Many writers spend years trying to find the secret to staying on schedule and writing every day.
Writing is more of an art than a science, which makes it hard for us to define it using logic and formulas. Like all art-oriented professions, it requires inspiration and strong interpersonal communications skills.
Inspiration, however, is not always present.
Some of the best writing tips you will ever read include to read a lot, and write a lot.
Here is where the problem lies, many writers are looking for writing tips that are more like hacks.
It is a human fallacy, to do everything we can to find quick fixes. But quick fixes do not take care of the root of the problem.
The problem is self-discipline.
Self-discipline has always been a human weakness.
Today we will cover a few writing tips to guide you to stay on track and develop your self-discipline skills.
Word of caution, no matter how many tips you read, unless you put some effort to implement these writing tips, you will have a hard time staying on track.
1. Free Writing
Our first writing tip is lots of fun if you give it a chance.
Many popular writers swear by this technique. Free writing involves sitting down at a specific time in the day and just writing.
No pre-selected subject or ideas needed.
It should be a stream of consciousness that helps you connect with your mind, and your inner voice. Sometimes, you might end up writing material you can use. Other times you might laugh at yourself.
Free writing improves your ability to write on demand, which is an important skill to have for any writer.
If you are struggling with finding the time to write, set time aside that you would be wasting either way. For example, if you watch TV or spend time on social media more than two hours daily, cut it down to one. Use one hour to connect with your consciousness.
Besides, free writing is therapeutic and reduces anxiety.
At the beginning you might have a hard time putting words down.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Create lists of things you have to do
- Write down all the places you want to visit and why
- Create a marketing campaign for a random company
- Write down a childhood memory
- Think of your favorite song and write a story about the person who wrote it.
There are many ideas, all you need now is to sit down and get started.
Eventually writing daily becomes a habit. Word on the street is that you need 67 days to create a habit.
I remember having to do this a lot while in college.
Edit your work from years ago, or even someone else’s work.
There are many social media groups with writers asking for feedback and someone to beta read their novels.
Volunteer to help someone out. At the same time, feel free to ask someone else to edit your work.
Since the chances of personally knowing these people are low, it makes it extremely easy to give real feedback, without sugarcoating everything.
At the same time, you can ask from other people to give you advice on your work. Being emotionally disconnected from people in these writing groups makes it easier to hear the truth.
Go back and find pieces that you wrote, even published and challenge yourself to completely re write the piece.
Perhaps you can challenge yourself to rewrite a piece from the opposite point of view (if it was an opinion piece).
You can even take any short story out there and change its genre. For example, if you wrote a short horror story, rewrite it and use comedic elements. You get the point here right?
Pushing our minds to rethink and rewrite our own material helps expand our horizons and even fights writer’s block.
5. The Five Things Game
This is one of my personal favorite writing tips and something I constantly use to push my creativity.
I also used this in many writing workshops I have done with children.
I call it the five things game, but it can easily be the four or even eight things game.
Here is the basic principle behind it:
Pick five random objects or people or a combination of these, and create a short story that has to include all objects.
To make it even more fun, take a day and write on small pieces of paper random words. Have a bowl for each category and fill it up with pieces of paper.
- The Bowl of Places (schools, kiosks, hospitals, parks etc)
- The Bowl of People (mother, daughter, cat lady, aunt, sales person, baker etc)
- The Bowl of genre (horror, comedy, romance, thriller etc)
- The Bowl of Things (tables, radio, fridge, utensils etc).
The point is to have four bowls, one for each category. Pick one piece of paper from each category, but the ‘Bowl of Things’ category, feel free to pick more than one.
Then sit down for 20 minutes and connect these objects in a story. Even if it seems weird, don’t stop until all objects have made an appearance in the story at least once.
Remember that the most important step that will keep your writing on track (as well as other areas of your life) is self-discipline.
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius