Sunday, August 18, 2013

Go Teen Writers Virtual Writing Retreat: Sunday Breakfast Giveaway!


by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.

Me, Just Different was one of those books that I kept having to write. I wrote a first draft in 2004, during my first summer as a wife. I then rewrote at least twice over the next three years. The third rewrite happened because a literary agent showed interest in the story. During that last round of rewrites, I was typing with one hand and holding my month-old daughter in the other.

Roseanna White and I had just become friends, and I remember telling her, "I almost hope this agent tells me know so I can stop working on this book. I'm so tired."

The agent said yes. Barely two months later my publisher said yes. And I suddenly had not just energy to continue working on Skylar's story, but I was excited to do so. I had fallen in love with her story all over again.

Since completing Me, Just Different (for the final time) I have written seven complete novels and one non-fiction book. I've learned that, for me, fatigue is inevitable. That with each project, I come to a place of, "I'm so done with this book," long before I get to be done with the book.

When I don't feel like writing, I've learned to set my desk timer for 25 minutes. I tell myself I just have to focus on writing for 25 minutes. That after 25 minutes, I can fiddle around on Pinterest for a bit. But usually after my timer goes off, I'm feeling excited about my scene, and I want to keep working.

What about you? Do you have tricks for motivating yourself when you don't feel like writing?

This morning's giveaway is a set of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series. (Or, if you already have one of the books, I can just send you the ones you don't have.) This giveaway is available for U.S. residents only.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

46 comments:

  1. Rewards work nicely. E.g., every page I write, I get to eat a jellybean, every so many pages or so many minutes, I can read another chapter of whatever book I'm reading, if I finish x number of pages today, I can do something special, if I finish my novel by x day, I can buy a new song/album on iTunes. Those kinds of things help me get through NaNoWriMo. Word Wars can also help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the jelly bean trick. Can't tell you how many times I've used tricks like that!
      ~Koren :)

      Delete
  2. I also set a timer! (This is a huge motivator with homework, as well.) I think the most difficult part is getting started, taking the leap, but once I've done this I hit my stride and the writing comes more easily. Sometimes I snack while I write, or reward myself later with a treat like chocolate or Twizzlers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I also set times for myself, and then reward myself with Internet time afterward, and sometimes I participate in word/edit wars.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I talk to my dad (who's also my editor before I get published). After whining to him for a little bit, he'll prick entirely new and fresh ideas in my mind. I also make tea before I sit down to write and that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I usually just have to sit down and force myself to write. Once I sit down and open the document and ignore email and facebook, I'm usually okay. But the sitting down part is the hard part XD Luckily I have a friend who yells at me to write every time we chat. That helps a lot because we chat almost every day, so it's a constant reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I usually just try to write as much as I can. Usually something brilliant happens, and I get motivated.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I set a timer and just force myself to write. And sometimes I bribe myself with chocolate. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I get motivated by word wars... and also when others are working on their story or a see a a certain movie or tv show, it makes me want to write.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've written so many blog posts about not wanting to write, but my best tricks have been:

    1. Writing anyways
    2. Listening to music
    3. Reading a fantastic book
    4. Word wars (I'm very competitive) ;)
    5. Giving myself a prize if I hit a certain number of words

    You series looks really great! :D I've wanted to read it for a while (and Ellie was great, so I can expect good things from this one, too) so I hope I win!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I usually motivate myself by writing a scene that I really want to write first, then after that, when I'm in the groove, writing a scene that I'm not as excited about.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I usually say to myself: "Get off the internet you lazy bum! Don't you want to finish this story through? Plus you're completely bored at the moment so write!"

    ReplyDelete
  12. I usually, reread old parts of my book that I think are good to motivate myself to struggle through the snags and rough spots. It also helps when other people give me positive feedback and constructive criticism that helps my story become better.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Getting myself to rite is one of the hardest parts for me! Generally, I bribe myself with candy (or whatever sweetish things I have at the time, like granola bars), or with the internet (I can watch 2 youtube videos, or check my blog reader after I write x words).

    ReplyDelete
  14. Usually I'll listen to music, especially the soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings, or sometimes I'll read - also LotR. And maybe watch a movie. Yeah, LotR. I kind of love it. I'll read other things too - The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, and many other things. Also, send stuff to my writing friend who I let read as I go along and she freaks out about it and tells me to write more.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I usually write from 10 to midnight. I tell myself you have to get this done today. You have two hours to get down 1,500 words and you better do it! You can't published if you don't write! Another thing I do when I really don't feel writing is start earlier then writer 200 words, stop and let myself look at Facebook or something for ten minutes only, then repeat until I get it done. Sometimes I end up getting so caught up in my book I forget about my little break and keep writing . :)

    Stori Tori's Blog

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love this! As soon as I started reading about rewrites I wonder if you ever got tired. I've been very tired with writing and my stories, I have no anecdote just yet, I keep praying am I supposed to write? Am I supposed to look to other things? I just don't know yet. I have written this weekend :), and am thinking of setting a very small word count goal for a while and seeing what happens. Did you ever question if you were supposed to be a writer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I try to pray about it, and pray that I do His will for my life, not my will. I tell myself I really wouldn't be happy doing it if it wasn't His will, but I still hope and work towards it. (I haven't gotten a "absolutely NOT!" yet...:))

      Delete
  17. I totally sympathize with the rewrite thing. I realized Thursday night that I needed to start my first draft over, again, after writing 35000+ words on two other drafts and various semi-outlines. Sigh.

