When I decided to write a novel I knew it would be a challenging process. You have so many words to write and get right. Due to the size of the project, you have to commit a lot more of your time than you would need to do for a short story. Even though I was prepared for the hard work, I underestimated how hard it would be to get a novel from draft to submission ready. I always thought that I would finish editing my novel within a year. Well, I started writing my novel in November 2014 and finished the first draft in February 2015, and two years later I’m only on my third draft (Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been working on the same novel for nearly three years).
Now, I know novels can take a long time, but the reason why I have taken so long with mine is that I am suffering from a lack of motivation. Editing a novel can be so brain draining at times, and because of this, I am finding myself distracted by other things, which is why I’m not getting very far with my third draft.
So, instead of continuing on this roundabout, I have decided to research ways to help boost my motivation. And from my research I have found the following tips on the Wiki ‘How to Stay Motivated’ article:
- Remind yourself of your goal – when you’re fighting with the editing process it can be easy to forget why you are doing this in the first place. So take the time to remember why you decided to write this book in the first place. And also remember how wonderful it would be to see your book in a Waterstone’s shop window.
- Deadlines – when you are working on a project such as a novel you are unlikely to have any deadlines unless you are signed to a publisher. This means that it can be easy to leave your novel at the bottom of the pile. So, instead of doing that, you should give yourself a firm deadline. That, in itself, will spur you on to get the work done.
- Make weekly goals – I have mentioned before how breaking down bigger goals can make them more achievable. I have a yearly goal, monthly goals, and weekly goals. This allows me to check to see if I’m on track. However, I feel that my weekly goals for my novel need to be more specific. My weekly novel editing goal is to edit seven chapters, but I think it would be better if my goal is more specific e.g. edit chapters 15-21. I’m hoping if I am more specific it will me achieve better results.
- Reward yourself – reaching a goal can be a reward enough, but sometimes you need a little extra something to make you more motivated. That can be anything from a glass of wine to a new handbag (I love handbags).
- Take breaks – when you keep working on a project and it isn’t going to plan it can feel like bashing your head against a wall. So, instead of doing that, you should take some time away from the computer or your writing desk, and instead enjoy another activity. I love baking, so I will be taking the time to do more of that. I find that when you’re focusing on other things, you subconscious solves the writing problems for you.
- Read motivational stories – I love reading articles in the Writing Magazine about published authors and their journeys. It always inspires me to keep going.
- Set an alert on your phone – All you have to do is set a reminder on your phone that tells you to edit your novel. If the alert is set to alarm at a certain time, this will help you develop a routine.
- Eliminate distractions – I am easily distracted, which is one of my main problems when it comes to editing my novel. There are many things, such as social media, the television, your phone, birds sitting on the tree, which can distract you from working on your novel. So to stop procrastination, you must eliminate these distractions.
- Exercise – exercise is known to help improve your mood, So, if your mood is improved, then you will feel more motivated. So, I’m back on the Wii fit in the hopes of improving my mood and my body.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – constantly bashing yourself for missing deadlines and goals can work against you. Instead of being shamed into action, you’ll find yourself losing further motivation. So, if you don’t complete a goal, then don’t allow yourself to dwell on that and remember that tomorrow is another day.
So, there you have it – 10 tips to stay motivated with editing your novel. I’m hoping they work for me because I really would like to have this book finished this year.
Let me know if you have any motivational tips, or if you have tried any of the above.
Keep writing, folks!