Don’t forget to write


Authors and writers hear it every day:  if you are to succeed as an author, you must market, research, critique, tweet, Facebook, create a brand, gain a following, attend seminars, learn how to write synopsis, pitch a book, query and edit.  You are also supposed to do all of this while attending to those little things in life like working, taking care of kids, going to school, exercising, etc.  Is it any wonder after taking care of all the above, you actually forget to write?

Here are a few tips that may be able to help fit some time in to actually put words to paper (or computer):

1.  Schedule a time to write.  If you work or go to school full-time, it may help to establish a regular time each day to write. Make an appointment with your writer self and treat it the same way you would any other appointment.

2.  Don’t be afraid to say No.  Time is a commodity writers can’t waste.  Don’t be afraid to tell your family, friends and neighbors you have to write.  That’s not to say writing should be the most important thing in your life, but you may want to consider, especially in the beginning, giving up that time for the most important things in your life.  Tell everyone, including friends and family, you’re writing a novel.  They’ll usually take an interest, AND give you the space you need to finish it.

3.  Don’t burn yourself out.  Many writers get the idea in their head they’re going to write the next Great American Novel in 30-days, and they go at it night and day for 2 weeks and give up because they’ve burned themselves from both ends. Don’t forget to sleep and eat right.  Exercise regularly (it does wonders to help sort out plots and shake the cobwebs from the head).  Indulge in a bubble bath.  Take a break and read.  Relax.

4.  Don’t over-think it.  Too many writers (me included) start out writing their novel and at the end of chapter 1, they go back and revise and revise again to the point chapter 2 is never written.  Stop with the editing.  Just write.  Always keep moving forward.  Don’t lose the momentum.  The novel will never be perfect so stop striving for it.  Concentrate on writing a great story you love.  Your authenticity will shine through and your readers will thank you.

5.  Identify your fear.  Is there a reason you are not writing on a regular basis?  Are you afraid to finish?  Are you afraid people won’t like your story?  Are you afraid of success?  Do you feel cramped?  Do you not have a good ‘writing space’?  Identify what prohibits you from writing and figure out ways to overcome it.  It may be as simple as having a few friends in your corner you can talk to and vent.  As soon as you can identify the reason(s) why you can’t write, the sooner you can figure out ways to overcome it/them.

6.  Lack of tools.  You may not have a laptop you can take with you wherever you go.  You may not be able to write as fast as your brain thinks.  You may not be able to read what you write, even if your hands can keep up with your thoughts.  Try getting a digital recorder.  If it’s your writing space that’s hindering your creative thoughts, look into changing up where you write.  Not enough peace and quiet?  Try going to a library or coffee-house.  Explore all avenues to find what works and is productive for you.

Whatever you do, set your mind and thoughts free, enjoy yourself, and don’t forget to write.

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14 thoughts on “Don’t forget to write

  1. Terrific tips Jenny! When I revise I set a page requirement for each day. And I give myself Fridays off. I put together a timeline in Excel and force myself to adhere to it. Same with drafting. 1k a day–5 days a week. If it takes an hour or four–I get the word count done. It’s weird but those kind of project management tools really keep me on deadline and get things completed.

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  2. All of this is so true! I’ve found scheduling a time to write works really well for me – better than I thought it would! I’ve also learned that not every day is going to be a good writing day – sometimes whatever I’ve written is going to be bad and that’s okay! 🙂

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  3. I want to comment on point 2. Don’t be afraid to say no. It took me a while to convince friends that I was serious about writing. At first when I said no to fun activities, I received a lot of pressure to ‘write later.’ I recruited one friend, who fully understood my desire to write, to explain to others how serious I was. Now they’re great. I get invited, but not pressured if it’s my time to write.

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    1. Good for you. I think understanding by others is a big issue for a lot of writers. They think writing is frivolity, something we do in our spare time. It’s very important for writers to know their family and friends take this job seriously. Yes, it’s fun, but it’s also equally important to us as going to a movie. Just like there’s Monday Night Football, there is also “Writer Time”, and that needs to be respected.

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  4. #4 — yup, chronic Rewriteritess, that’s me. It’s a hard one to overcome and I really have to force myself to just keep moving, knowing I can fix things later. Finis first, edit second.

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  5. Great post. I loved that you mention the importance of exercise. Although it’s physical, it also improves the mind’s ability to think and create. Your number four is an important one for me, too. I used to keep editing, going back to what I’d previously written, and like a mouse on a wheel, get nowhere. I’m much better about that now.

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  6. #4 really resonated with me. Self-editing is important–but not while you’re trying to be creative. It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re focused on choosing the perfect word or trying to decide between a comma and a semicolon. Creativity is too easily stifled by all the other demands of life, so just write write write and edit later. Thanks for sharing some great ideas, and thanks for linking to my blog. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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    1. That’s one reason I like NaNoWriMo so much. Whether I finish a book or not, it forces me to write and not edit. Procrastination is my biggest enemy. NaNo forces me to rewire my brain. Now I have too many ideas unraveling on my computer. It’s fabulous.

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