The irony of it having been over two weeks since my last blog is not lost on me as I make this statement: Writing on a regular basis is crucial to being a good writer.
There was a loss of steam with my novel, and writing in general, starting a few weeks back. A big part of it was some mental trouble I had with how to handle changes to a certain character. Then I got sick, and was not motivated to do much of anything but sleep.
Now I’m back. I’ve worked through my character problems and expelled most of my winter demons, but ramping my way back into writing is difficult. With every break taken from writing, it is harder to return to the practice. The longer the break, the more foreign the act seems. I’ve talked about this before in my post on How to Finish Your First Draft, but the importance of consistent writing applies no matter what draft you’re on.
When editing, you may spend less time writing and more time cutting, but you must still find ways to write. You just might need a second project to fulfill this writing requirement.
To keep up your skills, many people turn to daily prompts. I participate (though not daily) in #vss365 on twitter, which provides a new word prompt every day of the year. The challenge of creating a meaningful story with so few characters strengthens both your writing and editing chops, and I highly recommend it.
Just search for “writing prompts” and you’ll find an endless supply of sites and blogs to help.
Thinkwritten has this list of 365 prompts that you could choose from in your own order for the year.
There are just as many books available to help jump start the writing mind. If you’re already going to the book store, you can find books filled with writing prompts or read a few book jackets to give you some ideas.
Reading on a regular basis will also keep your writing brain going. Always have a book with you. Write down ideas as you read and flesh them out later.
BLOGS and SHORT STORIES:
You have the freedom to write anything, not just something you want to polish and publish. Have some throw away content that you write just to keep writing. Write a short story. Who knows, it could be something you submit to a short story contest or to a magazine.
Write a blog. Having this blog as an outlet helps me divert my attention when I’m not quite in my stride with the novel, but it keeps my fingers moving and words flowing. That is a tremendous help when I return to my book. Any wall that was there before has been torn down, or stairs have been built to help me reach the top.
Keep writing. On the days when you dread it, doubt everything, and can’t stand to look at the blank screen, WRITE! You’ll never feel bad about having taken the time to write something. It may be gibberish. It may be trash, but it’s progress. It is a foundation on which the next words can build. It is a gateway to new ideas. It is a lesson in what failed and what great things can come from resiliency and perseverance.
Send links to your favorite prompt sites or to books that help you stay creative and productive. Send links to your blogs too!
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