Writing is never easy. And there is no easy way out: it requires planning, a lot of time, and even more will power. Whether you write for school assignments, your job, or for fun, the struggles are universal. Motivation is the biggest issue for most writers, myself included. I look at the task at hand and immediately put it in the I-can’t-be-bothered-to-do-this-right-now-…-ooh-look-there’s-some-chocolate pile. Sometimes there isn’t anything I can do except ride the demotivational wave to the shores of get-stuff-done. But it’s not all doom and gloom. I have found some pretty helpful tips that help me stay on track and finish. Today, I’d like to share some with you.
Writing Sprints are my kind of exercise. Set a up a timer (I usually go for 15-20mins) and write like crazy! After the time goes off, have a 10 minute break then get straight back into writing. This is really good for when you need to write really long pieces and you are feeling demotivated. It’s also great because it keeps you focused and gives your eyes and brain a rest on a regular basis.
Always plan. Always. Whether it’s an essay, blog post, or the next Game of Thrones series, plan. I like to write my plot/arguments on post-its, that way I can change the order of the layout by simply moving over a post-it. I am also a huge fan of a mind map when I am coming up with writing ideas. It helps you get all your ideas out and allows you to really decide what is important for your story. Planning will also help you later when you need to edit, because you will have already done some of the hard yards.
The best way to perfect your writing style is to see how other people write. It can also help you find your own style/niche. How do you do that? Read and research, my two favourite R’s. Reading is great (I think if you’re following this blog you’ll agree that’s a given) and it allows you to see what is current and what are the holes in the market and how you can fill them. Reading and research will help you plan better, which will help you sprint-write like the literary version of Usain Bolt.
Editing is always difficult. It requires patience and an eye for detail. If you’re writing things for a school assignment check the referencing style you are required to use. MLA and Chicago, for example, have editing and layout guides. If you are editing a story you want to show a publisher, check out their websites because they often have details about their editing and layout preferences (follow these like your life depends on it!). The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a really great starting point for writing style, technique, and grammar. It has become a bible of sorts for me. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get friends, family, the neighbour, and/or a teacher to look over your work if you have doubts about your editing. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can work wonders!
Did you find these writing tips helpful? How do you stay motivated to write? I would love to hear from you. Remember to share the reading love.