Tips on Writing
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Tips on Writing: Building Momentum

I often tell people that writing every day is an excellent way to build momentum.


And then they look at me blankly and wonder why in the hell they need momentum, since they are writers, not rocket engineers.

I tell them (and I'm telling you now) that momentum is what gets the novel (or memoir, or article, or any writing project) done.

So, what exactly is momentum?


1. the product of a body's mass and its velocity

2. the impetus of a body resulting from its motion

3. giving power or strength

Since we don't happen to be rocket scientists, its #2 and #3 we're after.  Power and strength derived from the impetus of a body's motion.  Or, sustained energy to complete a writing project.

Momentum is what carries us forward with excitement to the end.  Without it, nothing happens.

But what, exactly, am I talking about when I talk about momentum?  Here are some examples:

  • Yesterday, I was working on other writing projects, but my novel called to me and I took time away from what I was supposed to be working on to complete a scene in my story.  Momentum is a sense of excitement that beckons you to work on your piece no matter what, even if it means you'll have to stay up late to finish everything else.
  • A friend reports she is so excited about her memoir that she wakes in the middle of the night with ideas for it.  Momentum is your subconscious so engaged with your story that it feeds you material at all hours of the day and night.
  • A student says that working on her novel is no longer a struggle, and that she writes some every day.  Momemtum makes writing a pleasure because you're so engaged with the work.

Building Momentum

So, how, you may ask, does one achieve this wondrous state called momentum?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Write every day.  Nothing builds momentum like writing every day.
  • If you can't write every day, at least look at your work.  Glance over it, read the last scene that you wrote.  This gets it in your brain and gets your subconscious chewing on it.
  • Make notes and lists.  The subconscious mind loves this kind of tinkering with ideas and will feed you more.
  • Read.  Often when I read a book on the writing craft, I get so inspired I can't get through the book because I keep putting it down to write.  But don't just read books (or blogs) on writing, read everything.
  • Think about your novel.  My new favorite thing to do is think about the plot and characters of my novel while I'm rocking my newborn grandson, Henry.  Something about the motion of it jars loose new ideas.  Which leads me to:
  • Move.  Walk.  Many people have reported on these very pages that walking makes their brains into a veritable idea factory.  And, just in case you didn't get it the first time:
  • Write every day.  Truly try your hardest to connect with your work in writing every day, even if its one word (and make no mistake about it, writing one word counts).

How do you maintain momentum on a project?  Any tips or tricks you'd like to share? 

PS.  I'm trying to make my posts easier to navigate, so do you think the bolded words are helpful or a distraction?

PPS.  (Or is it PSS?) Don't forget to sign up for my bi-weekly free newsletter, and get yourself a copy of my Ebook, How to Jumpstart Your Book With a Vision Board.  It'll help you with momentum to get the book going. 


Photos by Woodleywonderworks.


0 thoughts on “Tips on Writing: Building Momentum

  1. Happy LaShelle

    Thank you for the reminder! awesome post… and very timely for me.

    It would be P.P.S. by the way– since P.S. stands for post script– then that would be ‘post post script’ and not ‘post script script’ :)

  2. I like the idea of reading the last scene on an off day. Trying to write every day stresses me out! I tend to go four days in a row, then take at least that many off. Thanks for the tip.

    p.s. I like bold for headers, not to highlight words in a paragraph. Helps break up the text a bit more.

  3. Charlotte Dixon

    Happy, thank you for dropping by! And I just learned something with the PPS bit, thanks!

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Lisa, Glad it was a helpful tip for you. Try it and see how it works and report back, I find it really is helpful. And thanks for the input on when to use the bold.

  5. Jessica Baverstock

    This post is absolutely spot on. Momentum makes such a difference, but it’s difficult to keep up. Our life is not as smooth as those train tracks in the photograph (sigh). Sometimes we get completely derailed and have to pick ourselves back up.

    But when we are chugging along, the act of writing seems to become easier and the ideas come with startling regularity. Being aware of this means we can pay more attention to things that affect our momentum and add a little more coal to the fire when things start to slow down.

    After all, it’s always easier to move something that is already in motion rather than something that’s at a complete standstill.

    Also, I really like the formatting of your post. Easy to read. :)

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Good point, Jessica. And, when life isn’t as smooth as the train tracks in the photo, that’s when having some momentum built up carries us through. Thanks for the feedback on the post, too.

Leave A Comment

book cover mockup for Charlotte Rains Dixon

Looking for a Great Book to Read? Look No Further!

Emma Jean's Bad Behavior

Get Your Copy Today>>