We all want to be the best writers we can be, and I’m sure a lot of you will have your tips and tricks that you employ to make your writing the best it can be. I certainly have my little habits and tricks that I use to make the most of my time, make editing that little bit easier, and reduce the pressure that I put myself under to turn out a project on time.
In this blog, I want to run through some of my current favourite tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way and share them with you.
Tip 1: Use dead time
Make use of ‘dead time’. I have to commute via train to our city office three days a week; this means spending a good half an hour each way sitting on a train three days every week! I get a surprising amount of writing done in this time and have had some of my best ideas sitting on the train or in the station.
Take a look at your day, when are you waiting? When are you not doing anything? You really can find the time to write if you look hard enough, even if it’s only ten-fifteen minutes.
Tip 2: Set up a routine
Set up a routine and stick to it. I’ve set aside some time on the days when I don’t commute to write. That way I make a little progress each day. It doesn’t matter how many words you write, one word or one hundred words, a little bit every day is all that matters. A good way to stick to these routines is to set up a visual aide. I’ve got a normal calendar with birthdays, doctors appointments and days when I’m taking over the world; but I’ve also got a separate calendar that’s just for writing. On this calendar, I note the evenings I will write and put some of my goals up.
Tip 3: Writing is not the be all and end all
Don’t let it be the be-all-and-end-all of everything. Some days you just won’t produce more than a couple of words. But don’t beat yourself up over it. Bad days happen, they suck, but you need to let them go. Do not focus on your failings, keep positive.
Tip 4: Set realistic goals
Set realistic goals. Don’t try to finish your book in a week, be realistic, small and manageable. But be specific as well. Maybe try the goal of churning out one or two chapters a week. Then on top of that set the goal to improve a specific aspect of your book each month, e.g., characterization, setting, etc.
Tip 5: Reward yourself
Reward yourself for reaching these goals. If at the end of each week and month I’ve reached my goals then I give myself a treat. Usually, I buy myself a book … of Chinese food for dinner. I’m pretty easy to please.
Tip 6: Be social
Keep in touch with other writers. Join an online writing community and make a point of checking in at these every day/ every other day. You will find a great deal of inspiration and support talking with people who have the same goals and problems as you do.
Tip 7: Use your reader’s senses.
I see things, I smell things, and I hear things, possibly my readers do also. This is a sure fire way to connect your reader to what is happening on your page! Let your reader experience your story through all of their sense, not just one or two.
Tip 8: Description is essential
But don’t overdo it, your readers will get bored! Use a few strong descriptive words to describe the tree, don’t drown your readers in how many shades of varying brown the bark is, chances are they don’t care.
Tip 9: Read your work aloud to yourself
Hearing it aloud will help you pick up poor word choices, bad rhythm, and ill sounding phrases.
Tip 10: Keep a notebook (or a Dictaphone) handy at all times
Inspiration often strikes in unexpected places, such as the bathtub.
FIRST BONUS TIP!
Use simple natural language.
No one wants to stop reading to get the dictionary.
SECOND BONUS TIP!
Copy editing is a gift from God, use it.
If habits make the man, then make your habits good ones.
In conclusion, use all your time, if you’ve got a long commute then use it to edit or make notes or even draft something depending on your time. Set a routine and try to stick to it, but don’t get too upset if you slip now and then, after all, you’re only human. Make sure your writing goals are realistic, wanting to churn out a novel in a week, yeah that’s not the most realistic goal. When you reach those goals reward yourself, give yourself a pat on the back you’ve earned it. Lastly, the community helps, talk to other writers, you’ll pick up hints and tips, good habits and be able to support each other.
Well, those are my personal favourite tips, I hope you find them helpful and please share if you’ve got your tips and tricks that are not listed.
Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!