Keep Plotting and Write On

How to Write More – A Tip Sheet

Recently, I shared some tips with you about how to read more and why. Today, I hope to inspire you to write more. As with anything else, the more you write, the better you get. I’m not going to fill you with a bunch of bull by telling you how regular writing will change your life and that you’ll spring out of bed everyday just to write if you follow my tips. Reading can do that. However, if you burn to write, but just can’t seem to get in a groove, my advice might help.

How to Write More – A Tip Sheet

  1. Know who you’re writing to – if you’re a new novelist, you may think you want to reach the broadest audience you can with your story. To do this, you feel you’ve got to write to everyone. This can make the plot and characters move off in too may directions, leaving loose ends and frustrated readers in their wake. A novel that intrigues forty-something career women won’t necessarily appeal to single females in their early twenties. Accept this fact. The faster you do, the more you’ll write because you’ll have better focus.
  2. Write first – write in the morning when you’re fresh and before you do anything else. If you’re not a “morning person”, it’s still morning when you finally get out of bed – even it that’s at noon. Brush your teeth, grab a cup of coffee, tea, Jack Daniels (whatever it takes) and start writing. You can set a timer, so you don’t write too long and get to work late or forget to take the dog for his walk.
  3. The world is your story – as a crime writer, I get ideas and plot lines for stories from all sorts of sources. One of my favorites is true crime. Real life situations and predicaments can give you all sorts of “juice” for creative stories and interesting characters. When you feel a little stale, turn on the news or listen in on a conversation or two at the coffee shop. You might come across an idea that turns your writing on full blast for a time.
  4. Figure out what fuels you and prompts you to write – for some writers, it’s sadness or melancholy that gets them going. Others find that travel sets their writing on fire. Some writers get their inspiration during exercise or even meditation. Find what fuels your writing bug, so that you’ll know when to have something handy to write on.
  5. Take your writing everywhere – always carry something with you for jotting down ideas and fleeting inspirations. Whether it’s an iPad, a smartphone, or old-fashioned pen and notepad, it’s a good idea to have something handy to store the snippets of stories and plot lines that creep (or jump) into your creative writer’s brain unannounced. Then when you get home, you can sit right down and expound on the great idea. There’s nothing worse than having a fantastic story idea and forgetting it before you get to a place where you can record it. (Ask me how I know.)
  6. Write when your mind is open – you can write without thinking about your book when your mind is open and ready to wander. That’s a great time and a great way to sort things out. Just don’t forget what you figured out.

I’m going to close with some writing advice quotes from some famous writers:

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long hour with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. ~ George Orwell

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. ~ Robert Frost

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~ Ray Bradbury

There’s nothing to writing. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

A word after a word after a word is power. ~ Margaret Atwood

You’ve seen the signs around that say, “Keep calm and carry on”. I’ve seen this on coffee mugs, t-shirts, and bumper stickers to name a few. I have my own iteration of that seemingly ubiquitous quotation: keep plotting and write on.

How do you keep writing? Please share your own tips and advice with me.

Image credit: marsmet474


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