Love it at the Core

Every year I participate in WriMoNaNo (and WriMoNaNo Camp) and probably the biggest thing I see is the forums filling up with discouragement. Post after post of people commenting how they’ve only gotten a thousand or five hundred words and now they’re stuck. There are those who are nearly a third of the way through when suddenly they’ve lost interest and find themselves forcing their way through it.

For some of them it is simply a matter of writer’s block. Don’t be afraid of it. Everyone gets it. Simply work where you can and surround yourself with things that inspire you or get you in the creative mood. Whittle away at it a little at a time and soon enough the urge to write will return. Don’t spend your time cramming words onto a page when you hate what you are doing. Writer’s block is different for everyone just like writing is, but personally I find I tend to resent writing and what I do more when I try to force it.

For others though the matter is less simple. While it is not the case for all, many stop caring what they are writing about. Whatever had seemed like an amazing plot idea to them a week earlier is now, in their mind, a boring pile of junk. When you feel that way it is no wonder that you find yourself unable to write or care about the characters. The absolute most important thing when writing is to enjoy what you are writing about.

Are you going to love every scene? No, of course not. You may even have characters you dislike, but you should never have trouble writing because you so loath getting into their character or into the plot line that you can’t get yourself to sit down and spend thirty minutes typing. If it is such an utter struggle, step back and take time to figure out why. What is it that you hate so much? And once you figure that out start to think on how you can change that. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing which character’s perspective you are writing from and other times you will find yourself throwing out a whole plot.

It can be discouraging, but you will feel infinitely better working on something you love a month later than finding yourself two weeks down the line throwing in the towel completely because you simply cannot stand your story any longer.

For me this is why the planning and organizing stage is one of the most important. I spend time developing the plot, world, and characters and developing layers to each. I try to set up a foundation that I enjoy so even when the plot or a character takes a sudden veer into territory I never planned on I still have, at the core, something I love. This makes even the scenes I am less fond of much easier to write because I care.

You need to give a damn what you are writing about. No, that does not mean you have to care about world revolution or teen romance, but it means at the end of the day you need to care about those characters. If one is in a situation where they may not survive, and your muse has the reins and could pull a crazy character killing stunt at any moment, you better damn well be nervous that you’ll find yourself writing a death scene before you’re aware of what’s going on. (Yes… Sometimes that happens.)

Take time to mule over your idea. Toy with it, day dream with it, and jot down notes. Build up a base that gets you excited or warms you. If you can love the core of it then you will find the writing that branches out to be far more pleasurable to deal with. Because remember, you’re going to have to read that story over and over again when it comes time to start editing.

So love what you write. Form a bond with your characters. It will be a far more rewarding experience in the end. Then, one day, when you find yourself yelling at your characters for not following the outline or apologizing to them for hacking off a limb, don’t worry. You’re not crazy. You are just a writer.