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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Rebecca L

Is it just me or did this flowy happy idea of a novel turn into concrete around your fingers? You feel like you can’t lift them to type and now you have no idea what to do going forward. You’ve got word count down and you know you need to keep writing, but you just can’t?

My advice? Ask questions, go out of order, and learn what you love. 

  When you ask yourself questions through your writing, this gives you a chance to really step back and think about your story as a whole. And possibly within the little details of your story too. Find random lines from your writing that make you wonder, “Now where did that come from?” and seek to solve it! Think about it and make sure to write down the answer (so you can possibly come back to it later and so you don’t forget it!) Asking one of these questions from a random excerpt I had written led me to the whole setup for the third and fourth books of my series. Questions can lead to world-building, character, and plot development. .

When you’re stuck, go out of order! No one said you had to write this novel chronologically. (Even though most of your instincts scream at you how wrong it is to go out of order.) If you’re knee-deep in your writing, start from the end, or even the next chapter. If you haven’t started writing, write the scenes that you’re excited to write! Then, you can string them together and then fill in everything else.

During a NaNoWriMo project, I was pretty far into my novel and couldn’t even write the next chapter. I started from the end, worked my way back, and found out how I’d been stuck. Going out of order can help you see your book from a fresh perspective and help you see where you’re going. The most important thing is that it keeps you writing. When you’re keeping on top of your word count, this breeds motivation and confidence.

Last, but certainly not least, learn what you love. 

If you’re relying purely upon random bursts of motivation to keep you going, it’s going to take you years to finish this book. Find a source of consistent motivation you can turn to. Find what you love about your novel. It can be characters, idea, anything that you’ve been enamored by. It could also be that you’re writing it for publication, a family member, or a friend. Learn why you’re a writer and why you’re going to write this novel. Write this down too so you can come back to it and remind yourself of it throughout the month! Not only that, but this can also be something for you to return to later when working on other projects. Finding out why you’re a writer and why you love to write will help you with much more than just this story.

That’s about it! Good luck on your novel and remember to take a deep breath, sit up straight, relax, have some chocolate (or any other treat really. Whatever makes you happy!) and push forward.

photo of Rebecca.

Rebecca L. is currently a sophomore who is obsessed with chocolate and Zelda. She loves to spend her time thinking, engaging in deep conversations, composing music, reading just about anything, and working on her novel. Rebecca also loves art and getting to know other people. Her biggest goals in life are to travel the world and to publish her series.

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