Monday, October 7, 2013

Proposing Motivation After A Writing Break

I settled into my chair on Saturday, excited to jump back into writing after a long writing break. As I got restless in the break, I took some time to consider what I would write, and that I would start soon. It seemed a bit daunting at first, since the last writing I had done was extensive proposal writing, which, for a fiction author, isn't an easy task. But the exercise of proposal writing might have just helped with ending my writing break by giving me the motivation I needed. And in hindsight, I took some very similar measures in setting up a proposal to say "farewell" to my writing break.

There are many elements that go with proposals, but for today's example, I will expand on three objectives of a proposal. Proposals reveal your story and what it's about to the agent or editor, giving them a thorough glimpse at what's in store (and hopefully excitement!). Proposals also give you a chance to outright state the take away value of your story, the very essence of why you wrote it in the first place. And with great importance, the proposal should prove your ability to write, and the passion for telling this specific, unique story of yours. As I began to plunge into writing again, the same three objectives of a proposal seemed to help stir up motivation for ending my writing break:
  1. Reveal the Story: Or in this instance, REFRESH myself to the story in my heart. While a proposal gives the reader a thorough look at the story, an author beginning up again after a break will need to look at their story with fresh eyes. I read all the chapters I had written, went through the synopses (and the proposal), and reminded myself of what it all looked like in my daydreaming.:)
  2. Take Away Value: We've heard it stated time and again: "Why did you write it? What's the take-away value? What will a reader gain from reading this story?" And that is important to hash out in a proposal. An author ending a writing break, needs to define their purpose for writing what's on their heart. This is essential to motivation after a writing break. It takes that passion driving you to "pick up the pen" once again, and tunnels it through with purpose. And once I have a reason, I can't help but race toward the goal!
  3. Prove your Ability: How you write in a proposal should convey that you can write in the first place. And we all know, authenticity goes a long way with today's reader. To write, you must be connected to your own heart, and for us Christian writers, to God's spirit to write with excellence. The best way to begin to do this after a writing break is to journal or write blog posts. Pour your heart out on paper or on your blog to get connected again with passionate prose. This doesn't mean that your rustiness won't show through a bit when you actually get back to your story, but it will give you ample foundation to start...and a little bit of assurance that you have what it takes!
Once you get going on that story, remember to take a first draft mentality...don't worry about it not pouring out right away, and don't edit! Just let your juices flow again. Risk bad writing for excellent writing as you go! Just keep writing!

Have you ever struggled to start up again after a writing break? What helps motivate you?

Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous, mothering days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


Unknown said...

Love this post, Angie! Partially because I'm weird and actually enjoy writing proposals. (Except for the synopsis part. Ugh. Gag me.) But I ESPECIALLY loved this piece of your post:

"And we all know, authenticity goes a long way with today's reader. To write, you must be connected to your own heart, and for us Christian writers, to God's spirit to write with excellence."

Amen, sister!

Angie Dicken said...

I will confess, that I have found joy in writing proposals too! Actually, I don't mind the synopsis once I get going!! HA! Hope you are enjoying this sunny day after the miserable one yesterday!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I loved this, Angie. I haven't written a proposal yet, but I hope to in the next few months. (bites her nails as she spills out her hopes on the page). :)

I loved what you shared about authenticity too. I ended up taking about a three week break from my story last month because of busy-ness in real life. I sat down recently to begin writing again, and I got scared. What if I couldn't finish the story? What if....? I had to re-align my thoughts with the truth. Which helped me get back into the story again.

I'm not writing as fast as I'd like, but I'm making some forward progress. I think getting my head into the story is one of the biggest things I do to get back into writing again.

Angie Dicken said...

Don't worry, Jeanne! Proposal writing is scary at first, but once you get into it, it's kinda fun to show off your story! You are so right, getting your head into the story is the only way to move forward!