I’m working on another book (two, actually), and it’s sort of been chewing up my free writing time (which includes blog-writing time). Here’s a few of the little tricks I’ve picked up while writing that make the entire process easy and enjoyable.
- Write it all down When you write, write as uninhibited as possible. You can spend a week on a sentence, or you can spend 30 seconds. Just remember that your first draft is just that: a draft. Don’t beat your head in - the editing phase will correct the blemishes on your fine manuscript.
- Find a spot that allows you to groove If you are having a tough time concentrating, you may need to find a location that’s more suitable to writing. It could be your kitchen table, or it could be a coffee shop. Whatever suits your tastes and gets you going.
- Your archives are a gold mine That second-grade paper your wrote about tulips? Might come in handy. The one page rant that you’d never dare show to the world? Might be a good prop in your story. Truth be told, you’ve been writing since kindergarten, and so you’ve already got lots of bits of source material that you’ve already thought about. Pierre Berton was a huge fan of recycling content, and so am I. In fact, one of my new books borrows heavily from stuff I wrote in high school. With a more mature writing voice, it’s turning into decent stuff.
- Back up everything I would hope this goes without saying, but it happens enough that it warrants mention. Back up to a USB drive, back up to Google Docs, back up to your email. Just do it, and do it often. If you’re tech-savvy, set up so that it does it automatically (and regularly check that the backups are correct!).
- Be your own ruthless editor I like to go through my writing with a red pen, and see just how red I can make the page. Your first draft should look like a crime scene. A tip from Stephen King is that after you’ve gone through editing your first draft, it should be 10% shorter, as you remove the fluff from the substance.
- You’re not F. Scott Fitzgerald, and you don’t have to be Don’t set unreasonable expectations for your stuff. It took a lot of great writers years before they were noticed. Stephen King had been writing since he was a kid, and it was countless articles and stories before he was able to write Carrie. Just keep on writing.