    Timers are my savior. A few weeks back I promised myself to write 45 minutes a day, every day. I use the countdown timer on my iPod to measure the time, and I cover up/turn around all clocks in my vicinity so I'm not constantly checking them. Sometimes when I reach the end of 45 minutes I want to write more, but usually I'm all written out, and I'm coming to realize that that's okay. I write about 500 words every 45 minutes, unless I'm in "the zone," so I guess this is pretty reasonable. At that rate, I could write a 60000 word novel in four months. :D (Suddenly it all seems more possible!)

    I'm also a big believer in the candy-bar scene. One thing I did before starting Draft Three this time around is plot out a scene that I'll love to write every five thousand words. These are the scenes that are singing to me, the ones that will be so much fun to write once I read them, the ones that represent the story to me. Some of them I've written already (I'm a little cheater!), but most are just dangling there, acting out in my head, begging to be written down on paper... If I force myself to write chronologically, I suddenly have a lot of impetus to write.

    (Once again, my reply has turned into an essay. This should not surprise anyone. ;))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *so much fun to write once I WRITE them. Ahem.

      Delete
  18. Hm, writing usually is my reward. Like if I do an hour of homework, I let myself write a few pages

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, same here! Writing is what I look forward to after school! :)

      Delete
  19. I motivate myself to write by thinking about my overall goals and dreams, and what I have to do to get there!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You said, "I almost hope this agent tells me KNOW so I can stop working on this book. I'm so tired." Shouldn't it be no?

    Just pointing it out.... :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jesus. I couldn't write without Him and through my writing I draw so much for closer to Him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neither could I. <3

      ~Koren

      Delete
  22. I usually only stay away from my book for a couple weeks; I can never totally give up on it. But now after finishing the first draft of the last book, I'm already thinking about another series I want to get a whirl of. I've got to keep reminding myself to save the idea for later, because this series still needs me: it's not done yet!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't really have any methods to keep me motivated. Luckily right now I'm in more of a planning stage, so I have a bit of time to work out one before the actual writing starts.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I keep myself motivated by setting miniature goals for myself and a time limit!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I mainly force myself to sit at my computer or in front of a notebook to write. I tell myself I cannot go to bed or I cannot get on this or that website until I write.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I usually set a dead line, then do word wars until I meet them. Other wise, I try to use my sister as an accountability partner.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sometimes I set timer and race myself to see if I can reach a amount of words.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have a few writer-related quotes that I have posted next to my desk. The one that motivates me the most is--

    I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind needs to know it has got to get down to work. ~Pearl S. Buck

    I'm one who likes to wait for inspiration to hit before I start to work. But since posting that quote near my work space, I have done much better just sitting down and writing because I need to get some words written.

    ~Micaela :)
    www.micaela419.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just think to myself:

    "You want to get this thing published? Then it has to be done!"

    and then i keep working. and word wars help too! :)

    Tw

    ReplyDelete
  30. I usually set a timer and write my heart out for 45 min. Go do something else then come back for another 45.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I can definitely say that just sitting down and making myself write is probably the biggest help. I'm like you--once I end at the appointed place, I'm usually excited, and want to keep going at least a little further.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I read back over my last scene to get myself into the story. That usually works. If not, then I go read a chapter in another book, to get the feel for stories.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Confession: since I have to borrow a laptop (for now) or handwrite (which is hard with my joint pain...) all of my writing, and because I'm so very busy, especially now during my school year.... I don't write unless I'm excited to. So I have no tips. Lol. But I'm hoping that will change as I get more technologically involved =)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I do the same thing you do, but I usually set a word-count goal, because otherwise I'd probably get really distracted :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm not actually entering the giveaway because I already have the whole series, but I am so glad you kept going. I love these books!!!
    I normally set a certain amount of time for myself to write as well.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hmmm. I motivate myself by using Write or Die, and then I generally give myself some chocolate or one of my dad's amazing peanut-butter-double-chocolate-chocolate-chip cookies once I'm done for the day.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  37. A lot of times I motivate myself by just remembering that there are people who are waiting for the next installment of my story, and busyness doesn't seem to matter. :P

    ReplyDelete
  38. I know this feeling pretty well right now. I'm finishing up what feels like the millionth rewrite on my WIP, and I've fallen back and forth between loving it and hating it. I'll just be excited to do something different and break some completely fresh ground. I'm definitely going to have to try this timer trick, though. I usually end up enjoying myself if I break through the first ten minutes or so of not really feeling it, so it sounds like a great technique.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I sit and stare at my MS Word doc until I come up with something to write. I am pantser, so... :P

    ReplyDelete
  40. I've actually learned that I need to develop a few techniques because if I don't feel like writing, I usually don't write. Horrible, I know;-) But I'm aiming to change that and be disciplined. To respect writing enough to give the importance it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I usually look through all my notes and that inspires me

    ReplyDelete

Home