Hello, I’m trying to write stories but I haven’t had much chance to interact with other writers, so I have a few questions about my writing.
- I always find myself writing on and off, often getting frustrated with work and either deleting it or leaving it half finished. How can I keep that motivation up?
- How do I get started plotting and planning a story?
- Are there any online groups you recommend where I can interact with other writers?
- I’m not sure which direction to take my current story. Should I finish it at all costs and revise later, or figure out where I’m going with it first?
Hey Anon, thanks for writing in!
There’s a few elements at play here, so let’s break this down.
First, the question of keeping your motivation to write. This isn’t something we can’t give you a solid answer to, since every writer’s process is different, and every writer draws motivation from different sources. For me personally, I find that historical research is a great motivator, as a lot of my stories are history-inspired fantasy. Of course, I still suffer from writer’s block all the time, so that’s not a sure-fire solution even if your process is exactly like mine.
That said, there’s a lot of content out there about how to beat writer’s block. The best strategy I can recommend is searching online for some options and trying them out until you find something that works for you. We’ve got an entire article on the subject, if you’re interested: Five Activities I Use to Beat Writer’s Block.
How to plot your story is another complex topic, but this time we’ve got solid answers! It would be impossible to cover everything in a single post, but here are a few foundational articles you can check out.
- First, our tag for Plotting 101. This is all stuff we think is vital to understanding plots.
- Four Ways to Jump-Start a Slow Beginning
- Planning Your Story’s Opening Passage
- Four Critical Elements That Make Stories Popular
As for online venues to share your work, there are lots of those. All you need to do is search for “online writers group” and you’ll find plenty. Unfortunately, I can’t specifically recommend any of them. In my experience, writers groups are really unpredictable. You never know what kind of feedback you’re going to get, or how valuable it will be. However, you might have a better experience than I did, so go ahead and try out a few.
For us, the best place to find beta readers is with your friends and family. That way you actually know the people giving you feedback, and you can account for any biases they might have. We also recommend getting content editing before beta reading. Beta readers can give you valuable feedback, but they aren’t qualified to actually tell you what changes need to be made.
We’ve also got a few posts on beta reading that you might find helpful.
Finally, let’s talk about the story you’re working on now. It sounds like you’re facing the question of whether you should push on and get the words down or if you should revise what you already have. Again, this is a question of process, and it’s different for every writer.
For me, I have to get the entire story written first. If I stop to revise as I’m going, I’ll never finish. But I also know authors who lose all motivation to work on a story if they know there’s a problem and don’t correct it. Since finishing the draft seems like something you’re struggling with, I’d recommend the forge ahead method first and then you can change your strategy if it doesn’t work.
One final option is to work on revising an outline before you go to the draft stage. That way, you can make changes to a much smaller document, and it’ll save you time later once you’re drafting. Again, this will work better for some writers than others.
Hope that answers your questions!
Do you have a question you’d like answered by Oren or Chris? Submit it here. Q&As are only made public if you give your permission and we decide to feature it. If you’d like more than an answer to a general question, you can hire us to look over your story.