At this point in my writing career, there isn’t much writing advice out there that I haven’t heard or read. Which is not to say that I am an expert at implementing everything there is to know about writing, by any means. Far from it. Really far from it, some days. But it’s almost unheard of for me to read a post on writing process or craft and think, I’ve never heard/tried/read that! Sometimes, though, I find that I just need to be reminded of tips and strategies that I already KNOW are good ideas . . . I’ve just somehow lost track of them along the way. So here are two of my favorite tips on writing that I just this past month have needed to take out and dust off and re-learn all over again.
1. The 20 Minute Win. Life gets crazy for all of us. It’s often hard to find time to write, period, but in my current season of life it’s hard for me to find time to write first thing in the morning before the demands of the day need my attention. And yet if I can get my head into the story first thing in the morning before having to think about anything else . . . it helps SO much with being able to keep the story simmering in the back of my mind throughout the day. Which means that I’m ready and able to jump on any pockets of time I have to just sit down at the keyboard and WRITE. So I need to remind myself of the 20 minute win. Or even the 15 or 10 minute win. If I can get just that short amount of time right away, first thing. . just write a few hundred words . . . It’s not a full workday by any means– which can feel discouraging, because it’s easy to think, Oh, I’m only going to get a few minutes, why bother? But those few minutes will make my overall workday so much more successful.
2. Change Your Language, Change Your Life. I think we can all agree that words and stories are powerful– otherwise we wouldn’t bother with writing them, right? But I sometimes need to stop and remember that the stories I’m telling myself about my writing are as powerful as the ones I put down on the page. This can be as simple as owning the statement, “I’m a writer,” as Erika Liodice touched on in her fabulous recent post. Or for example I used to tell anyone who asked about my process, “I can only write in the morning. I have to write in the morning.” Well, who said that was the case? I did. I was literally creating my own limitations. At this point, writing late in the day still isn’t my favorite, but I can do it– and it’s far preferable to the words never getting written at all.
What about you? What writing truths do you periodically need to re-learn?