Writing can be a lonely old business. Sometimes it feels like little more than shouting at the sky . A big part of writing is perseverance. A bigger part is confidence and having enough of it to see me through the moments when writing seems like a terrible way to spend my days. Here are seven tips that keep me working even when I feel I’m wasting my time.
I read as much as I possibly can. I read within my genre to see how it’s done, make notes of what moves me and how, make notes of what leaves me cold and why. I read outside your genre to spark my ideas and give me the ever elusive inspiration. If I’m struggling I find local newspapers have the quirkiest stories that demand that I ask ‘why?’
Even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Write about why I don’t want to. I whinge, wail, write all the things I can’t say. If nothing else I feel less furious, plus despite myself, I’ve written something.
Grammar helps my reader understand what I am trying to say. All those annoying rules are signposts that help them hear the tone I hope to create and read at the pace I intend. I’m surrounded by poorly written content on enthusiastic blogs and it’s easy to think grammar is outdated. It’s not. It’s what makes quality work stand out.
- Use “How to” guides
There are dozens I’ve dipped in and out of but these are three I return to.
The Creative Writing Coursebook Julia Bell
Writing Down the Bones Natalie Goldberg
and latterly How to be a Poet Jo Bell and Jane Commane.
These three give me a good balance of step-by-step guide, a little bit of hand-holding and a decent amount of “just get on and write.”
- Talk to other writers
I’ll admit I struggled with this. I’m a solitary soul and the thought of discussing my work with peers filled me with horror. I took part in an online workshop at the start of this year and can honestly say I gained as much from that hour as I did from six months of formal study. The wealth of knowledge and generosity in sharing that knowledge within the writing community is a wonderful thing. I’m gradually getting more involved with writing groups online and am even venturing out to a Poetry Breakfast at a local bookshop. A big step for me, but I know it’ll be beneficial. I might even enjoy myself!
- Write anywhere and everywhere.
I love stationery and I have many beautiful notebooks. I never have one with me when I need it. Hospital waiting rooms are my current favourite writing space. Lots of time, lots of people and no internet. Perfect. I have numerous scribblings on the backs of receipts that are the basis of some of my favourite pieces.
No, this isn’t a brain fog moment. It really is the most valuable thing I do to support my work.
There we have it. Seven writing tips that keep me moving forward. Now it’s time to get on with a bit more work. I should have news of competitions and submissions by next week, so watch this space!
Thank you for reading, as ever please like, share,shout from the rooftops it all helps.