Wednesday 14 August 2019

25 Tips for Writers by Lynne Benton

At a recent retreat with fellow-writers, one session involved us coming up with tips we had found useful in our writing lives.  The suggestions were many and varied, so I thought I would mention them here, in case they prove useful to others.  Even if you have heard some of them before, it never hurts to hear them again, and some of them may give you new ideas.

Set yourself achievable goals.

2 Walking is great for sorting things in your head.

3 Avoid Social Media until after you have done your work for the day!

4 Keep fan letters to remind yourself how much people enjoy your work.

5 Collect inspiring things around you.

6 Eat plenty of chocolate!        

7 Don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t change.

8 Keep a work diary to show how much you have actually achieved every day/week.  (Also include non-work that is also part of your job, such as meetings with agents or other authors, school visits, tax returns etc.)

9 Fake enthusiasm, even if you don’t feel it!

10 Keep going, no matter how slowly.

11 Writing can help you through difficult times, eg divorce, bereavement.

12 Re-read an old book of yours to remind yourself how good you are!

13 Shut the door!  Protect your working space.   

 14 Try to recapture the joy.

15 Anything that helps your writing, do more of it.  Anything that doesn’t help, do less of it.

16 Learn to listen.

17 If things are going badly, tell yourself “This too will pass.”

18 Keep to a writing routine, eg start writing at 9.30 on the dot.

19 Accept any writing-based offers.

20 List three positive things that happen each day.

21 Make a “business morning” once a week to deal with all business matters.  Don’t feel you have to reply to everyone instantly.

22  Learn to accept praise!  If someone praises you and/or your work, don’t say “Oh well, it’s only…”  Just smile and say, “Thank you.”

23 Praise other people’s work – everyone needs appreciation!  Tell them how much you enjoyed their book/write a review of it on Amazon.

24 Think positive.

25 Don't give up!


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Stewart Ross said...

Love it, Lynne. But 9.30?? Best part of (writing) day gone by then. Isn't the solitary P & Q of 5-7 am the writer's golden time?

Nick Garlick said...

I like Number 12. Reminding myself that I HAVE done it before can definitely help.

Stroppy Author said...

Definitely, Stewart. And if you start at 4 you can do 6 hours by 10...
I challenge the label of invoices, tax, talking to agent etc as 'non-work'. It's the most normal-worky bit we do!

Rowena House said...

Great list, Lynne. Will adopt several of your suggestions. I think I'd add blogging about writing for ABBA helps to keep it real when, really, one's writing dreams are self-evidently unrealistic.

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks for reminding me of this long list, Lynne. Am closing the workroom door now.

I've always admired those very early morning routines, Stewart & Anne, but they don't fit with my life or people.

Lynne Benton said...

Thanks for your comments, folks. I guess whoever suggested 9.30 for beginning their writing day had other stuff to do first - can't remember who it was. And Stroppy Author, you're quite right that invoices, tax etc. is definitely work - I think I mis-translated "non-writing" as "non-work". Sorry about that. I found all the suggestions interesting, anyway, and I'm glad some of you did too.

Ann Turnbull said...

Yes, I agree with all these, Lynne, except the closed door - which sounds sensible but I think I probably suffer from mild claustrophobia. Anyway the cat would object.

Lynne Benton said...

Yes, Ann, I suspect the person who suggested that one had small children rather than cats in mind!

Steve Way said...

Brilliant reminders Lynne... I'm off to buy some more chocolate!!