How to Make Yourself Write
- You've all seen posts like this:
- >tfw want to write but can't make motivate myself
- >tfw you still haven't finished your fic
- Hell, we've all been there at some point, but the way to go about changing it and getting shit done isn't by sitting there and moping over it. Instead use these tips, many of which I've had to learn through personal experience.
- -Get rid of any distractions that might get in the way. Boredom can kick-start creativity, and it'll help you stay focused. That includes the thread itself, I should add- so either close it up or write when you're not on 4chan.
- -Don't be afraid of the possibility that the first draft won't be good. The first draft is NEVER good. Just focus on getting it finished before trying to iron out every single mistake you can find. If you can find a beta reader, they can be a big help in that regard, since a standard spellchecker won't tell you about things like how well the story flows or whether or not the characters are well-written. It takes human help for that sort of thing.
- -Set up a deadline for yourself. Creating time pressure to get a certain amount of shit finished will ensure that you get SOMETHING made. Maybe it won't be all of what you set out to do, but sometimes the stick works better than the carrot, so to speak. That doesn't mean you should rush it, though. Nobody's going to ask you to write X paragraphs within a time limit, and even the most impatient of requesters are aware that a rushed fic is often a bad fic.
- -Make an outline before you get to writing. If you have an idea of what it is you want to write in mind and can stick to it, you've already accomplished a large chunk of what you need to do. Improvising can work sometimes, but it'll only take you so far. This is especially important if the fic in question is slated to be part of a series, since you'll necessarily need to plan ahead in order to ensure that the different fics in the series don't end up contradicting each other. (On that note, consider making your first stories self-contained. All too often I've seen series which only end up having one entry for one reason or another, and the loose ends left behind tend to drag down the story itself even if the rest of it is otherwise done well. So don't start a fic series if you don't intend to finish it.)
- -Don't ask for advice or post WIPs to the thread every time you feel like you're stuck and need help. People on the threads might be willing to assist you at first, but doing so too often will make you seem needy and discourage people from reading the completed fic when it does get posted since they'll have seen so many previous versions of it. Again, this is where a beta reader can be invaluable since they'll be willing to go through the whole thing as many times as necessary; just keep in mind that this doesn't mean you should have them do all the work for you. It's still your story, and at the end of the day you're the one who has to write it. I had to learn this the hard way, and I can assure you it isn't a pleasant experience.
- -If you still find you need a little extra help, look into the "Write or Die" app (available at writeordie.com). While the exact settings are highly customizeable, in its basic settings the app tracks how much you're writing. It then either rewards you when you reach a certain number of words typed out, or penalizes you for going too long without writing anything (either via playing obnoxious sounds until you start writing again, or systematically deleting what you've already written, word by word). While the paid version has the greatest number of features available, the free version of the app available on the website gets the job done just as easily. Consider using it if you feel you just don't have the willpower to do it yourself and would prefer not to have someone looking over your shoulder as you write.
- -Don't procrastinate. "I'll do it later" is the death knell for many a promising fic, since "later" very quickly turns into "never". See above regarding that deadline, and make an alarm or a space in your schedule explicitly saying when you plan to write. A rushed fic may be a bad fic, but at least it has the sole redeeming value of existing at all.
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