Motivate yourself to write this year!

Most who write find themselves filled with anxiety and self-criticism as they pen their paragraphs and compare it to those authors who inspired them to write. And then there’s always the frustration that comes when the right word (or even no words) won’t come.

As Karl Iagnemma, an MIT roboticist who also happens to be an acclaimed fiction writer, once said, “A lot of people, when they think about writers, probably imagine people wasting time in cafés, drinking a lot and smoking too many cigarettes, and working when the inspiration – whatever that is – seizes them. But writing is rigorous. Writing, for me at least, takes a lot of concentrated work and effort. It takes dedication and the willingness to do the work even when that feeling of inspiration isn’t there at all.”

Writing may be hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can get motivated to write:
• Keep a project “bible” – Create a notebook of reference materials in a 3-ring binder of loose-leaf paper. Often “inspiration” will strike on one of those ideas. At least it gives you a collection of ideas you can go back to when you don’t know what to write about.
• Keep a daily log – Track how many words you write and challenge yourself to top it the next day.
• Keep a journal – Often the kernels of stories later can be found in your journal.
• Keep in touch with fellow writers – They can offer encouragement and provide advice when you’re stuck.
 Start with free-writing – Maybe when driving you see a billboard that gives you an idea for a vacation. The same can occur when writing – sometimes when writing aimlessly you develop an idea that can be turned into a story.
• Begin your writing by revising work already completed and continue onward – At the very least, you’ve polished your past day’s work and may have identified trouble spots that you need to mull over to solve.
• Stop at a good point – If you’ve had a productive writing session, put down the pen at a point where you already know what you want to write next. You will not be stymied when starting the next day.
• Keep plugging along – No matter the quality of your work or how low your sales are, don’t stop writing. The biggest mistake those who want to be writers can make is to not write.

A few writers employ rituals to help them get started writing. But most don’t as the rituals only delay the actual hard work of writing. As Isaac Asimov once said when asked about rituals, “Rituals? Ridiculous! My only ritual is to sit close enough to the typewriter so that my fingers touch the keys.”

8 Tricks to Writing Suspenseful Fiction

• Maintain tension throughout your story 
• Avoid ‘organ music’ to create story suspense
• Don’t break circuit of suspense when it’s hot
• Avoid inappropriate mystery to create suspense 
• Speed up story by curtailing dramatic narration 
• ‘Fast forward’ to keep your story moving 
• Employ lock-in to ensure you have a story 
• Increase story’s suspense through reversal 
• BONUS: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” – Elmore Leonard

Writing Advice: 8 Tips For New Fiction Authors

• Should you ever co-write your book? 
• Should you use a pen name for your book? 
• How to come up with a great pen name
• How to come up with an awesome story title 
• Should you turn your life story into a novel?
• How long should my young adult novel be?
• Fanfic not so bad if used for growing as a writer 
• BONUS: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” 

6 Secrets to Creating and Sustaining Suspense

How can you create and maintain suspense in your fiction story? Here are six great tips:

• How to create suspense in your story  
• Use reversals to increase suspense in story  
• Give readers sleepless nights with narrative drive 
• Maintain sense of tension through pace 
• Make story interesting by establishing stakes 
• Maintain tone by avoiding subjective tension 

9 Must-Know Tips for Plotting a Story

• What is a story? An autopsy of a tale
• Your story isn’t its plot or structure
• Narrative structure: One step ahead or two back? 
• Which is best: Character- or plot-driven stories?
• What is a ‘cookie cutter’ story? 
• Think of plot as set-up, build-up, pay-off 
• Start your story in middle to increase suspense
• Don’t end novel with cliffhanger 
• Utilize both internal and external conflicts 
• BONUS: “Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.” – David Mitchell 

7 Tips To Ensure You Show Not Tell When Writing

• Show, don’t tell when writing fiction
• How to make your writing show rather than tell
• Show rather than tell a character’s personality
• Create successful story by staging it
• Opt for scene over summary when writing stories
• Show rather than tell the backstory
• Embedding exposition into your story 
• BONUS: “Don’t explain why it works; explain how you use it.” – Steven Brust 

7 Things Writers Should Know About Theme

• Never be afraid to write what you believe. If the message speaks the truth, others will fear you. 
• Don’t burden us with a self-indulgent digression 
• Utilize milepost character to critique concepts
• Layer story’s imagery with symbolic meaning 
• Place Easter egg to reward careful readers 
• Include clever in-jokes by tuckerizing 
• Challenge yourself to write ‘dramables’ 
• BONUS: “A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to.” 

10 Tips on Alternate Ways to Plot Your Story

• Ways to break story structure in your novel 
• Zip two disparate stories into one tale 
• Utilize episodic fiction plot structure 
• Employ The Journey for a mythic plot
• Three-act structure offers alternate story plot 
• Diary form as structural option 
• Vary story structure with ‘fate plot’ 
• Frame story useful in limited situations
• Use parallel plot structure in novel 
• Send your protagonist on an initiation  
• BONUS: “Expansion. That is the idea the novelist must cling to.” – E.M. Forster