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Getting Writers Motivated

Blog Post 49

February23, 2022

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It would be a crying shame to miss out on the opportunity to get your manuscript published by us. As you know, Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing is dedicated to publishing young and new adult Islamic fiction for and by young and new adults. Even if you’re older, if you write Islamic fiction for that age group, we’d be interested in taking a look at your work, inshallah. Inked Resistance Islamic Publishing is set up solely for Islamic young and new adult fiction, inshallah. Were here to help you do that, inshallah. It’s your company, too, inshallah!


Over three years ago, a prospective writer/author emailed to say they were not motivated to write the book they had started about half a year earlier and asked me for some suggestions.

Here’s what I sent back. Inshallah, they wont mind. I hope it’s useful to other writers as well, inshallah.

[Of course, I didn’t make all of them up myself. Like all writers, I got these ideas from everywhere and everyone.]

First, ask Allah for Help. Read the Qur’an. Read duas. Read Islamic books.

Beware of the sagging middle. Don’t give up. Ask yourself – Am I really bored with these characters? Or with this story? Or do I just not know where to go with it? Have I written myself into a box that I can’t get out of? Is the plot not working? Am I afraid I can’t finish the book successfully?

Write something else about the character that’s not even related, like a short spin-off.

Think of outrageous, funny, strange ways for the character(s) to solve their problem.

Read your work backwards until you’re not bored. Then start writing or fixing from there.

Boring may be because of the characters. The characters need to interact with each other. There needs to be interpersonal conflict. The reader needs to learn about the characters through the lens of the other.

Have enough action. Failure and retries. Tension.

Show, don’t tell. Appeal to the reader’s senses.

Make things more difficult for the characters.

Skip to a scene you want to write. But put down a few notes about what needs to be done in the part you’re skipping. You may find you can come back to the skipped scene even before you’re done the one you want to write.

It may be boring because you don’t have anything interesting to say. Add a new and different character, a scene, a setting, a problem. If you’re not excited to write a scene, then it needs tweeking because it’s not working.

You may be too familiar with it. Take a break.

You may need to get away from your plan and just write.

Don’t do too much worldbuilding at the expense of the story.

You may be bored because you’re discouraged.

Try some of these 120 suggestions - but first thank Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala for the ability to write, read, think and be creative everyday, inshallah.

1.Read books on the subject.

2. Reread what you’ve written.

3. Read what you’ve written to someone else.

4. Write separate chapters.

5. Think.

6. Let an editor help.

7. Write an outline.

8. Review your theme and message.

9. Revise what you’ve written.

10. Do research.

11. Use a thesaurus.

12. Develop your characters.

13. Reread old writings.

14. Jot down new ideas and words before they’re lost, even if they don’t pertain to your book.

15. Do the easy things when unmotivated.

16. Set and dedicate a time every day just for writing, preferably the same time. It doesn’t have to be long. Make it a routine. Make it a habit.

17. Write more when motivated.

18. You’re the only one who can write this.

19. Turn off all distractions when writing.

20. Scare yourself. Set a tight imaginary deadline. Pretend you only have two months (or whatever) to complete it.

21. Tell others what you’re doing. Tell them what you’re writing about. Tell them what you wrote about today. Get their input.

22. Set a word count for how much you want to accomplish at a sitting.

23. Get a friend, preferably a writer, to help motivate you. Tell them what you’re planning to do each day and then update them on what you’ve accomplished. It’s like a progress report.

24. Surround yourself with positive inspiring people.

25. Find someone who believes you can do it.

26. Get into your characters’ heads. Think like they think. Let them speak through you. Make them your friend or enemy. See them as real people.

27. Your biggest motivators are the people who read your work.

28. Get a friend to check your work chapter by chapter. They don’t have to be a writer.

29. Get back to what inspired you to write this in the first place. Why did you think this “had to be told”?

30. Edit what you wrote yesterday first. Then write the next part.

31. Announce your goals.

32. Get a cheerleader.

33. Get a writing buddy and meet twice a month in person to chat.

34. Take one day off from writing a week. Do you miss it?

35. Write down your ideas before they morph into something else or get blasted away by interruptions in your mind.

36. Do one thing every day, at least.

37. Write. Don’t go back and edit when you’re writing. You can do that later.

38. If a thought comes while you’re writing, write it. You can fix it or take it out later.

39. Let your heart and mind write for you. Don’t think too much about it as you write. Be free. Let your free flow of ideas go onto the page. It can be rough and not perfect.

