Nov 4, 2015
#1 Way to Keep on Writing
So this does not have a very fun answer. Every time I think about it I wanna throw a book at someone. But I know it's the one and only way to ever get a word in edgewise.
All you do is this:
You sit down and you write.
Or you stand, if you like the standing desks. Or you curl up on the sofa. Either way, you write.
You pick a time, any time that's best for you. You settle in, turn off distractions--phone, internet, and put them as far away from you as possible--open your word processor/notebook, read one page out of a book, and then you put your fingers to the keys and you start writing.
You stare blankly into a yawning abyss of billions of words and you can't find one that makes any sense whatsoever.
And you keep on writing.
It stinks. You think Pinterest will have something to offer in the way of inspiration. But you turned off the internet.
So you keep on writing, plunking each terrible word down, one right after the other.
An odd smell wafts into the air as your writing continues down its path of illegitimacy and synthetic garbage. It's so bad you think checking Twitter will help give you a break and return with a fresh perspective. But your phone's clear on the other side of the house and internet is off.
So you keep.on.writing.
You sit down and you write.
All you do is write. That's what makes you a writer. You don't stop to change words, or dig yourself out of a plot hole. Leave yourself a note in bolded text and move on. You don't stop to wonder if that was the right word choice. You leave yourself a note in italicized text and move on. You don't stop to check a random fact, you leave yourself a note in uppercase text and move on.
Sure, it's the smelliest stuff you've ever written. But you keep on writing.
Then the fear starts kicking in, and the vulnerability of just laying your heart out on a page other people might read, and you'll never be able to write like Maggie Stiefvater, or stir people's souls like L.M. Montgomery, or reduce readers to tears like Markus Zusak. Never.
So you just slip on a hoodie, pull the hood around your head, and blare your music as loud as you can to drown out the voices of defeat and failure. Or you surround yourself with silence. Whatever you wish.
And you just keep on writing.
Because tomorrow, when the book's done and you're editing, those days when nothing seemed to sound right, and the characters were threatening mutiny, some of those bad paragraphs won't be so horrendous after all. And some of the passages you thought were the best stuff you've ever written won't be worth the space they take up. And you won't have to be like Maggie Stiefvater and Elizabeth Wein because you're you. And only you can write the best book you can.
All you do is write. And you keep on writing. Never stop creating.
Tip: Try this app. Time Doser!
How it works: You start the timer and write for 25 minutes. A pretty little strum marks the end and you get a five minute break. Another pretty strum tells you it's time to get back to work and write for another 25 minutes. You do this several times and then you get a longer break of 15 minutes.
I've used it for work and it was amazing for productivity. Simple. Easy to use. Motivating. I liked it because 25 minutes looks far more inviting than an abyss of endless unknown. You can paused and restart any time you like, and you can personalize it for your convenience.
Let's talk! Everyone has different motivations and routines. Do you have any tips or tricks you've learned to keep yourself writing or get you into the writing mode? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Labels: writing tips
K.M. Updike writes young adult and historical fiction and has a frustrating fascination with fantasies that gets in the way a lot. She is the author of the young adult historical fiction novelette, The Life and Death of Terry Dodd. A lover of books and prairies, she lives with her five siblings and inspiring parents in the wilds of the Great Plains. Besides reading books and writing stories, she loves watching old movies and drinking tea in her basement room dubbed "Mole End."