Erica Johnson | February 8, 2011 at 11:30 am | Tags: postaday2011, postaweek2011
Speaking of getting back on track after losing your writing groove, Jamie Wallace of Live to Write – Write to Live recently voiced her frustration with how her personal and professional responsibilities have been imposing on her writing time:
I had intended to get back to journaling…I had meant to get back to work outlining my novel, working on character studies, and creating a fabulously retro “map” of my story using markers, sticky notes, and some very large pieces of paper. But, these intentions were all summarily slaughtered by the demands of my Real Life.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I felt disappointment, anger, and guilt.
But she’s working on giving up the “I don’t have time” excuse by making writing a more routine part of her schedule. She explains, “The beauty of a habit is that you do it almost without thinking. It’s not something that you have to work at; it’s just part of who you are and your life.”
Here are seven tips she shared on how to cultivate effective writing habits:
1. Find, make, or steal writing time
2. Have a purpose
3. Avoid the shoulds
4. Start small
5. Be consistent
6. Measure progress
7. Find your joy
- Why PostAWeek2011 Makes me a Better Writer (aisjournal.com)
- postaweek2011: 30 writing quotes to motivate you (wildwynd.wordpress.com)
- Writing with a Labradoodle (33charts.com)
- Writing habits of the the best writers (psychologytoday.com)
- Writing tip of the day – get past the “magic” of writing (westernthm.wordpress.com)
Stream-of-consciousness exercises are a great way to overcome one of the hardest parts about writing: getting started.
Free writing is a technique that comes in handy when you’re having trouble choosing a topic to write about, or when you can’t manage to make it past that first sentence or two. It’s also an effective way to combat self-critical thoughts and anxiety about deadlines.
Here’s how it works:
First decide how long you want to free write for, then set a timer. Five to ten minutes is a good start, but feel free to challenge yourself with a longer session.
Ready? Go! Don’t prepare anything — just start writing everything that pops into your head, regardless of how nonsensical or bizarre it is. Don’t even bother with grammar and punctuation — just keep your fingers typing, and don’t stop until the timer goes off. (If you find yourself on a roll, by all means, keep writing!)
The final step? Analyze the results.What sentences catch your attention? Did you find a new way to articulate what’s on your mind? Did you remember something funny or interesting? Did you explore a new perspective on an issue?
Remember that free writes don’t have to generate lots of usable content to be valuable. They’re simply intended to help you generate new ideas, organize your thoughts, and get unstuck.
Here’s a ten-minute exercise to get you started. If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!
- Free your writing and the rest will follow (tdhurst.com)
- Best Distraction-Free Writing Application? [Hive Five Call For Contenders] (lifehacker.com)
- Write Space Brings Distraction Free Writing To Chrome (techie-buzz.com)
- Distraction Free Writing (writeanything.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Accidental Genius, by Mark Levy (davefleet.com)