elegance is more important than suffering
- Posting Speed
- Multiple posts per week
- One post per week
- Writing Levels
- Preferred Character Gender
- Primarily Prefer Male
- Slice-of-Life, Gothic, Horror, Fantasy
IntroductionThe most common problem I see writers and roleplayers fall victim to is staying motivated to keep writing. We all have moments of losing energy and inspiration, and it can be difficult to claw your way out of that hole once you've tripped into it. Because this is such a common issue, I thought I would compile some of the best tips and tricks I know within one spot for people to reference. Hopefully, you'll find at least one of these ideas helpful!
Time Management and FocusWhile it might seem like working hours on end would help boost your productivity, research suggests that we are more productive if we work in bursts followed by short breaks. Since humans tend to oscillate between periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day (see here), it makes sense that we should develop a way to take advantage of our most energized times while allowing ourselves rest during slumps.
One method to managing your time is Francesco Cirillo's Pomodoro Technique, explained here:
By following the Pomodoro Technique or a similar method, you will spend more time focused on the task. With a time crunch, you minimize the time you have to get distracted. You will also have less time to stare at and second-guess your writing, hopefully decreasing the stress of perfectionism and reducing the time you would have spent editing over and over.
Give Yourself a BreakSometimes it's better to step away entirely for a while. If you're struggling to decide what should happen next in a story or how to word something, even after staring at your words for hours, it's probably time to rest your brain. Take some time to engage in self-care by taking a nap, hydrating, showering, eating, using skincare, etc. Taking care of your body is essential to energizing your brain and boosting your creativity and overall happiness.
Feel free to turn to your other hobbies to relax, including partaking in other media. Watching TV or reading a book are great options, as they can inspire you. By observing what other writers are doing, you can try implementing some of their methods in your own work. You can also listen to music, particularly themed playlists (like villain-themed and other incredibly specific playlists) that will help you set the tone of the scene you're working on. If you aren't bothered by background noise while you write, you can also listen to the same playlist when you return to maintain that vibe.
BrainstormWhen you're stuck on how to progress the plot, you should brainstorm with your partner! Some people find it embarrassing to confess to writer's block, and there might be some worry that your partner will be disappointed with you. Still, everyone runs into these ruts here and there, and your partner will likely be more sympathetic than anything. Roleplayers write for fun, so if you're not having fun, it's important to communicate that to your partner to discuss how to change things in a way that will satisfy both of you. If the current scene feels stale and dragging, consider a time skip to a scene you are both looking forward to more. If the plot itself is proving to be more boring than expected, try throwing in some crazy twists to inject some zest back into it.
Once you've found an idea that inspires and excites you, it'll be much easier to write about it.
Trim Your CommitmentsSometimes, we've put too much on our plate. When you're inspired and energized, it can be easy to commit to far too many roleplays than we can handle during our low-energy times. Once we've reached that low point, the sheer amount of projects we have going can feel overwhelming, leading to our brains shutting down. It's easy to push your work aside, telling yourself you'll start later when you have more energy. As the pile of unfinished tasks grows, you might feel ashamed of yourself for wasting time and "being lazy," which will further decrease your energy and motivation, leading you to keep pushing your projects aside.
You might want to consider trimming your commitments when you've found yourself trapped in this vicious cycle. If there are roleplays that feel like more of a drag than something fun because you have no inspiration for them, you might want to end them. Hopefully, your partner(s) will understand and won't give you a hard time. If it's a 1x1 story, you can try writing it again when you have more time or write a whole new story together.
By trimming down your projects to the ones you are most excited about, you will find an overall boost to the fun you're having, which will hopefully help your energy return.
Write in Order of InspirationIf you can't bring yourself to end a roleplay, try responding to them in order of which inspire you most. Starting with the ones you have the fewest ideas for to "get them over with," or because they're "next in your queue," can end with you staring at your screen for several minutes before distracting yourself with something else. You can't force fun and creativity, so it's better to wait until you have ideas before writing a response. Try focusing on the roleplays you do have ideas for and are most excited to reply to first, as the posts will be much easier to write, and you'll trim down your post queue much faster.
Additionally, by getting into the groove of writing and getting those brain juices flowing, you might find that by the time you get to those roleplays you were avoiding, you actually do have some ideas now!
Cut Yourself Some SlackI hate to be the one to tell you this, but your writing will never be perfect — and that's okay! There is no such thing as perfect writing. Writing is a highly subjective activity with various styles and methods. Arguably, the only thing writing needs to accomplish is communicating your ideas. If your points are getting across as you intended, congrats, you're doing wonderfully! Writing tips and tricks exist to help us find new ways to communicate more effectively; they are not the standard for how all of your writing should look, and they are often contradictory and of questionable validity because of their subjective nature.
Please don't focus on writing perfectly; focus on writing. Write as much or as little as you want, write crazily, write incoherently. That is what rough drafts are for; they are a starting point. As long as you have words written down, you can edit them as much as you want until you're satisfied. Let your first drafts be bad (they're probably not even as bad as you think) to get something out in the first place.
As Neil Gaiman said, "Write down everything that happens in the story, and then in your second draft, make it look like you knew what you were doing all along."
When you can edit later, sometimes quantity is better than quality.
ConclusionThe most important thing to remember is that writing, and especially roleplaying, is meant to be fun. If you are constantly stressed out by it, you might want to change your writing process. Remember that perfect writing doesn't exist, and it's unfair to yourself to hold your writing to that expectation. Hopefully, these tips will help you regain your motivation, but if not, I'm sure there are many other methods you can try as well. If you can think of some, please comment below to help us all!