Ah, the fresh start of a novel. How I love it: the excitement of meeting new characters, the limitless options, the scenes that can’t wait to be written. If you ignore that panic-inducing face-off with the blank page, it’s an exhilarating moment.
And almost as exhilarating, or perhaps even more, is the feeling of writing “The End” and laying down your, well, keyboard.
How many times have you experienced the first?
How many times have you experienced the second?
Chances are, if you’re human, that you’ve begun writing more books than you’ve completed. I know I have. I’m sure many of my readers have. So first, you’re in good company. And second, it’s only natural.
Okay, but so is gravity. And people still insist on trying to climb the Everest.
Writing a novel is a lot like mountain climbing: it means constantly striving against lack of time, self doubt, sometimes lack of inspiration, and other such ailments. You need to be stubborn, and you need to be passionate about what you do.
The Flames of Passion
A couple of years ago, I worked with Camille on completing her first novel. She brought great energies and enthusiasm to the table, and dived right into the first three chapters.
And then she ran out.
Of passion, I mean.
This kept happening to her with idea after idea, every time she began writing a novel, and she came to me in the hopes of breaking the vicious cycle. Luckily, my life coach and mentor Michael was on hand to help. Here’s what he said:
You can’t expect your writing passion to last on its own. You have to constantly feed it.
And that’s a good thing, actually. It means that passion is not something you either have or don’t have. Passion needs stoking just like a good fire, and anyone could keep a fire going.
Here are five tips to keep that fire burning.
1. Why You Write
Ask yourself this important question, and write down your best answer. Write it down in detail, when you’re in a happy, positive mind frame. Every day, before you sit down to write, go back to this message from yourself and remind yourself exactly why you’re doing it.
2. Cover Art
Go ahead, judge a book by its cover. We all know how exciting it is to see our work wrapped up in gorgeous graphics. It’s like a final seal of merit.
Why not feel like that ahead of time? Try to envision your cover. Pretend you’re holding your printed book in your hands and drooling over the gorgeous artwork. Search the Internet for images that would work for your cover. Heck, hire someone on the cheap to create the cover for you.
Look at your cover or cover images whenever you feel low on energy, and reach for that sense of exhilaration at finally holding the completed work in your hands.
Write the back cover blurb as soon as you can. Make it exciting and attention-grabbing, like a good blurb should be. Whenever you feel like you’re losing your way with the story, go back to that blurb, read it, and realign yourself to it. (Or edit it, if your story has since changed.)
Reading “about” your story instead of your story is a great way to remember what you wanted to tell your readers.
4. The Best Review
Why wait for a 5-star review of your work? Write one yourself! Think what would be the most exciting, enlightening, uplifting review that someone can write for your book, and write it yourself. It will help you aspire to greatness as you work on this book and to bring out the best in yourself.
5. The Interview
How nice, a newspaper editor likes your book so much that they ask you for an interview! (Never mind that you still haven’t finished the book.) Write an interview that explores what you love best about your book, what were your difficulties in writing it, what were the scenes you enjoyed the most. Try to envision how you would feel throughout the process of writing your book. Make it a positive interview, and come back to it for another charge of passion.
All Together Now
Keeping your passion alive is a work in and of itself, aside from writing. Don’t neglect it, or you might run out of fuel before you write the final words. With these five tips, you’ll have something to feed your passion when it’s getting low.