There are so many tips for writers out there, and they all have some value. That said, we all have our favorites, and those choices tend to involve our personal writing issues. So, that said, here are some of my favorite writing tips!
Learn the Difference between Prep and Distraction
We all like to make elaborate plans, create meaningful rituals, and generally do things that make you think about writing rather than actually get busy with your words. Some prep is good, especially if you’re a plotter. Don’t let your preparation get in the way of your writing, though! If you like to drink tea as you write, make sure you complete a certain word count before going to get another cup. Drowning in tea while you stare at the blinking cursor does not add to your novel. And, as glorious as your newly created world may be, you can only share it with other people through the story you’re supposed to be writing.
Be Ready to Take Notes
Interrupting your flow in order to stop and research a minor point, look up a name, or expand on an idea in another part of the story is a recipe for distraction. That’s what your notebook is for! If you’re like most writers, you probably have a stack of pretty little notebooks gifted by well-meaning relations. Again, if you’re like most writers, you’ve probably never touched the vast majority. Use them to jot down ideas not just while you’re out of the house, but also while you’re writing! You may actually need some new ones by next Christmas!
Become Pavlov’s Dog
If you aren’t used to writing, have a case of squirrel-brain, or deal with a vicious inner editor, train yourself like Pavlov’s dog. Instead of drooling when someone rings a bell, though, you need to channel some outside stimulus into your writing drive. If you like coffee, dedicate a single flavor to writing time. As you smell it brewing, plan what you’re going to say. Let the mug warm your hands up for typing. Link the flavor with productivity. You can use the same trick to train yourself to switch on Writing Brain by composing in a specific location, at a certain time, or even in a certain set of clothes.
Ask for Help if You Need It
You have to sink into your own imagination and life experiences as you write, but there is also a very practical, real-time factor to even the most introspective story. That element is you. Lots of things can and will get between you and your story. Family needs attention, work demands overtime, crises and stresses drain you emotionally and mentally. That doesn’t mean you should stop writing. It does mean you should reach out for help if you need it. Looking for a confidence boost? Ask someone trustworthy to look over what you have so far. You may get your first fan! If time is an issue, ask your spouse to help with the kids during writing time. Lots of people in your life can help you become a better writer!
You Need More than One Story
This is a big obstacle in many new writers’ minds. When you sit down to write your first novel, you want it to be everything you’ve ever dreamed. You want a happy ending, a twist ending, and a tragic ending. Everything you’ve ever wanted to say seeps into the core of your primary character, complicating them beyond belief and obscuring your character’s goals. There is just too much love and too many ideas in your soul to fit into a single story. You know what that means? You need to write LOTS of stories! No one story will be everything you’ve ever dreamed of writing. Maybe your combined work could be, though.
Hopefully these tips help you get more done with less stress! You’re already a writer, and a little support can help you finish up that stubborn novel. And – don’t forget – you should always write MORE!