I often get asked for my favourite writing tips and without any hesitation I will always answer – write regularly. It doesn’t matter if you can only spare a half an hour. In fact, sometimes people under the most time pressure are more inclined to get the most things done. Like the saying goes – if you want something done ask a busy person? By the way – what’s the difference between a busy person who gets results and a busy person who doesn’t? They practice good time management.
GET A ROUTINE
Writing regularly introduces a good routine. Routine is great for writers. Personally I find that without a routine I feel a bit lost.
I don’t like my deadlines too far away and if they are, I tend to break them down into mini deadlines and bring them forward. For example, instead of having the goal of completing a novel by the following year I find it easier to tell myself I’ll get a chapter done by the end of this month.
Large and unstructured goals often don’t get achieved and you can see why. The idea of delivering 300 pages is very difficult to even think about, but when you break it down into say, a page a day, or even a page each day five days a week – then it becomes much more manageable and easy to plan for.
TRY SOME EXERCISES
In my years of teaching creative writing I found that people responded very positively creatively to creative writing exercises and I came up with many different exercises to help them get started.
I had great feedback from the exercises I devised so I decided to write a book about them. I called my book ‘Practical Creative Writing Exercises and in it I have put together a selection of my most effective exercises. I have included a wide variety of different types so you may try your hand at different ways to stimulate your creativity.
GET UP EARLIER
Getting up a half hour earlier to write isn’t that difficult. Taking a shorter lunch break in order to write isn’t that difficult either. This is why I consider writing regularly one of my best writing tips – it’s the easiest to get to grips with. Who can’t write a page a day or spare a half hour a day? I would say very few of us – when we’re honest.
Being too busy is one of the biggest excuses people make and having taught creative writing, both at college level and at evening classes I have heard it over and over again. I wonder is it an excuse not to try? If we don’t try we can’t fail?
NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE
We’re all so terrified of failing. I’m just as afraid of it as the next person but I don’t let it stop me for long. We’re all allowed a bit of wound-licking time to recover from a disappointment but after that you have to get yourself going again.
Still, I wish there was no such word. I wish I could replace the word failing with learning. We need to remember that this is part of the process. If you allow yourself to be too scared of failing, you’ll have given up before you’ve begun. You’ve only got one life – remember…
So, don’t give up before you’ve begun – make writing part of your routine and remember ‘an apple and a page a day keeps the doctor away.’ Oh and some daily exercises help as well – here are some great exercises for your mind.
Best of luck with your writing.