Some quick things I’ve learned about writing so far (and which help me):

  1. Do whatever you need to do to remain excited by your writing. If you’re excited you will never have writers block. For me this sometimes means reading my work aloud, editing, writing an unrelated chapter, going back and reviewing dialogue, doing google maps of locations / research so as to really dive deep into setting and atmosphere. This leads on to the next one.
  2. If you’re in the middle of writing something, be it a short story or novel, ensure that you are involved in your work every single day. Most writers encourage you to write every day at a specific time. However I haven’t got to that point yet. But in saying this, I have realised that I need to be engaged in what I’m writing about all of the time. This of course includes writing the story forward, but could include editing, it also includes thinking (over thinking, let’s be honest) and planning, and asking yourself questions on what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Some of the times I’ve felt the worst about my writing have been overcome with a tid-bit of an epiphany or a development I hadn’t anticipated which has thrown me back into enjoying my work and being inspired to continue. This wouldn’t have happened if I was distracted or had forgotten about what I was writing about.
  4. Always read your work aloud to yourself. If you can’t say what you’ve written, someone else probably can’t read it (as we often read in an internal voice much like talking). If you imagine yourself successful and on book tours, you’re going to have to read your work. So to practice saying what you’ve written not only develops your voice, but also aids in understanding the rhythm of your sentences and in writing words that can actually be read.
  5. Fuck the rules. Some of the best books I’ve read defy convention. Many will say you need to know the rules to break them. Fuck that too. Write your story how you want. If it’s an interesting story, interesting character, then people will read and enjoy. Editors or agencies can work out if your punctuation needs amendment before publishing. This then throws back to the earlier thingo. If you can read your work aloud and it sounds good and is easy to read and doesn’t become monotonous. If you can read your work and see others are hanging on your words. Then BANG. You’ve got it. Punctuation and grammar and whatever else doesn’t really matter. Some of the worlds most famous authors defied convention. I mean Moby Dick was initially criticised because it was believed the narrator died at the end – and back then, the narrator had to be a character in the book and involved in the story somehow and could not have died – as otherwise how are you reading the book? Obviously that rule is out the window these days! 
  6. Focus on getting your story down and remain excited about it. Be selfish and do what you need to be happy with your writing. For if you allow yourself to be continually disappointed, you’ll drop off and the story will never be told and you’ll stop writing. And no successful author became successful by not writing. 
  7. If you’re not interested in writing a piece, character or narrative and have serious writers block, maybe you should move on with writing or doing something different. Go for a walk. Kick a ball. See friends. See a movie. Read. Or start writing whatever you feel like writing in that moment.
  8. If it’s meant to stay in your writing you will want to come back to it. If you don’t and you’re finding that you’re trying too hard, manipulating things too much, or it feels like the story is pushing back on you, maybe get rid of / cut that part of the story or character.
  9. Never give up. Because the next time you write, the next time you think of what you could do, the next person you talk to about your writing, could be the exact thing you needed to overcome the hurdle you were facing. 

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