By Shelley Widhalm
Every writer I meet has their top tips for writing and the rules they live by to make sure they write, both in the sense of discipline and inspiration.
Writing takes both, because there has to be a little bit of the spark, as well as the willingness to show up and do the work. There are times, I’ve had ideas but put them on hold, because I was busy, tired or overwhelmed. I didn’t want to write.
But there also have been times when I made myself write, finding that once I got started, I had something to say. I got to work and got results, even though, at first, I wasn’t sure I had something to say.
With time and practice, writing can become a habit, something that becomes routine.
To make writing that habit:
- Write as much as you can, setting a writing quota with daily, weekly or monthly goals, such as writing three to four times a week. For example, make it a goal to write for two hours or 1,000 words in a session.
- Get rid of distractions and the inner critic, which can keep you from writing by serving as excuses to not write or to invite in writer’s block.
- Don’t wait for inspiration, because the more you practice writing, the easier it is for words and ideas to come to you.
- Have more awareness, using all of the senses when making observations.
- Cherish silence even in noisy environments to let the words come.
- Think about where your writing wants to go, realizing that you’re not in total control of it. Trust your subconscious to make connections your conscious mind isn’t ready to or won’t necessarily be able to make.
- Realize that rough or first drafts aren’t perfection on the first try. As you write, the story or message unfolds and isn’t readily formed until it’s written. Get the sentences down, then revise and revise again.
- Accept that writing is supposed to be hard.
- Focus on the process instead of the results. Enjoy that process.
- And, last but not least, read. Reading makes you a better writer.