Last week’s entree I put a lot of thought into and I’m hoping to more posts like that; so I thought about doing a similar post for this week. I’ve been asked a couple of times about my writing process and how I keep myself motivated to write. To put it simply: writing is hard. You’re taking something inside of your own head and putting it down on paper (or a word document) and that’s easier said than done. How do I write consistently? That’s what I’m here to talk about and I hope what I put helps you. Just read with a grain of salt, since this is my way to keep at it. Not everybody is the same and you should strive to find your own way. As some would say, cut your own path. (Only some will get that reference and I love you if you do)
Now I want to start by saying that I get paid to write. I haven’t been getting paid to do this for very long, so a lot of this is new to me. However, for me, I’ve noticed that just rolling out of bed and writing never has worked. This takes a lot of brainpower, so I’ve always had to give my brain some time to boot up. Some people can just start their day running at max capacity, but I’ve never been able to do that. For normal people that aren’t me, I would assume a good breakfast is a great way to get your brain working. I’ve never been a big breakfast person and that results in me needing caffeine to get going. On top of not being a breakfast person, I also hate coffee. The taste of it is just putrid to me and I can’t stomach drinking the stuff. This means I take the unhealthy option: energy drinks. I’m not suggesting that because it’s incredibly unhealthy, but it’s what works for me. Once I’ve got caffeine pumping through my veins, I begin to get to work.
How do I stay motivated? This is a difficult question to answer since motivation is a hard beast to describe. I’ve battled with motivation before and I know how hard it can be to stay motivated in your daily life. On top of that, not everybody gets paid for writing and money is a large motivator. Think about it; when your boss threatens to write you up at work for doing a poor job, aren’t you motivated? The same exists for me. I know that if I don’t do a good job, then I could wake up tomorrow with my writing career out the window. Before I got paid I found my reason to continue writing slipping through my fingers. What always brought me back was reading or watching the thing that motivated me in the first place. If you want to be a playwright? Then watch that piece that made you want to become one. A film director? Great, go rent your favorite movie on Amazon. How about a New York Times Best Seller? Go to the library and check out that book that you adore–if you don’t have it in your own personal collection. I’ve always made it a thing where I absorb the media that inspired me in the first place. This includes anime, visual novels, and books. Remind yourself why you want to write and remember the goal you set for yourself. I know that I need a constant reminder, so don’t feel bad if you do too.
I’ve covered my motivation and my mornings, so it’s time to talk about how I actually write. I usually write using Google Docs. I’ll seriously show you how much of a mess it is below.
I’ve censored some of the pieces I can’t share, but as you can see I have a lot of documents. If I kept scrolling, I would have had a lot more to show off. That isn’t even my work documents, those are just my personal ones. Every day I have a solid plan on what I need to write. Some days I work on projects for work and others I work on my blog entree like this one. I’m in the middle of writing right now and that makes explaining my process that much easier.
I start by opening my playlist on Youtube. I’d share it, but out of fear of getting judged by my weird writing music, I’ll keep it to myself. Just like before, I’ll show a quick screencap below to convey how much effort I put into my writing.
I ended up naming the playlist after my main series since that’s when I use it the most–when writing that book. As you can see, I have almost 400 songs dedicated to writing alone. I’ve found that having certain music that inspires specific scenes helps me tremendously. At the same time, this allows me to build a decent-sized playlist of music to write. Now, you might be different. You might not be able to write with such loud music. If that’s the case, there are plenty of calm playlists that’ll work a lot better. I find that listening to this playlist cuts me off from the outside world. I can’t hear the conversations going on a floor above me or my cat trying to bust her way into my closed door. I can isolate myself and get my writing done. I use Youtube’s paid service so I don’t have to deal with advertisements to make distractions minimum. Cutting myself off keeps me on track. For the last part of my process, I flick a switch in my head. I have a brain that’ll go a mile-a-minute and if I don’t turn it on and off, then I’d never sleep. So as soon as I open my documents, I let loose and allow my brain to explode.
That’s the bulk of my writing process. It definitely won’t be the same for you, but maybe you can take some ideas from how I do things. I’m nowhere near good enough to offer you advice, so please don’t think of me as a simple amateur trying his best to help. If you want some of the best advice I’ve studied, then I suggest a Youtube page called Author Level Up.
Notorious Writer’s Block?
I figured I would save the elephant for the final part. Writer’s block; have you heard of it? If you’ve written for more than a week, then you probably have. Simply put, it’s a block we put in our own minds to keep us from writing. This doesn’t just include writing, we block so many things in our lives. We block making up with someone to repair a damaged relationship and we also block working on homework. It’s my personal opinion that there is no cure for this since it’s a state-of-mind. How do you get over procrastination? You just do it. There are tips to help, but ultimately it starts with you. My personal experience with this is stopping for the day if I’m finding myself blocked. The best way to describe it is maybe a foreign reference. I’ve met a lot of my friends through playing a game called Destiny. In this game, there is an in-game activity that requires 6 people and a ton of teamwork. After a while, we’d find ourselves at a block and consistently failing. Even if we knew how to do it, we’d fail to the point of exhaustion. When it got that bad, we always stopped for the night and picked it up the next day. It’s funny how after so much failure, we could come back and finish it first try. That’s something I’ve used for my own writing. If I find myself struggling and forcing words out, I would stop for the day. Then, if I don’t find motivation in the middle of the night, I’d finish the next day. Take a deep breath, it’ll be okay. When you pick it back up, come out of the gate with twice the energy you had yesterday.
Well, this one went on a lot longer than I thought it would. I wasn’t sure I’d have the words to make a complete post. I hope this gave you a bigger insight into how I do things. I leave you all with one last piece of advice: keep going. No matter how bleak it may seem, just keep going. Who knows; maybe you’ll have a breakthrough.
As always, thank you all for reading and I’ll see you next week. 🙂