Novel Writing – How to Keep Going

The inspiration for this post is taken from an article by Jamie Ramsay in CALMzine. CALM stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably – which has to be a great philosophy for us all!

The article was written when Jamie was running 17,000 km from Vancouver to Buenos Aries to raise money for charity and it comprises his thoughts on how to keep going during an endurance event. When I read it, I felt that much of what he said could be applied to novelists who might be feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of their own challenge:

  • Break things down into manageable chunks – it’s easier to imagine completing 500 words rather than 80,000 words
  • Keep positive – banish that gremlin of doubt and concentrate on how great you’ll feel when you type ‘The End’
  • Look after yourself – eat well, sleep well and take regular exercise
  • Be motivated by the success of others – don’t be jealous when others get published, take it as a positive indicator that success as a writer is possible
  • Ask for help – this might be help with the chores to give you more time to write or help with beta-reading or formatting for Kindle or anything else you are struggling with
  • Make happiness a priority – if slogging over a novel is making you miserable, try a different form of writing instead

I think that last point is especially important – so be happy in your writing!

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  1. #1 by maryruth16 on February 1, 2016 - 11:12 am

    Really helpful, Sally. Thanks! I’m trying to find some motivation to edit my NaNo draft. It’s not easy..

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on February 1, 2016 - 4:39 pm

      I know how you feel, Mary. But just think how proud you’ll be when it’s all done!

  2. #3 by juliathorley on February 1, 2016 - 2:15 pm

    I agree: being happy is the most important item on this list. Get that right and everything else will fall into place.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on February 1, 2016 - 4:40 pm

      Agreed, Julia. Not always easy to be happy though, is it?

  3. #5 by susanjanejones on February 7, 2016 - 12:39 pm

    Great post, Sally. I’ve had an enjoyable morning in the garden. Clearing and chopping a few bits of wood from an old shed up for fire sticks. We do have central heating, but there’s something lovely about a real fire, and creating the sticks to light it. Alan fixed a new gate on the side of the house that’s needed doing for ages. So now it’s great to come in and sit by the fire on the computer and feel refreshed to write, (500 wds:)) He’s enjoying a pint and waiting for the Welsh rugby to come on.

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on February 7, 2016 - 6:14 pm

      Sounds a very satisfying morning, Susan! And I know what you mean about a real fire – it’s got a lot more character than a radiator!

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