Have Fun While Writing Your Book–You’ll Be More Successful
Some folks consider writing a book a chore. After working on the manuscript for several months (or years), unfortunately, it can start to feel this way, including for those of us who begin with enthusiasm. You may wonder if all you’ve got is one long, dreary task list to plow through.
Finishing a book definitely takes work, no doubt about it. But if we’re going to spend so much time on this project, I want to make sure the process isn’t unrelieved misery. Let’s explore a few ways we can keep the fun in our writing process.
Find reasons to celebrate
Sounds obvious, right? How often do you do that, though? My bet: you’re waiting to celebrate until you’re “finished.”
What does “finished” mean? When you finish writing the first draft? When you finish revising? Going through the book with your editor? When the book is published?
Pick smaller milestones. Much smaller. Smaller still.
Celebrate when you complete your daily writing goal. Celebrate when you nailed that character description. Celebrate when you develop your outline. Celebrate choosing a title (even a working title). Celebrate when you wrote something—anything—no matter how awful, on a day when you wanted to write nothing at all.
Your celebrations can take many forms. A happy dance around your house. Dinner with friends. A Netflix mini-binge. A coloring book (children not required).
You spend a lot of time acting as your own worst critic. Time to be your number one fan, as well.
Treat writing as playtime
If you’ve seen my other posts, some of these suggestions should ring familiar. Some people write best when they sit down at a clean desk with their laptop in front of them—all business. After a few months/years, though…
Even if this comfortable writer is you, I encourage you to experiment.
- Write by hand.
- Use a “nonstandard” writing tool: pencil (graphite or colored), crayon, marker, fancy ink, the list goes on.
- Buy a roll of butcher paper, spread it out and tape it down to a surface, and write all over this, in the tool of your choosing. You can tape it to a wall, wrap your kitchen table with it, or if you have a hardwood floor, tape it on the floor so you can walk all over it. If you’re going to use a marker or pen that may saturate through, tape down several layers. Butcher paper is super affordable (your gorgeous floor or table, perhaps not so much).
- Every so often, write in a different location. I know I encourage you to make daily writing a habit as much as possible, and a predictable routine is part of that. Sometimes, though, you need to change it up. Even if the change is as small as another room in your house.
- Like hats? Get a couple of fun ones: your writing hat, your thinking cap, your editorial hat. Switch it up while you work.
Schedule writing “vacations”
All of us need a break from work now and then. That’s why there are weekends, and vacations (I personally know quite a few people who bring their work with them into these timeframes, which defeats the purpose, by the way). Set up writing holidays the same way (and treat them better than my workaholic friends).
Are you great at writing in sprints? Stretches of time where you do nothing else? Schedule a sprint, followed by some time off where you are not allowed to write.
Do you excel at the slow and steady? A little bit of the book at a time, all routine? Pick a predictable interval to schedule a non-writing interlude. Is it once a month? Every other month? Maybe you only need a few days to recharge, or a whole week or two sounds good.
Whatever method you choose, schedule the time off—and the time back on. That way, you can holiday guilt-free, because you know you are doing the work. And you can work knowing that your next break is just around the corner.
The bottom line
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Find ways to insert fun into the writing process, take breaks, and above all, celebrate every step you take. The road can be long. Let’s enjoy the trip.
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