15.49: Maintaining Passion for a Story, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

This episode comes from a question we’re often asked: “how do you stay excited about a story you’re working on?” We talk about how we maintain our passion for the stories we’re working on, and how that’s not the same as being super excited to write every time we sit down at the keyboard

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Return to your notes or your outline and look for the things that excited you about writing this story. Write those down.

Dust, by Arthur Slade

7 thoughts on “15.49: Maintaining Passion for a Story, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan”

  1. The second half of this (the part about working through revision) helped me find faith in the current rewriting in the draft I am working on. Between all the doubts it can be hard to focus sometimes, but I just have to keep at it. It isn’t easy for anyone, and it feels good to not be alone. Thank you.

  2. I started my novel-in-progress four years ago, and, though I was excited about working on it, until last week, I had not been able to work on it except at the expense of my grades. (I have since dedicated the 5 o’clock hour to the story.)
    I daresay that one of the most important parts of maintaining excitement about a novel, at least for me, is ensuring that there is time set aside for it. Just as I would feel rather apathetic about someone offering me a free six-week vacation to Gondor with all UFO travel expenses pre-paid and logistics pre-worked-out, I cannot look forward to fictional writing time.

  3. Great stuff, as always! I love your podcast. This was exactly the motivation I needed. This will be one of my favourite motivational podcasts of yours alongside ‘This sucks and I’m a horrible writer’ (season 1, episode 17). https://writingexcuses.com/2008/06/01/writing-excuses-episode-17-this-sucks-and-im-a-horrible-writer/

    p.s. I am reading Shadows Beneath: The writing excuses anthology- I am really finding this useful and enjoyable… of course.

  4. The hardworking quartet, Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon, looked at keeping the passion, the fire, going during the middle of your book, when you have to stop and then start again, when shiny ideas tempt you away, and during the slog of revision, revision, revision. Plenty of advice and ideas to help you turn up the flames and keep writing. Read all about it in the transcript, available now in the archives.

  5. ADHD does my brain wrong. I slog through part of even a short story and the new shiny pops up from who-knows-where and drags me away. So I’ve learned to stuff in as much novelty as I can into any stage of a particular short (or long). That way the dopamine keeps on keeping on.

    This kind of relates to that whole scene/sequel thing, where I cycle through action and reaction, experience and learning from the experience, or success and failure–or whatever. Like breathing. But each part of a cycle contains its own novelty for me. That novelty is the keystone for my sustained work on a narrative, given my questionable brain.

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