7 Ways to Build Motivation to Start Writing a New Novel

Starting a new novel can be an exhilarating yet challenging task. It requires creativity, discipline, and a healthy dose of motivation. However, finding that initial spark to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard can sometimes feel elusive. If you’re struggling to ignite your writing passion and embark on your new literary journey, fear not! In this blog post, we will explore seven effective ways to build the motivation needed to begin writing a new novel.

  1. Clarify Your Why: Before diving into the writing process, take a moment to reflect on your reasons for wanting to write a novel. Ask yourself: What do I hope to achieve? Is it to share a compelling story, explore a unique idea, or simply express yourself? By clarifying your why, you will tap into your deeper motivations, providing you with a strong foundation to start your novel with enthusiasm.
  2. Set Achievable Goals: Break down the daunting task of writing a novel into smaller, achievable goals. Establish daily or weekly word count targets or allocate specific time slots for writing. By setting realistic goals, you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment with each milestone reached, and this progress will fuel your motivation to keep going.
  3. Create a Writing Ritual: Design a writing ritual that suits your preferences and helps signal to your brain that it’s time to get into writing mode. This could involve setting up a dedicated writing space, lighting a scented candle, playing soft background music, or indulging in a cup of your favorite tea or coffee. By establishing a consistent and enjoyable routine, you’ll condition your mind to associate these rituals with the act of writing, making it easier to find motivation when you sit down to write.
  4. Find Your Muse: Inspiration can come from various sources, so explore what fuels your creativity. Read books, watch movies, listen to music, or visit art galleries to expose yourself to different narratives and ideas. Engaging with other forms of art can ignite your imagination and spark fresh ideas, making you eager to bring your own story to life.
  5. Join a Writing Community: Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who share your passion for writing can be immensely motivating. Join writing groups, forums, or workshops either online or in person, where you can connect with fellow writers, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Sharing your progress and challenges with others who understand the writing process can reignite your enthusiasm and inspire you to start writing your novel.
  6. Embrace Freewriting and Outlining: If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, try freewriting or outlining as a warm-up exercise. Freewriting involves writing continuously for a set period, allowing your thoughts to flow without judgment. This exercise can help you unleash your creativity and get your creative juices flowing. Outlining, on the other hand, can provide a roadmap for your novel, giving you a sense of direction and purpose. By engaging in these pre-writing activities, you’ll feel more prepared and motivated to dive into your novel.
  7. Cultivate a Supportive Environment: Surround yourself with people who believe in your writing abilities and provide encouragement. Share your writing aspirations with friends, family, or writing buddies who will support and motivate you throughout your journey. Celebrate your achievements together, seek constructive feedback, and remind yourself that you have a network of support behind you. A positive and nurturing environment can go a long way in building your motivation and confidence.

Building motivation to start writing a new novel can be challenging, but with these seven strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to overcome any hurdles. By clarifying your purpose, setting achievable goals, creating a conducive writing environment, finding inspiration, connecting with writing communities, embracing pre-writing activities, and cultivating a supportive network, you’ll be able to ignite your passion and embark on your literary journey with enthusiasm.

Remember, motivation is not a constant state, and it may fluctuate throughout your writing process. However, by implementing these techniques and adapting them to suit your unique needs, you can reignite your motivation whenever it wavers.

So, take a deep breath, trust in your abilities, and let your imagination soar. The world is waiting for your story. Start writing your new novel today and watch as your passion and determination breathe life into your words. Happy writing!

The Door in the Mountain: A Fantasy Novella

Some things lost should not be found, no matter what the wind tells you.

Down on his luck and out of food, Rorik is resigned to sell his only heirloom—a family ring with a mysterious symbol. When a stranger invites him to seek a dead man’s fortune, he sees his chance at last. But as his fellow treasure hunters start turning up dead, Rorik finds himself with more to fear than cliffs and ice. There’s no turning back. Not when the wind whispers of destiny.

Discover a world of enchantment and mystery with “The Door in the Mountain,” a captivating novella that will transport you to realms beyond imagination.

