Wednesday, 28 July 2010

5 things to keep you writing (and writing fit)- Linda Strachan

We are rapidly approaching the end of this month's celebration of top fives. So here are my five top things to do to keep you writing when the muse is being difficult.

When you have a new idea you might be bursting with excitement and not able to wait until you can get time to write about it, but then sitting at the desk something terrible happens - NOTHING!  It's probably not 'writer's block', if that indeed exists,  it might just be a little hiccup in your writing.

Okay, it may never have happened to you - but if it does here are some of the things I do to get me back on form and they might help.
1. Clear your desk.

If your desk is clear you can concentrate on writing. I find it can help to clear my mind,leave space for ideas and free up my thoughts.

2. Don't worry about being word perfect - just write

Once you have something written you can go back and work on it, rework and edit it, so don't keep stopping and reworking it might be the thing that is holding you back.  Just start to write and keep on going.  Later you can go back and change things, hone the piece and make it beautiful, and exciting, but not until you have actually written something.

3. Stop your writing in the middle of a sentence or in the middle of action or argument.

This makes it easier to get started again. You will find that you don't have to wind yourself back into the story it is all happening on the page where you left it, and you can step right back in there.

4. Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Not sure if you have any time to write or any ideas?  Why not try this.  Write as much and as fast as you can and don’t go back to correct it or worry about what you are writing, just write anything. You will probably find you are engrossed and happy to continue- if you have the time - but if not stop and have a break and try it again a little later.

5. Recognise when you are too tired to write, or need a break. 

Writing takes energy and it could be you are too tired or that you just need a break from it for a while.

Come to it fresh and it will all seem much better and easier. Try going for a walk or taking any kind of light exercise.  Even just going to the window and breathing in some fresh air can work.

Ideas and plot problems are often resolved by the sub conscious when walking, sleeping or doing other activities

So, what do you do to keep you writing?   Drop by and let us know.

Linda's latest book is Dead Boy Talking pub June 2010  

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catdownunder said...

Housework, cooking, riding my tricycle and other like activities. I do not usually get interrupted while doing these things. (Nobody else wants to do them!) I can write the next bit in my head and then, when I get a chance, I sit down at the keyboard.
I know that will not work for some people but I am used to having to hold considerable amounts of information in my head!

Linda said...

Having a shower. This will be more effective when I can get hold of waterproof paper and pens.

Marie-Louise said...

I have fully embraced the concept of the SFD -Shitty First Draft- as described in Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott). I write it longhand and I don't even try to make it legible as I usually never even read it again. It helps me break down the chapter elements in a basic plodding way so that when I start to type the chapter I suddenly know just where/how to start it; characters suddenly step up to the mark to say things/do things I'm not aware of consciously deciding they should do. The second attempt at the chapter flows...

I'm still new to novel writing (on no.2) and the SFD really helps me unclog, which in turn, gives me one less excuse for avoiding the're describing exactly this idea of just writing, not correcting or trying to write well but it took me a while to appreciate how much movement takes place inside my head when I allow that first draft of a chapter to be complete and utter (but incredibly mind-clearing) crap!

Jan Markley said...

Great post! Today is my clear your desk (and every other table top in the house) day. Then I can operate from a fresh slate. I agree that you have to be well rested to write (and we should recognize that sometimes we're tired and not blocked).

Linda Strachan said...

Wow, cat. I wish I could hold information in my head. Mine is more like swiss cheese so I don't risk it- it's a notebook for me.

Ahh, linda, Waterproof pens and paper- Nigel Tranter used to walk and write and in the rain he apparently used a china graph pencil.

Yes, ML I am well acquainted with the SFD!
and Jan- Hooray! for 'clear my desk day', it should be a national day for writers!

Anonymous said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................