In my last post, I answered the question "Where do you get your ideas?" I wrote that we all ideas, and the better question is: "How do you follow through on ideas?" That's the hard part. Right now I have enough ideas for five or six more books. Ideas are easy to come by. Sticking with an idea and wrestling it into a novel isn't so easy.
This semester I'm teaching Fiction Writing at Northern Kentucky University. Several of my students have come to me with the same problem. They have a great idea. They start writing. But then they stop. So how do they keep going?
There isn't one simple answer, but rather a combination of things. First of all, sheer will power. You have to force yourself to sit down and do the work. Even when you don't feel like it. Even when the words won't come. Even when the sun is shining and you'd rather be outside. Even when it's pouring rain and you'd rather clean the toilets than work on your novel.
Do. The. Work.
Easy to say. Hard to do. But the truth is, simply by sitting at your computer and pounding out the words you're ahead of 90% of other writers.
Second, you write it for the characters. You have to care enough about the people you're writing about to want to finish their story. If you don't care enough about your characters to keep writing, your readers won't care enough to finish reading.
What you're writing needs to matter to you. Don't worry about what's popular or what's selling. Write about things you're passionate about, because writing a novel is like running a marathon. If you're not passionate about it, you'll never make it to the finish line.
Oh yes. One more thing. When all else fails, there's always coffee and chocolate!