“The Door in the Mountain” weaves together elements of fantasy, adventure, and introspection, creating a mesmerizing narrative that will captivate readers of all ages. With lyrical prose and vivid imagery, the author paints a vivid tapestry of a world brimming with wonder and danger.

Perfect for fans of renowned authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and Neil Gaiman, this novella is a literary gem that will leave you spellbound from the first page to the last. Immerse yourself in the magic of “The Door in the Mountain” and unlock the secrets of a realm that will ignite your imagination and leave an indelible mark on your heart. Embark on this unforgettable journey today!

Life’s A Journey

Hello, dear readers! I want to begin this blog post by expressing my sincere apologies for my recent absence and lack of consistent posting. Life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges and responsibilities our way, and I found myself caught in the whirlwind of family and work obligations. However, I want you to know that I truly value your support and readership, and I’m grateful for your understanding during this busy period. In this post, I’d like to share a glimpse into the reasons behind my absence and reaffirm my commitment to providing valuable content moving forward.

  1. Family Matters: Life often demands our attention in unexpected ways, and family responsibilities can take center stage. Whether it’s caring for a sick loved one, supporting a family member through a difficult time, or simply cherishing quality moments together, family always comes first. I have been dedicating my time and energy to be present for my family, ensuring their well-being and fostering meaningful connections.
  2. Work Demands: Balancing personal and professional life is a perpetual challenge. Recently, work commitments have intensified, requiring additional time and focus. As I strive to excel in my career, there have been occasions where my writing endeavors had to take a backseat. However, I firmly believe that personal growth and professional development are vital aspects of leading a fulfilling life, and I appreciate your understanding as I navigate this delicate equilibrium.
  3. Self-Care and Well-being: In the midst of life’s demands, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and well-being. Overwhelm and exhaustion can hinder creativity and productivity, which is why I took some time to recharge and rejuvenate. By nurturing my physical, mental, and emotional health, I can return with renewed energy and deliver content that is authentic, insightful, and valuable to you, my readers.

Moving Forward: I want to assure you that my commitment to this blog and to providing valuable content remains steadfast. As life’s demands gradually ease, I am excited to resume regular posting (it might be once a month) and continue sharing my thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with you.

Moreover, I am open to your feedback and suggestions. Is there any particular topic you’d like me to cover? Please feel free to reach out and let me know. Your input is invaluable in shaping the direction of this blog and ensuring that it caters to your interests and needs.

Conclusion: Life is a beautiful yet complex journey filled with various responsibilities and commitments. I extend my deepest gratitude for your patience, understanding, and unwavering support during my absence. Family, work, and self-care are crucial aspects of maintaining balance and pursuing personal growth.

I’m thrilled to be back, fully dedicated to creating meaningful content that resonates with you. Together, let’s embark on this journey of exploration, knowledge, and inspiration. Thank you for being part of this incredible community, and I look forward to our continued engagement and growth together.

Shadow of the Wicked AUDIOBOOK

I’m so happy to announce ‘Shadow of the Wicked’ is now available on AUDIOBOOK!

I’ve been dying to share this news. I has been quite the process and I initially wanted to share it as a 1 year anniversary for the publication of Shadow of the Wicked but due to timing and the narrator (which he did an amazing job and was worth the wait) it took longer than planned.

So here it is. Link below to all available audiobook platforms.

Shadow of the Wicked

The Fantasy and Sci-Fi Writer’s Alliance

What is the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Writers Alliance?

We are a group of Fantasy & Sci-Fi writers who have banded together to help promote each other’s works, share each other’s social media posts and try to help each other create a healthy following of readers on all our social media platforms.

Once in the alliance, we will loop you in on follow trains for relevant platforms and postings to help promote you and your fellow alliance members’ works. You can join the trains or share the posts at your discretion, but the more you give, the more you will get from the experience.

Here are some trains we’ve done so far on Instagram, and currently doing one on Twitter.

The hope is to create a network of like-minded writers who will be able to:

  • Length the reach of our social media,
  • To draw in more followers across platforms and
  • Ultimately, improve all of our success as writers.

