Browsing Category: Writing Life

How to Improve Even If You Don’t Write Everyday

Engage with your WIP even if you can't write every day with these tips and practices.

You’ll see me say this over and over again: the more you write, the more you’ll improve. I encourage writing every day because writing is a lot like working out, eating healthy, or self-care: Consistency is key. As long you can get to your computer to write every day, even for five minutes, you’ll be helping your writing by leaps and bounds.

But I get it. Writing every single day can be really hard, especially when you have vacations, balancing schedules of kids and spouses, seeing family and friends, and other commitments to balance. Finding five minutes to brush your teeth can be hard!

But the rule still applies: consistency is key.

So you can’t write every day. Can you write five days a week? Three days? Four hours every Saturday?

That’s still golden! You’re still writing, getting yourself in front of your stories, and making yourself a better writer as you go along.

However, even if you don’t write every day, it’s imperative that you still engage with your writing every single day, even if you don’t write or edit.

Today, I’m going into a few ways you can still engage with your writing, your technique, and your creativity every day, even if you can’t sit down in front of your computer.

Read

Duh. I don’t need to tell you this but here it is. Because aside from writing, this is the most important thing you can do. The more you read, the better your writing will be. The better your stories will flow, the more depth your characters will possess, the more dynamic and alive your setting will feel. Because you’ll be taking in someone else’s understanding of words, you’ll be broadening your own.

Listen

Get off your phone! Put it in your pocket or purse and just listen to what’s happening around you. Whether you’re waiting to pick up your kids, waiting to meet a friend at a coffee shop, waiting in line at the doctor’s office, don’t just zone out on Candy Crush. Listen to conversations, sounds the espresso machine makes, the click and clack of heels on linoleum. Listen and file those sounds away. You’re writing will flourish once you can add in that additional sensory piece of what your characters are hearing as they move through their story.

Carry a Notebook With You

I say this a lot too because I can’t stress its importance enough. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. I have a few different ones: on my nightstand, in my purse, on my desk at work. They don’t need to be big, I just use these little composition notebooks and just leave them wherever I think I might need them. Whenever inspiration strikes, I can write it down, rather than forgetting it. Whenever I hear something that I have to include in my next story, I write it down. Whenever I see something or taste something or experience something that I know needs to appear in a story, I’ll write it down.

Seriously. Get thyself some notebooks.

Get Back to Daydreaming

When was the last time you sat and let your mind wander? I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve let myself do this since this year, but every time I do it’s so so so good. By letting your brain daydream, you’re opening yourself up to ideas and stories, even if all you’re imagining is that your boss comes into your office and miraculously grants you a raise. They’ll still help your brain work its creative muscles which will come in handy when you sit down to write.

Think About Your Story…A Lot

Let yourself think about your WIP often. You don’t need to go writing anything down the minute it pops into your brain and you don’t need to restrict yourself to thinking about it only when you’re ready to write. Let yourself dwell on your story, your characters, their motivations, their journey’s. Think about what it must feel like to live where they live, see what they see, eat what they eat. The more you think about it, the more it’ll flow from your fingers when you sit down to write.

Keep Your Inspiration Close By

What inspired you to write this story in the first place? Was it a piece of artwork? A prompt? Something you overheard in conversation? A personal experience? A photograph?

Whatever it is that inspired you, keep it close. Right now I’m writing a story based on a piece of artwork so I have that art piece propped up next to my computer and saved as a lock screen on my phone. I see it all.the.time. It helps me remember why I’m writing this story in the first place, why I love it, and it automatically allows me to take a quick two-second jaunt into the world of my story so my brain can keep the story gears turning.

Observe Stories in Your Daily Life

Whether it’s in books, newspapers, magazines, tv shows, movies, even pamphlets, there are stories everywhere and we engage with them every single day. Begin to notice how the authors tell those stories. What information do they withhold from the very end? What do they tell the reader right off the bat? What are the characters like? How does the story become believable and beloved? Become a student of good stories and your writing will automatically get better.

I hope these tips help! You can still improve your writing even if you don’t physically write every single day. Take heart and know your story will always be waiting for you, even if you can only meet it once a week.

Cheers!

 



8 Things I’ve Learned from Writing This Blog

I started the Lexicon Writing Blog a year ago with one main goal: I wanted to get myself writing again. It occurred to me that I could write about writing, so over a few months, the idea of the Lexicon Writing Blog rolled around in my head until May 21, 2016, when I pressed publish on the blog’s first ever post: May’s Writing Prompts.

Little did I know what was in store for me once I pushed that button. Continue Reading

Random Places to Find Inspiration

Use this list when you're completely stuck. You'll be inspired in no time!

Ah, inspiration. The unicorn-like state every writer craves for intense writing and motivation. It’s hard to chase and even harder to catch. Especially if you’re suffering from any number of writerly hang-ups.

I’ve talked before on writer’s block, motivation, and how to take advantage of inspiration when it strikes, but today I wanted to write a shorter post on some random places you can look for inspiration. Continue Reading

Organizing Your Story Ideas

If you were to ask me right now how many projects I was working on, I’m not sure I could give you a straight answer. It just brings up too many questions.

Questions like:

  • What qualifies as a “project”?
  • Are you asking about what projects I’m actively writing right now?
  • What about projects I’m editing?
  • What about projects I’ve outlined, and keep meaning to write, and think about almost constantly, but haven’t actually started writing any scenes for yet?
  • What about the novel I wrote a few years ago that I keep meaning to go back and edit?

The answers to these questions could change my answer from one project to four.

And that doesn’t even include all the other ideas I have for stories that I want to write, but just haven’t had the bandwidth to sit down with yet.

Inspiration can be a time suck. And I don’t got time for that!

At least, most of the time when I’m focusing on any of those one-to-four projects I have going on.

And those little story ideas can certainly make my one-to-four projects seem less shiny…so what is any overstimulated, idea machine author supposed to do with all these ideas floating around in their head?

The answer to this is simple and should come as no surprise: write it down.

Duh. We’re writers, aren’t we?

But. But.

It’s important to also organize these ideas so that you can come back to them. Someday you’ll want to write that novel or combine a few ideas into one book, or base a short story off a certain memory.

So an organization system helps. And you all know how much I love organizing.

So I’ve rounded up a few techniques to best organize your growing story collection. Pick one that works for you, and let the ideas flow in!

Without the overwhelm and distraction for your one-to-four projects.

  • 3×5 Cards in a cute box
  • A Google Drive document that is constantly updated
  • An Excel worksheet
  • A big piece of posterboard covered in:
    • Post it notes
    • Stickers
    • 3×5 cards
    • Drawings
    • Notebook paper
  • A notebook dedicated only to new story ideas
  • A section in your planner
  • A secret Pinterest board
  • A private WordPress.com blog where you can flesh out your story ideas
  • A small jar of pieces of paper, each with a different story idea
  • A filing cabinet with a folder for each idea

Really, the possibilities are endless…find the system that works for you and call it good!