April 8

Punishment vs Reward

Writer

Writing should be fun and inspirational, but how do you do it more often. I often think of writing like exercise:

  1. It’s something I want to do;
  2. It’s something I need to do;
  3. It’s something that will benefit me;
  4. If I build it into my routine it becomes easier;
  5. It’s something I don’t have time for;
  6. I just don’t feel like it right now.

Number 5 and 6 can make you go years without writing. Either you don’t have the time or just don’t feel like it. A lot of people will set about to punish themselves. In almost every case, this is a bad solution and won’t work in the long term. Sometimes punishments can masquerade as time management or self improvement. Some examples of punishment might be:

  1. I’ll stop watching television;
  2. I’ll spend less time hanging out with my friends;
  3. I won’t play video games ever again.

Taking something out of your life that you enjoy isn’t a permanent solution. You might find yourself writing more, but you might also end up being more unhappy. Certainly if there are things that waste your time that you don’t enjoy, cut those out. That would be a reward, so go for it. Otherwise, think about rewards that work for you.

  1. Once I complete my first chapter, I’m going to buy myself that new pair of shoes I’ve been wanting;
  2. I’m going to watch an hour of television right after I write a poem;
  3. Once I’ve completed that short story, I’m going to play video games.

For those who have very little time, keep in mind the time where you wait. Almost everyone has to wait for something at some point. You wait for the doctor, the dentist, friends, business meetings, family members, husbands, and wives. For those who take buses, trains, or planes, you can write while you’re commuting. In all of this time you spend waiting, you might be able to get a full novel complete within 2 years.

Good luck, and starting writing again. Feel free to contact me if you want to chat about your next project.

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March 17

Write Something Everyday

The greatest bit of wisdom I could share is to simply write everyday. This is advice that I need to follow too, but if you can write something everyday, anything at all, you are a writer.

Write a poem, a story, a diary entry, or a tip in a writing blog about writing something everyday. Write whatever you want, but write something. This will make the difference between launching the career that you want and spending your existence in a job that you don’t really care for.

If you write and it’s terrible, write more. It will get better. People argue that you’re either a writer or not a writer, but you have 365 days a year to practise. You’ll get better in no time. If grammar is an issue for you, take classes. That doesn’t clear up on its own. If the writing is too concise, not concise enough, or just no good, read other work, get inspired.

You will get there if you write everyday.

November 8

Great, you found your muse. Now, before you go and write 10,000 more incoherent and in-cohesive sentences, stop, #edit, and #read.

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...
Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spoke about getting your muse on in an early post, but what happens if the writing ideas are flowing like a faucet? Is it cool to take up your days and nights with unlimited, unleashed writing.

My thought on this is no. There are a few times when I will have, what seems like, an infinite resource of writing ideas to source from. If I get carried away and just write and write and write, sometimes the work starts to suffer a lot. The one good thing about writer’s block is it gives me a chance to reread my work, edit it, and think about what I don’t like and do like about my style. It makes me think about where I should try to go with my style. It even makes me wonder if I should change my style often.

Having a fountain pen full of ideas that just spill out all over the place is great, but it’s messy. Right now, I’ve found my muse, and I’m starting to write, write, write, but I’ve set a limit for myself. There’s a maximum daily quantity that I allow myself to write. That amount of time is different for everyone, but I need time to sit down and reflect on the work I’ve written. As much as I think I’m great at writing when the words are coming out, reading something two or three days later can really make me wonder what I was thinking.

My advise is to write everyday, but take time to read and edit everyday also. It makes my work better and easier to follow, and I hope it will do the same for you.

November 1

Where’s the Muse at?

Hesiod and the Muse
Hesiod and the Muse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes when I’m writing anything, a story, a poem, or maybe even a clever email, I run into a touch of writer’s block. I even ran into writer’s block while writing this writing tip. Here are five ways that I battle writer’s block.

  1. Write down ideas through out the day when you have them.
    Writing is often a very “mood based” type of activity, but you can’t always write when you have inspiration. If you jot down the basic ideas you have while you are in the mood to write, you have already got yourself passed most of the writer’s block (the idea stage).
  2. Read and get inspired.
    Reading and even watching TV can help you with style and stories. If you have free time while you aren’t writing, fitting in a small amount of reading can give you that inspiration you need for writing time.
  3. Set aside time everyday to write.
    If you can legitimately argue that you can’t make the time to write because you are too busy, the harsh truth is that you probably aren’t a writer. Most of us already set aside time for eating, sleeping, using the washroom, and working. If you set aside time to write when you aren’t doing anything else – truly nothing else at all, you will find your muse. Sometimes I can only find half an hour to write, and even if I only come up with one good idea or one good sentence, I’ve started to push the idea snow ball down the giant mountain of literary snow.
  4. Get your mind right.
    This is my way of saying that you need to clear your head of all the bad juju. If you feel stressed, go for a run. If you’re mad at a friend, talk to him/her about the issue. If you can write better when your mind is in angst, go for it. For those of us who can’t do anything when we feel that way, clear it up, fix it – do whatever you can to get past the feeling and just write.
  5. Write what you want.
    If you’re writing the greatest novel that ever was and you’re stuck on Chapter 2, try taking the time to write a short story or a poem. Get your mind off of Chapter 2, but keep writing. I know this doesn’t mesh well with deadlines, but if you’re at risk of blowing a deadline because of writer’s block, the best thing you can do is write about something completely different. It will sometimes cure your writer’s block and allow you to get back on target with Chapter 2.