Anyone who is a writer in the Fantasy and/or Sci-Fi genres will sign-up, all that is needed is at least one social media account. It is encouraged to have at least the big three of Instagram, Twitter & Facebook to get the maximum effect.

If you are a part of an Indie Publisher, you can also sign up your social media accounts to be linked into the alliance network.

No information that is provided on this form will be shared outside of the usage stated above, and will be kept in a secure location. This information will be provided to other alliance members so that they can help support you and share your accounts and works.

What are you waiting for? Sign up below.

Join the alliance.

Indie Ink Awards 2022


I’m so excited by this news. When I chose to self-publish and become an indie author, I never would have thought SotW would be in the running nomination for anything. I produced this novella thinking it would gain little noticed but I’m so thrilled even if it doesn’t win an award.

But now, it’s up to you. You need to vote for my book. It has been nominated in several categories and the more votes I get, the more chance I have to win.

The link is below.

Please nominate for the categories: Best Morally Gray Character, Best Villain, Shadiest Character, and Best Debut.


Here is the description of the award below.

Books by marginalized authors, self-published books, and books by small presses often get overlooked. The Indie Ink Awards is a unique event that brings together the writing community to celebrate books that have made an impact on us. This is our way of highlighting the future we want to see in books–by uplifting those that shine.

The Indie Ink Awards will begin with nominations. In July 2022, you will be able to nominate your favorite books for over 30 different awards. All voting will take place right here on IndieStoryGeek.com.

We have two categories: the “Best In” awards and the “Writing The Future We Need” awards. The “Best In” awards should exemplify the chosen category. We are looking for exceptional inclusion and diversity in works nominated for “Writing the Future We Need” awards. Readers can nominate books for as many awards of either category as they think fit.

Only self published/small press books will be considered, AND they must be on Indie Story Geek. 

Those published by a subsidiary of the Big 4 are not eligible. If you’re an author and your book is not on Indie Story Geek, you may create an account and submit your book. You are not allowed to nominate your work, but you are encouraged to let your readers know that the Indie Ink Awards are taking place so they can nominate and vote.

Once the nomination period starts, books will go through a process of elimination.
The contest has four phases:

  • Nomination phase – July 2022 – books are nominated by anyone with a Indie Story Geek account.
  • Voting phase – August 2022 – the top nominated books will be listed by award for readers to vote on. The top ten in every category will move on at the end of this phase.
  • Authors of selected books are contacted in September 2022. Authors may provide a digital ARC for our judges to review if they wish, or they may opt-out of continuing in the competition.
  • Judges review selected books in their assigned category from October 2022 through February 2023, utilizing a rubric for increased objectivity.

Winners will be announced in March 2023 at our awards ceremony!

Interesting in reading as a judge? Fill out our application here!

Four Things that Should Be In Your First Chapter

Writing the first chapter is equivalent to a first date. First impressions are everything and you, the writer, are subject to some intense scrutiny. But how do you know if you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s?
Chapter one will make or break our book. If we get it wrong, the first chapter might be the only chapter of our book anyone reads. Here’s a guide for what to include in your first chapter.

brown wooden bench on sidewalk during night time

What Are Filler Words, and How To Increase Readability?

In speech, filler words are short, meaningless words (or sounds) we use to fill the little pauses that occur while we decide what we’re going to say next. They’re the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ and ‘ers’ that litter our conversations, whether or not we like it. But although these brief filler words don’t add any meaning to your statements, they perform a function in speech. They allow you to take a second and think about what you’re going to say next. They let others know that you’re not quite finished speaking yet, even if you’ve paused for a moment.

Filler words add no meaning or value to a sentence and simply fill the space and decrease the readability of your manuscript. #amwriting #amwritingfantasy #authorlife #writingcommunity #writingtips #author #blog #australia

Before I continue with Filler words, I want to share with you something outstanding. I am an affiliate for ProWritingAid.
What does that mean for you? For a limited time, you can sign up FOR FREE and if you choose to proceed with it, you can get 20% OFF ALL PURCHASES with the code: HONEY20 (even monthly subscriptions with the option to cancel at anytime). What are you waiting for? Click the link below to cut out those filler words.

