A few weeks ago, I talked about the pitfalls of social media and the pull of marketing as writers. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find these things a curse when you’re easily distracted (yeah, squirrel). Sometimes it can be hard to even get started.
Listed below are a few techniques I’ve used. Hopefully they will also help you focus and get you back on track with your own writing.
1. Write Every Day
This is an old piece of writing advice that I never really took to until recently. In order to help me with this, I began a writing journal; writing as much or as little as required. This then led to new story ideas developing or existing ones expanded. My writing process may have been slow to begin with, but since then, I have begun writing longer pieces. At the end of each day, I have felt a sense of accomplishment. Writing every day then becomes a habit, and a new routine that moves you forward towards your goals.
2. Write What You Want to Write
Years ago, I tried my hand at writing a romance, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. Trouble was I was too busy concentrating on trends. The only way to truly find your own voice is to write the stories you want to write, otherwise you’ll lose interest very quickly.
3. Forget about Publication (for now)
Sometimes when we’re writing (or even before we even get started), we can be too busy thinking about the finished product. During my teenage years I wrote stories in serial form and let some of my friends read them. I certainly wasn’t thinking about publication back then. I wasn’t worried about perfection either. I wrote that mush simply for the pleasure of making things up. I was enjoying the process. As unpublished writers we don’t have to worry about deadlines either. Write for your own enjoyment. Experiment with different genres and styles of writing – take the time to work out what works for you. Have fun with it – worry about publication later.
4. Concentrate on One Thing at a Time
Some writers thrive on multi-tasking. I’ve tried it that way myself, for a while, yet found myself unable to focus and left a lot of work incomplete. Whenever a new idea pops up now, I write it down and let it simmer in the back of my mind for a while. I found this helps in two ways. It (a) allows you to work out characters, plot, etc for the new project instead of writing it up until you reach another dead end, and (b) my eagerness for starting the new project forces me to work faster on the current one.
5. Have a Plan
Think about what your ultimate writing goal is and consider the steps you need to take in order to make that goal possible. What kind of writing do you do other than novels, if any? In order to make a name for yourself, it helps to build up writing credits. Have a plan of what other types of writing you’d like to pursue, where they could be published and/or if you’d like to enter competitions. Every step you take can help you in building up a body of work.
Is there any advice that I’m missing? What advice do you have for other writers? What mistakes did you make when you first started writing?