The Motivation to Stick With a Project

This kind of motivation is hard to find.  The motivation to stick with a project–specifically a writing project and specifically a novel–isn’t just conjured out of thin air.  Sometimes is sheer force of will that sees that novel to the end.  Sometimes it’s because people are waiting for the next installment/chapter, or you have an editor waiting for the first draft.  Sometimes it’s a set deadline, and sometimes it’s something more.

First of all, if you have no willpower, you will not finish your novel.  Period.  There are going to be times when it’s tough.  You won’t want to write another word, and you won’t see the point in completing this chapter or event the sentence you’re on.  If you can’t grit your teeth and stick with it, you’re not going to get anywhere.  It is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding when you have a completed manuscript in your hands.

In the past when I would post chapters of my writing on the forums of a game, the guilt would become overwhelming if I waited to long to write the next chapter.  That, with the combination of nagging readers–or worse, the ones who say they’ll love whatever you write no matter how long you wait to post it (guilt-fest!)–is a surefire way to get my fingers typing like mad.  This method works especially well if you’re not self-motivated and need an external force (a due date, for example) to get you working.  Programs like NaNoWriMo and Write or Die (links can be found in Writing Links and Writing Websites under Writing References) are also helpful when you need a kick in the pants to get writing.

If you are self-motivated, there are lots of tips and tricks to get you writing.  Here are just a few:

  • Break out the M & M’s!  Reward yourself with one piece for every 100 words. 
  • Provide yourself with bigger rewards for bigger landmarks.  If you finish a chapter, take a bath or go for a walk.  If you reach an increment of 10,000 words, see a movie.  Done with the whole manuscript?  Buy a few books (and support your favorite authors!) that you’ve been dying to read.
  • Set a deadline and work toward it every day.  Make sure that it’s reasonable and reachable.  Also, if your daily word quota is more than you can handle if you miss a day, it’s not going to work.  Things happen, so plan ahead.

Lastly, there is something more that urges you to stick with your novel.  Some might call it love of the project, but it can’t just be that.  It has to be stronger than love.  It has to be the inability to survive without your novel.  You have to want to write it so much that you can’t stop.  You might hate every word that comes your brain provides, but you write those words anyways because without them your story wouldn’t go on.  Your characters would be stuck, frozen forever in an uncompleted scene.  Not finishing that manuscript would be like losing part of yourself and leaving a character mid-scene would leave him or her teetering off the edge of obliv–

Finish what you started.

Sticking with it until the end,
Katarina Madden

My Experience:

I am very self-motivated when it comes to long-term goals, such as finishing a novel, but I struggle with the shorter ones.  “Why do I need to write 100 words to eat an M & M?  It’s right there?  I can just pick it up and eat it now and be done with it.” Then, I do just that.  I do reward myself for bigger accomplishments, like chapters and finishing the first draft, but that’s not what propels me to finish.  For me, it’s definitely the inability to live without my story.  I need it written so that it’s not inside just me anymore.  I can’t risk forgetting details, so I have to write it down.  That’s why I tend to write in spurts: 20,000 words in August, break, another large quantity over a long weekend, break, etc.


Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Why You Need to Start Writing NOW

I have this great idea, but…

a. I don’t know where to start.
b. every time I write, it sounds bad.
c. my writing sucks.
d. I’m too scared.

Here is why these excuses don’t work:

a. You won’t know where to start unless you do.
b. You won’t get any better unless you actually write.
c. See above statement.
d. The only way to conquer your fear is by facing it.

I’ve heard these excuses a lot from “writers.”  I tell them about what I’m working on, and then I ask, “So, what’s your latest work in progress?” It makes me so sad that people often respond with, “but” statements.

But I don’t think it will sell.”

But I haven’t plotted enough.”

But I’m scared, scared, scared.”

My responses:

“But that’s not why you should be writing.” (Seriously, write for yourself, not for others.)

“But I’ve never plotted.  You don’t need to.” (This is true–plotting isn’t my forte.)

“But if you don’t jump in now, you might never!”

I promise that if you get that story written now, you’ll realize how silly all your fears were.  It might be really bad; my first drafts always are.  But you’ll also be pleasantly surprised.  A lot of what you write will be salvageable.  Some of it might be genius or become genius.

But you’ll never know if you never write.  Maybe you’ll be famous someday, maybe you won’t.  Maybe people will love your book, maybe they’ll hate it.  But you will never know unless you write it.

I have a super secret to share with you: there is NOTHING preventing you from writing.  Once you realize this, you’ll be unstoppable!

Writing NOW,
Katarina Madden

My Experience: 

I used to always dream of writing.  When I was very young, I would write whatever came to mind.  Then I must have discovered that writing is something authors do, so I stopped.  I was fortunate enough to realize that nothing was preventing me from writing only a few years later.  I joined an online game, and on the game there was a forum where people would post their stories.

Then it hit me: I can do this, too!  So I did.  My first story was Battle Camp: the Rebellion.  It totaled 13,000 words of vomit-worthy literature.  Now, though, I’ve done a complete rewrite, and I love it.  This story has become my life, and I shudder to think how I would be different without this story.


Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Welcome to Mad Writing

*waves* Hi, world!  I’m Katarina Madden, and this is my blog.

If you want to know what this thing here is all about, head on over to the about page.  Or, I’ll just tell you.

This will be a blog about writing.  Writing advice, writing inspiration, writing prompts, my adventures with writing… Writing.

I’ll smooth out the wrinkles later, but for now I plan on updating once a week on Fridays.  This isn’t set in stone– I might surprise you with an early update on Thursday or an late post on Saturday, but you get the picture.

I don’t plan on telling you much about my boring personal life, but I might periodically give you updates about my current work(s) in progress or books I’m reading.

At the moment, I’m debating on whether or not I should get an e reader.  I used to be adamant about only buying physical copies of books, but I think I’ll cave and get one.

I’m leaning toward the Kindle Paperwhite 3G (not because I travel a lot, but because I’m paranoid).

Katarina Madden


Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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