40. Don’t be scared to change something you don’t like. You can save it elsewhere if you take it out. Nothing’s set in stone.

41. Don’t be scared to change your whole theme and message. If it happens, that’s okay.

42. Write without editing. Don’t think too much about it. Don’t micromanage it.

43. Visualize your book completed.

44. Write in silence. Don’t let outside things/people give you input. How can you think/write like that?

45. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. Believe in your own voice.

46. Take a break from social media and sensory input for a while. Slow down. Stop running on high. Stop dulling your senses. Just experience life naturally. Breathe and enjoy nature. Look out the window and think. Sit outside and think. Relax. Appreciate and thank Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala for all the wonders that He’s made. This can help spark creativity again.

47. Love yourself. Think about yourself. Be authentic. Change things you don’t like about yourself and/or your environment. When you’re not happy, creativity can go away or your writing can be dull, angry, negative.

48. Accept that everyone has other things to do. They might not care about your writing. They don’t believe you can write. Don’t stick around these people or at least don’t talk to them about your writing and dreams.

49. Words are difficult to describe what you want others to experience visually or emotionally. Stick with it. Sketch out the big shapes, then flesh out the lines, add shading and colour (like painting, drawing). You’re working from big and general to small and specific. Writing, though, doesn’t have just one image or scene. It’s a series of them stitched together like a puzzle. They’re told from a human perspective – their details, their concerns, their motivations, etc. Some can be implied or left to the reader to fill in. But most will be supplied through mental imagery and suggestive details. When nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away, you’re done.

50. Be kind to yourself. Believe in your talent. Know that you have something to say about life that’s worth hearing. No one else thinks/believes/lives like you.

51. Allow your subconscious to work through you.

52. Cultivate your desire. Stop and think about what you want. What is it that’s urging you to do this?

53. Figure out the purpose of writing this. It needs to be worthy. You need to feel passionate about what you’re writing. If you don’t, re-evaluate your purpose.

54. Watch movies about your topic.

55. Reread books you loved as a child/teenager/young adult.

56. Think about childhood, elementary, junior high and high school memories.

57. Believe that the ideas will come.

58. Stimulate your senses daily to get more details.

59. List how many things you want to say in your writing. It should just be one thing.

60. Enjoy your fictional world.

61. Finish your first draft quickly and without fear.

62. Don’t suffer. It ruins creativity. Let your characters suffer.

63. Write authentically. Be yourself. Be real. Write to please yourself first.

64. Be fluent, flexible, original and elaborate.

65. Have a heightened awareness of an idea, make connections that are authentic to you and then improvise (extrapolate and elaborate).

66. Don’t force creativity. Let that go. Instead, get into a mindset of creativity.

67. Take risks. Be bold. Be brave. Don’t play it safe.

68. Make sure your aims and ideas fit. Have a consistent vision.

69. When you first thought about this, did it all feel right? Why?

70. Do you have a clear vision of what your story means?

71. Is your story pulling you in different directions? This can actually be good. But you need to get rid of those that are going in the wrong direction. However, you must know what the right direction is.

72. Plan out the book, chapter by chapter. Make a blueprint about what is going to happen and why in each chapter.

73. Sail past sticky parts and move on to those you’re more sure about. Finish the first draft. Then go back and rework those sticky parts that don’t work with the big picture.

74. The first draft is a pencil sketch. The second draft is filled in with colour and detail. The third draft is polished.

75. The world you create in your writing must match your vision.

76. Engage with people. Listen, talk, observe.

77. Learn to understand the difference between observation of reality and interpretation. Pay attention to what people mean by watching their body language, facial expressions and gestures.

