Writing Hacks: On Momentum

Keeping momentum in the middle of the holidays can feel impossible. Below are some tips to help with moving through mucky middles, exhaustion, and turkey hangovers.

Don’t Stop

First and foremost, don’t waste time Googling the perfect synonym for “fast.” If you’re going for speed, don’t stop the flow just to have to restart it every time your brain hits a bump. Here’s a trick I love: keep typing through the trip-up by leaving a note for Later You to fix during revisions.

Example: She leapt over the bramble, the monster (fast) on her heels.

Now you’ve kept momentum and can keep moving forward in the story knowing that Later You may revise the whole scene anyway, but that your placeholder word will come to you more easily when your brain is fresh.

This trick is not only great with words/phrases but can be dropped for entire scenes that will require emotional work. You can keep moving toward your word goal by dropping a note of (fight scene) or (kissing and stuff) and picking those up after you have a full idea of what the scene needs to look like.

Give Yourself a Roadmap

If you want the fastest route to your destination, it helps to know where you’re going. Plot during downtime (while showering if you’re like most of us) and have those notes ready to go or an outline in place. If you’re a pantster, try giving yourself scene notes, so when you get stuck in one you can jump forward to another and not lose valuable time.

Leave a Springboard

My most-loved hack has always been the leaping off point. End every writing session with a small sentence or snippet of where the next day’s adventure will go. It could be a small action or large, but when you sit down to start again, there’s no need to take the time to figure out where it should go–you can get right to writing.

My method also includes rereading the previous scene. This lets me catch typos and gets my head into the pacing and mood for a smoother launch back into the story.

Cut What you Can

Most of us have at least a few habits that are not geared toward productivity. During the holidays or when your schedule gets crunched, cut out the junk that’s just filler. Mindless habits and things you don’t necessarily want to do anyway can add up in a hurry, so take note of where you’re spending your time and use it well.

Do it First

Brains can get exhausted pretty quick in stressful situations. If you’re staying with family, traveling, or just plain worn out, try getting up an hour earlier, finding a quiet spot with your coffee, and hitting the words before you’re overwhelmed with the day’s events.

Give Yourself a Break

Set realistic goals. Know what you’re capable of and don’t punish yourself for being human. Time off to enjoy life, family, and Hallmark Channel movies will only add to your idea and inspiration bank. Let yourself enjoy it if that’s your thing. And let yourself write because you love it, not because you’ve set yourself to task.

 

What’s your holiday pro tip? Let us know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Writing Hacks: On Momentum

  1. Not really a holiday tip but writing a rough version of a scene with notes on how to expand it later are something I used when drafting the sequels for my current project – that way, I could have the complete story in less time, then focus on the first book while knowing what happens later (more or less). What I wanted to say is that your first tip is great at any time, not just holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tomas! I started as a pantster–no outlining or prep outside of the basic story idea–but I’m finding more and more that rough outlines and notes really help with moving toward my goal. This is an excellent idea. I’m excited to try this with my own sequels!

      Liked by 1 person

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