Filler Words in Writing

Filler words take a distinct form in writing. Few of us actually write out “uh” or “um” when we’re composing an email. Instead, those little pauses manifest as unnecessary adverbs and empty phrases that add length but not substance to what you’re trying to say. Fortunately, written communication gives us the opportunity to edit ourselves before we send our message out to the world.

Filler words are words that add no meaning or value to a sentence and simply “fill” the space. They can be removed or replaced, but often inadvertently creep up in writing since we’re so used to using them in our speech. Having too many filler words decreases the readability of your manuscript, making it hard for the reader to engage in the action, plot, and characters of your story.

Below are examples of the most common filler words, according to InfusionMedia.

Most filler words are adverbs and adjectives. How do we cut them from our Manuscript? Use William Zinsser’s technique and read your sentences aloud. Note the rhythm and sound. Do your adverbs and adjectives overpower your verbs? Then get rid of the adverbs and adjectives. The action is what’s important.

Wordy: For all intents and purposes, this project will be outsourced.

Concise: This project will be outsourced.

Wordy: Needless to say, I think we should get grilled cheese.

Concise: We should get grilled cheese.


Basically is a filler word that appears both in speech and writing. We often use basically when we’re exaggerating for effect or making a statement that is generally true but may have some rare exceptions. Sometimes basically is an important qualifier, but often, it’s clear from context that you’re not making a claim of absolute truth.

Okay: Basically, I could eat ice cream for any meal. 
Better: I could eat ice cream for any meal.


Check out some of your recent emails. Do you tend to use the word just a lot? Is it just a way to make things sound more polite? Do you like to just follow up on things? Is there anything you were just wondering? Try deleting this one from your sentences and seeing if there’s really a difference in meaning. Most of the time, you’ll find there’s not.

Okay: Could you just send me that file when you have a moment?
Better: Could you send me that file when you have a moment?

If you want a personalized editing critique on your manuscript, I have an option for that on my Patreon! Click below to get the editing support you might need, along with a lot more content!

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We reach for adverbs like very, greatly, and highly to add intensity, but the truth is that these words are so overused that readers tend to gloss right over them. You’re better off picking a more vivid word to describe what you’re talking about.

Okay: The new pizza place downtown was very busy this afternoon. 
Better: The new pizza place downtown was bustling this afternoon.

Needless to say

If it’s really needless to say, why say it? If it does need to be said, don’t undercut yourself!

Okay: Needless to say, my haircut looked awful. 
Better: My haircut looked awful.

For what it’s worth

We tend to fall back on this phrase when we want to make a point but we’re not sure if others will be happy about it. Leave it out and your sentence will be more concise and sound more confident.

Okay: For what it’s worth, we could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward. 
Better: We could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward.

Read your book aloud. It stops the skimming over filler words and slows down the reading pace to let you find those filler words. Below, I have a list of other filler words to spot in your manuscript.
Until next time, keep your words sharp and sword sheathed.

If you like what you read, if you have questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question, or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.

#DouglasWTSmith #editing

common filler words for writing

8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book

You’ve finally decided to start writing a book, and you’re pumped about it. You’re confident your book is going to be one of the greatest written works in literary history. But when you consider actually starting the process, you feel stuck. Now what?

Everyone has their distinct writing style. Some gush out words to create a lengthy and very rough draft, while others agonize over every single word and sentence. Certain writers start at page one, while others create the body first and then fill in the intro later. Some aren’t even sure what genre they want to follow until they’ve hashed out several pages.

You’ll run into obstacles as you embark on your writing journey, so here are 8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book.

axe placed on firewoods in forest

6 Ways To Improve Your Writing

Are your sentences overly long and confusing? In this post, I’m going to share 6 ways to improve your writing.

Long sentences can be dangerous. When our sentences are too long, we tend to lapse into the passive voice and we risk making tense and punctuation mistakes.

Run-on sentences also distract the writer and the reader. We tend to veer off course and forget the purpose of our communications. They also force the reader to work harder.