78. Get away to write. Go on a vacation. Find a hideaway. Put yourself in a vacuum to write, somewhere where no one knows you.

79. Don’t go back and correct what you wrote the day before. It could cause negative thoughts about yourself and your writing. Do as little introspection and self-criticism as possible.

80. Don’t pause to check spelling or get the right word. You can do this later.

81. Writing makes you more alive. Do you feel it?

82. If you don’t have a full plan laid out, start writing anyway. Maybe the voice will come to you more clearly.

83. Rejig your plan if necessary. Make it longer or shorter. Cut out or add stuff.

84. Act out the characters in your room, like they’re auditioning for a script. Act and talk like them. Let them talk to you.

85. The characters shouldn’t sound like you. They need their own tone of voice, mannerisms, overused phrases, prejudices, obsessions, things they don’t say.

86. Forge ahead and fix it later.

87. You need time to think.

88. Eat healthy and exercise.

89. Do something every day that’s not writing.

90. Make a book cover for your book and use it as your screensaver or hang it up where you write.

91. Believe in yourself and finish the first draft.

92. Read what you like and analyze what they do that you like. Pick it apart and model your story on it.

93. Is it YOUR story?

94. If you finish your first draft, you will finish the book. The book comes alive and helps you write it. The characters come alive, the situations redefine themselves. It wants to live.

95. Writing the first draft is 10% of the work, but it takes 90% of the effort.

96. Writing the second draft is 90% easier than writing the first draft.

97. Make sure your story has timing, pacing, humour, surprises, restriction (restrict characters, events, etc.).

98. Move your ideas. Make them into action. Get the ball rolling. Connect them with other ideas. Cluster them together. Let them steamroll along.

99. Lead the reader into an expectation, but dash it at the end, intelligently and satisfyingly.

100. Pluck random, outrageous, weird characters and situations out of the air. Bolt unsuitable people and places together.

101. Lull the reader into a trance. Hypnotize them.

102. Evil characters don’t look and sound evil. They’re charming.

103. Good characters have flaws, conflicts, wrong motives.

104. Speak the dialogue out loud.

105. Dialogue should be a conversation - unless one person is trying to avoid the conversation or change the subject. People should be listening to each other. Real people care about what each other are saying.

106. Why are the people having the conversation? What is the meaning of it? Where does it lead?

107. Don’t insult the reader’s intelligence. Don’t have the characters cross-examine and question each other for the reader. Do as little explaining as possible. Let the story unfold quietly by itself.

108. Let the protagonist figure out or know something at the same time the reader does.

109. Keep some information back from everyone. Suspense means you know someone knows something and you might know one or two things that it might be, but you don’t know for sure until the truth’s revealed. Show the characters getting the point, not telling others about why they get it.

110. The readers need to care about your characters. You need a compelling message, surprises, mysteries (a gap in the reader’s knowledge) and the promise of a solution.

111. The fear of failure is the source of writer’s block. Don’t be scared to fail. Fear of failure is fear that something you care about will die. Someone who tries to do something that’s never been done before and fails is a HERO. Experience is gained and lessons are learned. Failure is a sign that you’re doing something impossible worth perfecting.

112. Don’t quit your dreams before you succeed. Don’t give up.

113. Ask yourself, “Why would this character do this?”, “How do they feel about it?”, “Do real people bend like this or should it be deeper, shallower, more dynamic?”, What do the characters want?”

114. Planning helps because having too many options kills creativity.

115. Write when you get a burst of ideas, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

116. Take three random words from the dictionary and then free associate them, sending your mind off into tangents, and see if you get any ideas.

117. Keeping going is one of the hardest things. Write in short bursts. Get your ideas down. You can add in the details later.

118. Leave the writing for a week. You may get more ideas during that time from your right brain. Make sure you write them down or they’ll be gone. Many ideas come when you’re engaged in activities that have nothing to do with writing.

119. Write anything besides your book. It helps.

120. Thank Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala over and over.

Make sure you say the things you want to say before it’s too late!

(Thank you to all the bloggers, article writers and other writers who lent their ideas for this blog post.)

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