Writing projects of any length can feel daunting. I’ve talked about how hard it can be to write long writing projects here. The whole process can feel overwhelming and whilst it can be difficult to start a project, it is often harder to finish it. And finishing it does not mean writing the last word, breathing a sigh of relief, pressing save on the document, and patting yourself on the back. Finishing it also includes editing the work for grammar and style several times over.
I do not claim to have all the answers when it comes to writing. I think anyone who partakes in creative activities like writing, drawing, and composing can struggle with creative flow, determination, and staying-power. Acknowledging that these struggles exist and that no one is exempt from them is actually part of solving the problem. Once you know that you will have rough days (and you will have rough days) means that you can prepare yourself for them. Here are some of my foolproof tips for writing, whether you are typing out your first novel, or getting that essay for school finished.
- WRITE EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD. I give myself this advice all the time and it can be really hard to follow. Writing even when it’s hard means that you need to hold yourself accountable. If you only write when you feel like the sun is in the right position, or when inspiration strikes you, you will almost never write. Trust me. Whereas if you always make time to write no matter what mood you are in, writing will become a habit. It will become second nature and you will learn to write through the good times and the bad times.
- WRITE IN SPRINTS. Referring to the previous point, if you struggle with writing and motivation then write in small bursts. Writing sprints are going to change your life and they are extremely simple. Set a timer for 15mins and start to write. Don’t check your phone, turn off the internet if you can, and just write. When the timer goes off you can give yourself a 5-10 minute break. Once the break is over start all over again. You’ll find that you might need to do these sprints a few times, but at some point you might find yourself getting annoyed at the timer going off. You might even find yourself writing through your break.
- MIND MAPS AND LISTS ARE YOUR FRIEND. If you feel overwhelmed about how to start writing then mind maps and lists can be a game changer. Mind Maps and lists are often thought of as a bit childish, but they can be extremely useful in helping you get your ideas sorted. Start with a key word or topic and build from there. You will learn what you want to focus on and it will help you filter out what isn’t part of your narrative.
- GET A PHYSICAL NOTEBOOK. Putting actual pen on paper can be great. There are several studies that show writing activates your brain in ways that typing does not. When you feel stuck try writing out your ideas. This helps me a lot and I always make sure I have a small notebook with me so I can jot down ideas or quotes that I feel will help inspire me. Fun fact, a lot of my blog posts start out as scribbled ideas in a tattered notebook that has travelled the world with me. Also, why not give yourself an excuse to buy a new fancy notebook?
- GET YOURSELF A WRITING BUDDY. When all else fails, find yourself someone you can write with. They do not need to be working on the same project as you, but it will help you keep focused and stay motivated. You can also take it in turns to read each other’s drafts and you’ll have a tea/coffee buddy.
Writing is no easy task. Find what works for you and run with it. Never give up and remember that the good days and bad days will come and go. The one thing that should remain consistent is your writing.
These are my tips and tricks for writing, which have come from years of practice and learning things the hard way. How do you write? How do you stay motivated? As always, share the reading love.