I’m currently in the middle of writing a G2 fanfiction story (it’s 48 pages long on Google Docs with a 13 point font), and I started in September of 2020. However, I was very busy in January, and hence took a 1 month hiatus from it. It completely disrupted my plans for the story, and I basically forgot what I was planning for the following chapters, and potentially the end of the story. Ever since then, I’ve hadn’t felt the spark to continue where I’ve left off, and it seems to me I’m just not as motivated to finish anymore when compared to last year. Any tips on how to find that motivation again? I have started this, and wrote a considerable amount, so it will be disappointing if I just stop in the middle.
You might want to move this topic here Writing Advice
Though it pains me to say it, you might be better off just dropping it, at least for now.
I don’t say this to discourage you. As a fellow writer myself, I’ve written innumerable stories that I’ve left unfinished as I lost interest in them. Sometimes small ones, sometimes really long ones. One of my longest stories, if not the longest (really a collection of stories with an overarching plotline) got scrapped shortly after I started what would have been the last story in the series. And honestly, when I look back on it now, it was so bad that I’m glad I scrapped it. (Note: this isn’t to say that one day you’ll look back and realize what you wrote is bad, just my own experience)
There’s little to be gained by trying to force yourself to write something you have lost motivation for/interest in. And that doesn’t mean you’ll never pick it back up again. My current project, the Story Serial Continuation Project, was shelved for nearly nine months after the first two chapters of the first story. Then I had an idea, came back to it, and now I’m in the middle of the fifth story, more excited then ever.
And again, I don’t mean to discourage you. Heck, maybe you’ll have an idea that you really like tomorrow, and be right back to it. But sometimes it can be good to pause one work and focus on other things. In that aforementioned 9 months, I wrote a whole book, almost as long as the whole Story Serial Project combined. I wouldn’t say either work is better than the other, and I had fun writing both. Actually, now that I think about it, I started said book… Mata Nui knows how long ago, and never finished the first chapter. Then, last year, I wrote it to completion.
So basically, take my advice or leave it, but don’t be discouraged if you do drop the story. If writing is something you enjoy, keep doing it, even if it’s something new!
What was your motivation to write it in the first place? Usually there’s a few reasons, but like, what was your motivation for starting this particular story, instead of writing any other?
Chances are if you aren’t motivated, there’s an issue with your motivation. (Makes sense, right?)
Next step is to diagnose why that’s not motivating you now. Is it because you’ve simply forgotten what it was that caused that spark, and taking the time to really think about it makes it come back? If that’s the case, you’ll probably have no issues once you remember - and thinking about anything from the story itself to where you were (physically, and emotionally) when you had the idea in the first place is a good start to “finding” a motivation that might have been forgotten.
Or perhaps you didn’t forget because you don’t really know what motivated you in the first place - in which case, take a good look at the story you want to tell and figure out what makes it special. Almost certainly there was something about it that made you want to get to 48 pages, and you just need to discover what exactly that “something” was.
The other possibility is that you don’t have motivation because whatever it was that made you want to write in the first place no longer holds the same weight or value to you. In other words, you technically still have your “motivation” but it doesn’t actually “motivate” anymore. If that’s the case, then you should put the story aside, at least for now - no point writing it if the reason for it isn’t one you care about, anymore, regardless of how much you’ve written.
Or maybe you’re just not motivated currently for much simple, tangible reasons, like:
- being tired
- being busy
- forgetting small things, like what made then next chapter cool
- having other stuff you’d simply rather do
…in which case, the solution is simple: wait until that changes!
It can be tricky to identify which of these is the issue, especially if you haven’t felt this way about a story before. And just about any of them will take time to figure out and resolve (some more than others).
Like @Willess12 said, leave it for now; at some point you might have an idea, or looking at a few months later you might get remotivated. Probably one of the two.
I have no experience with writing anything that long, but I’d imagine that writing a brief outline of the story could be a good idea. That way, you’d forget less things.
Motivation is a real bugger, isn’t it?
I think the best advice here is to just drop it for a bit and let ideas and thoughts marinate in your head for a while. Maybe jot down a few parts every now and then.
Then one day maybe you’ll find you’re ready to just knock it out.
One thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily have to write it out chronologically. If you think it’d be easier for you to write the climax of the story ahead of time, do that.
Welcome to my D&D campaign.
Yeah so this is just what any person making any form of media experiences.
If you really really want to finish it, I suggest trying to find some time to sit down and plan out what you’re going to do to story-wise.
But otherwise, it’s fine if you leave it unfinished. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drawn something half-way and left it.
It’s better to make many quick pieces and learn from each one than it is to be stuck on one big project and never learn or progress skill-wise.
Thanks for the advice!
I’ll probably leave it for now, and come back to it afresh, when I have new ideas in my mind for it.
I’d suggest maybe revisiting your original idea and assessing it. The reason a lot of passion projects seem to die off is in the name; they’re started on passion, and passion is a very powerful, but short-lived thing.
Creatives get very excited when they get a new idea. Starting a project is always easier than working on one, and definitely easier than finishing one. But that passion is just from the rush of starting something new, not from the work itself.
Sometimes, that loss of motivation is because your original idea isn’t enough to carry you through to the end. You get caught up in the excitement and don’t think about the end result.
I’ve heard this adage many times, and I think it’s good advice for anyone doing anything creative: when you first think of an idea that excites you, write it down and then leave it. Leave it alone for weeks, even months, and don’t think about it. If that idea, even months down the line, still excites you, and you can’t get it out of your head, then it’s an idea worth pursuing.
The benefit of this as well is, if that idea isn’t as exciting to you as you first thought, you have spare seeds for new projects written down that could turn into something down the line.
Also, here are some videos that address both the issue of “motivation” and advice for finishing projects that I think are helpful.
This one addresses the idea of “motivation” and the problems with basing productivity on motivation, as well as strategies to avoid this.
And this one deals with ways to finish projects.
Hope this helps!
looks at my 5 half finished worlds
Honestly sometimes you just gotta force yourself to write. I’ve written a lot of stories, many of them 100+ pages long, and there were often moments when I would get stuck and stop writing for weeks or even months (because I either lost inspiration, didn’t know how to write a certain scene or just simply got bored with writing). But I knew if I keep procrastinating I’ll never finish the story, so I just forced myself to write. It was very often tedious at first, but once I “caught the flow” again it was much easier to continue.
I think this is something that’s underrepresented in the conversation right now. A good friend of mine and one of the only people I know to successfully finish not one but several fan-fics did so by making it a habit. Every night at a set time he would open up a word doc and write. He was a slow writer, but by making a habit of it he managed to produce far more writing than I ever did. So, like Voxovan said, there’s something to be said about just sitting down and making yourself write.
On the other side of things, vlogbrothers (I think it was Hank but I’m not 100% certain) had a video a few months back about influencing the things you want. While he put it more eloquently than I can, the central takeaway from the video is that the things you want are influenced by the conversations you have and the ideas you surround yourself with. If you’re, say, watching a lot of YouTube videos about speedrunning games, it might make you want to try speedrunning, or at least prioritize that style of slick, precise gameplay. So, the theory would go, if you spend a chunk of your time thinking and planning and talking about writing, it will make you want to write.
As a personal suggestion, though: maybe you could try writing something else for a bit? I don’t know if you write all the time or if this is the only thing you’re writing, but it might be nice to work on other, shorter projects as well. That way you can keep that habit of writing, even if you just get stuck with your main project.
Another idea might be to just read through everything you’ve written so far, if you haven’t already. That’s usually my go-to when I’m not sure what to do next; it can help to jog your memory of what you had planned before, or even give you new ideas as you look at things in a new way. Sometimes rewriting the last piece of it can also be useful, that comes from something Greg Farshtey shared, actually. I remember him saying that when he gets stuck, it’s often because he started pushing things in a direction that doesn’t feel natural, so by stepping back and trying a new direction he can get out of that rut.
Sorry, that all ended up a bit scattered, but hopefully there are some useful takeaways there!
a good method is make a stupid boards collaboration thing and write a fanfic where everyone gets killed
best way to avenge yourself on your boards rivals muahaha
So now I know how it’ll end.
You assumed it would end differently?
yeah I was gonna say …