Fresh Writing Tips To Keep You Motivated
It’s important to keep rejuvinating your creative ideas, particularly if you want to keep the ball rolling with writing that book. Unburden yourself of the sludge of everyday life and rediscover your love of words. Here are our fresh writing tips…
1. Tidy desk, tidy mind
No matter how much you profess it’s “organised chaos”, the truth is, your ideas will have far more clarity with a tidy workspace. Strip it down to the essentials you need to get some writing done and get rid of everything else.
2. End the day mid-flow
“The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Whether you’re a planner or a panster it’s vital that you end the day excited about, or at least knowing, what’s to come next. This increases your productivity for the following day and lessens the time spent staring into the abyss.
Two fresh writing tips: bullet point what’s coming next AND don’t edit it straight away – let it settle.
3. Become an active reader
Reading informs your writing. Have to hand a pack of small tab post-it notes and mark moments in a book that strike you. Perhaps a crime writer managed to make your heart skip a beat, or is there a particular image that you want to hold on to? – Bookmark it.
It’s also a good idea to look through your own journals and mark anything of interest. This also helps clear out any notebooks that don’t hold anything useful.
4. Keep a diary
A lot has been written on the creative benefits of keeping a diary. It can help you get rid of all the personal stuff that can get in the way of your story. This, or maybe a dream log, will help make writing a daily routine.
Fresh writing tips: don’t self-edit as you write AND don’t hold back. It will give you useful insights into how to create stream of consciousness writing and also an informal tone.
5. Try a new writing tool or format
Does writing up your manuscript on Word fill you with dread? Why not try some software like Scrivener specifically designed for writers? It’s a great way to quickly access different sections or chapters of your novel without having to do all that scrolling!
6. Nail down your characters
Can you attach one word to each character that epitomizes them? Okay, we’ll let you have a few words. For example, in E Lockhart’s novel We Were Liars, the narrator in the book actually sums people up in phrases…
“Johnny, he is bounce, effort, and snark. […] Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity, and rain. […] Gat seemed spring-loaded. Like he was searching for something. He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.”
– E Lockhart
This narrative device helps communicate each character distinctly to the reader. Try doing so with your characters, what do you come up with?
Fresh writing tips: Think in terms of the senses: what colour are they, what do they smell of? Also, building mood boards can be helpful at building authentic characters.
7. Experiment with perspective
You won’t know what works best for your novel until you try. For example, what happens if you write a scene from the antagonist’s point of view? Would switching to third person narration allow you to explore the plot more?
Are you someone that can’t stand being still for too long? Many authors have turned to speaking their writing into a Dictaphone. This can be useful if you find it easier to say your thoughts rather than write them down.
If you stick to writing down your story, remember to always speak your words aloud to check it sounds fluent and believable. This is particularly essential for dialogue.
9. Think Visual
After you’ve tidied up your work area, why not transform it into a visual den. Pin up any images or quotes you find that boost your inspiration and keep you on track.
Why not have a chart of your plot within eyesight? This will help you know exactly what’s coming next and help you find the right pace for individual scenes.
10. Don’t think about the reader
“But I need to think about the target market and what they want,” we hear you cry. Truth is, you should write what you’re happy writing. Don’t force something out just because it’s a current trend, because ultimately you won’t write it well and probably by the time you do, it will be as old-hat as Loom Bands.
By all means take inspiration from books who might share the same readers as your own, but don’t make it the focus of your writing. After all, this the creative bit – don’t get bogged down by the marketing yet!
Fresh writing tips: use your instincts. For example, if you write something that makes your skin tingle with excitment, chase it.
Remember, it’s okay to hit a snag. Some days are meant for eating leftover Christmas chocolate or retail therapy. The important thing is that you DO come back to dealing with it.
If you don’t want your burst of enthusiasm to melt away, be decisive. Either move on to a section you’re more excited to write and put the problem area aside, or set about tackling it.
We’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Margaret Atwood…
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”