and characters were already developed and the storyline begun. But I wanted a satisfying ending, and I was introducing a new secondary antagonist so it took some work before I finally felt everything click into place.
And with The Heir to Alexandria, I had the plot worked out pretty well in advance, but it was the characters that took a little more time to develop. They changed a lot from my first ideas. I made them older and for my male main character, I completely changed his job and his background.
I think part of the problem is that the planning process can be slow, and it is easy to get discouraged or overwhelmed with the amount of work required. I mean it isn’t like all you need is a good idea and a character or two. It takes more planning than that – especially when developing a whole world for your setting.
So anyone who is thinking about sitting down and penning a novel, there are a few things you need to have to be successful. (Okay, there really is a lot to writing a successful novel, but I am thinking more in terms of personality traits.)
Self-Discipline – You have to be able to stick with what has to be done even if it is not fun or exciting. You have to reassure yourself that the planning stage (or editing stage or whatever stage you are stuck at) is necessary.
Long Attention Span – You don’t pen a novel in a few short weeks. It takes months of focus and commitment to write, rewrite, edit and reedit to polish your book until it is ready for publication.
Yes, the more excited you are about your book, the more determination you will have to see that it comes to fruition. However, a lack of excitement over a phase doesn’t mean the end of the world. Or so I am telling myself.
And so I find myself in that familiar place of where I need to plan out my novel. Unfortunately, I am allowing my lack of enthusiasm to put me off of what I love doing. I need to get over this hump and get moving on this story. Part of me knows that soon this will be a distant memory. I will be engrossed in a new adventure. Here is hoping that summer plans don’t hinder me too much with getting past this unproductive phase.