One of the most frustrating things about being a new writer is finding out what works for you. How do you get yourself to actually sit down and write? Do you have to listen to music? Do you have to lock yourself in a room alone or do you prefer writing at Starbucks? Is the internet turned off or are you allowing yourself breaks? What do other authors do to get that first (or tenth) book complete???
It seems like every author claims to know the secrets to writing that will work for you too. And let me say, there are hundreds of blogs claiming to know the secret to get you started. Because it worked for them, then why won’t it work for you, right? Well, it isn’t always that easy. At least for me, I’ve tried several different ways to keep focused, but what works for others does not work for me. And that is totally okay.
What I do when I sit down and write.
1. Plan out when I am going to write – Almost like a date. I went out and purchased a planner and literally wrote out what chapter I am editing that day. In the same way, when I was writing the first draft, I would jot down goals for completing each section. Based on how many words I could write per day, one chapter could take up to two weeks.
2. Force myself to sit down and actually write – This is the single easiest and most difficult part of writing for me… actually writing. No, I don’t turn off the internet. But I do turn on some classical music on and close out of every open tab that I have. For quick access to my books, I use Google Drive. After I get a chapter completed, I move it to Scrivener for formatting when I go to publish. Because of this, I need the internet on so Google Docs can save and update as I type.
3. Take breaks every hour – To me, breaks are essential to my writing process. However, I have to be sure that they are both strategic and constructive. Wait, what? Constructive breaks? Yes! Usually, I spend my 10-15 minute breaks on Pinterest looking up writing prompts, author inspiration, or tips to self-publishing. It gives me something else to look at, but also helps keep me motivated to get back to my novel.
Tips for the aspiring writer.
- Find what works for you. Think outside the box! Don’t stop until you are comfortable with a routine. Many blogs have their own ‘solutions’, but that just means that it worked for that particular author. You? You’re different! Unique! Utilize other blogs for ideas, but change things up if it doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid to try new things, new environments, etc. On the flip side, don’t force yourself into a routine that doesn’t work. It’s your passion! Make it fun!
- Get to it! Whatever gets you inspired, use it. Put up a quote in your work space – anything! Inspiration and motivation may not come every day you sit down to write, but keep going. Hold yourself accountable to a specific word count or specific amount of time. Cherish it. No excuses! I promise that once you sit down to write, it only takes a few minutes before you realize that you are already immersed in your story.
- Procrastination is your enemy. In the realm of writers, procrastination stems from fear of failure and being judged. It’s a natural reaction! I mean, you spend a year or so writing something that you love and craft from scratch. When you go to publish and the world can read your work, it feels similar to standing in the middle of a busy mall, completely naked. With that kind of exposure, no wonder we procrastinate. The only thing that worked for me was ignoring that feeling of dread and just write. Again, do whatever works for you to keep from procrastinating.
- Don’t feel bad if you have to scrap it. I can’t tell you how many bad ideas I had to go through, attempt to write, and cry internally when I had to scrap them. Remember, it’s paving the way for a really great idea! Don’t get discouraged or feel like you’re failing if your first few ideas don’t work out. It happens to all of us, but it is a learning experience.
- Don’t worry about what other authors do. There are thousands of blogs out there with their own opinions and tips, but it can get easily overwhelming. If you feel like you are being bombarded with conflicting information, just put down the computer and walk away for a while. Always remember that you will have to find your own way. When you are honest with yourself, you will turn out a better product. 🙂
I hope this helps and is broad enough to cover everything. But I will be the first to admit that I don’t know everything. Tell me, what do you do that works? Any tips for me??? Comment below!