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 I’m surrounded by poorly written content on enthusiastic blogs and it’s easy to think grammar is outdated.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.
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.”
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.