It’s that time of year, again, when many of us set a goal to write.
Maybe it’s to finally get that writing project finished, come up with fresh ideas or experiment with something new.
Maybe it’s simply to write more and see what happens.
Whatever your dream, there are lots of ways to get down the words you desire this year in a way that fits in with your lifestyle.
Connect with your writing
If you’re starting something new, don’t be afraid of the blank page. Think of it as an opportunity. Fill those pages, even if what comes out isn’t great at first. The words can always be edited later. The most important thing is to connect with what you’re trying to write by getting into it. Inspiration comes when your pen is moving, not when it’s in the drawer.
If you’re part-way through a writing project, take the opportunity to reconnect with it now we’re into the New Year. Take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Remember why you started, why this is important to you. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve had to spend time apart. Simply recommit and move on.
Going forward, try to write a little most days to stay connected to what you’re writing. If you’re short on time, take a few moments to re-read what you wrote last, jot down a few ideas, capture the bones of what’s next or jot down a paragraph. It’s these little, regular connections that will keep your story fresh in your mind in between fuller writing session. It’ll keep your mind ‘writing’ when you’re away from your mission whether you’re at work, walking about or even washing the dishes.
Think of your writing as your friend. Have a cup of tea with your characters and your ideas often. Dream. Go on adventures together.
Bypass your inner-procrastinator
If you’re finding it a challenge to get started, you may find Mel Robbins’ #fivesecondrule is the kick-into-action you need. Check out the simple but effective technique here. I hope it’s as effective for you as it’s been for me.
You could also trick your inner procrastinator by telling it you’ll just write for 15 minutes or you’ll just get down a paragraph or two and see where it leads. By the time you’ve got there, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the flow and in the mood to keep writing.
Enhance creativity through journalling
If you want a sense of progress, and to make a sense of where you’re going with your writing, keeping a writing journal is brilliant. It allows you to explore your ideas, experiment and air your frustrations.
The best thing about a journal is that it won’t judge you, criticise you or tell you what to do. It’ll just help you make progress by giving you space to discover a little more about yourself and your writing every day. Plus, it’s so satisfying to look back to old pages and realise how far you’ve come.
Write more with paper and pen
Many of us are chained to our screens these days. We can end up using them for everything, including our writing. But sometimes, if an idea’s just not coming, or progress seems blocked, switching to pen and a notebook, or even a piece of paper, could unleash your creativity.
It’s amazing how the free space of a page can open you up. You can write wherever you want, in any direction. You can scribble all over your thoughts and connect ideas in a way that’s trickier on screen. You can spread all the pages around the room too, giving perspective.
Putting pen to paper is also a great way of warming up for a writing session. Even if you’re doodling on the page, you’re getting your writing muscle moving and ready to take action.
Indulge in writing flings
Have you ever felt fed up of your writing project or like giving up entirely? The problem might not be your project. It might be that you’ve spent too much time together and so you just can’t see a way forward.
In this situation, consider what will recharge your creative batteries and reignite you. Maybe it’s a walk outside, tea with a writing friend or a trip somewhere you’ve never been.
You could also try dabbling with other writing tasks on the side. Doing this enables you to keep writing but applying it in other ways, allowing you to return to your main project with perspective at a later time. Poetry or flash fiction is particularly great for this as you can write a variety of things alongside your writing project, not just when you’ve hit a wall, keeping you fresh and stimulating new ideas.
Flash fiction is something I really got into after taking part in the ‘Fantastic Flashing’ course from Retreat West recently. I was given a host of visual prompts and inspiring words which I return to when I want to create something new. Some have even led to fresh angles for my novel.
Enjoy a diet of great reads
Reading is excellent for keeping you inspired. Great books, poetry, screenplays, or whatever you read, are the ultimate writing teachers. Read works that inspire you to write great things, content that will inform you, pages that will stimulate your thinking.
I love Francine Prose’s guidance around ‘reading closely’ in her book Reading Like a Writer. It’ll help you get more out of each reading experience.
Don’t be put off if your ‘to read’ list turns into a tower. And, never feel obliged to read something. Reading should feed your writing not be an obligation or chore.
If you have time to indulge in long reading sessions, that’s amazing. But, if your schedule is hectic, the thing to remember is it’s reading little and often that’s key to your development as a writer. Consider fitting it in during your commute, while you’re tucking into a sandwich or last thing at night. And, if you’re always on the move, audio books could be perfect for you.
The bonus is, the reading diet is delicious!
I hope some of these ideas will get your writing flowing this year. I’d love to hear how you get on and, if you have any tips and tricks of your own for writing more, why not share them in the comments? Let’s keep inspiring each other!