Here’s some ways I’ve found that help to keep inspiration coming, the words flowing, and never having to face writers block again.
I frequently get asked how I can write every day, do I get writers block, and how is it possible that I can have many works in progress going at the same time… well I think it comes down to organisation. Time management and compartmentalisation. That, and your personality, and work ethic. We all have different habits and things that aid our productivity. Sometimes I like music in the background, sometimes not. I might perform better in a café with paper and pen, and other times locked away from interruption in my office at the computer. The trick is developing a collection of tricks that keep you mind working and the words flowing.
And never let an idea pass you by. Write down everything.
I have an ideas folder. A section for story concepts, interesting characters, or scenes that jumped into my head at one time or another. They are always great sources of inspiration, or even parts I can include in a plot I’m working on…
As for my works in progress… I mix in “pantsing” and planning. Meaning, for the most part, I’ll blurt out anywhere between two and five chapters in a story straight from my head before I go back and look at things like structure, pace, plot, character development, if the writing in engaging… and from there start to form a framework, tweaks and plan out the rest of the novel. I do this in two ways – massive spreadsheets where I can label scenes, turning points, note how each chapter is driving the story forward, keep track of content and time lines… having a detailed plan means I can skip forward and back without dropping out of the narrative. The second method, is having blank pages for each chapter in the book, and scribbling notes on what I want to happen in each chapter – it grows as I start writing, and before commencing to write each new chapter I’ll review the points, put them in order and follow that map as best I can. Sometimes it works flawlessly, and other times my characters react in unforeseen ways and I head back to the drawing board. Never let your outline keep you trapped.
I feel the need to be flexible in how and where I write. Sometimes the character tells me where the story is going, sometimes I need the focus of a storyboard, scene by scene to get me writing.
Whenever you get stuck, switch it up. Move out of the study or office, jump to a different point in your manuscript, chat to someone about your work, take a walk around the block. The more tricks you have in your repertoire the better equipped you are to keep the inspiration and words flowing.
Everyone has a slow day. Don’t let it bother you. Writing is more a state of mind thing than anything. At one point I was journaling my feelings before writing – it was the only thing that enabled me to leave the emotional baggage at the office door.
But my most successful tool, above all the other tips and tricks has been time management. If I set a timer for an hour and work on one thing, be it a scene, chapter, concept, blog for one hour and then stop. It will always get me out of a writing funk. Who says you need to be sitting at your computer fourteen hours a day in order to call yourself a writer? A few productive hours a day could be just as good. Structure your day to free up a no distraction window and give yourself a simple task.
Hand in hand with this activity is that spreadsheet or storyboard, because you can switch projects or chapters/scenes on a whim. Breaking your down into chunks of simple tasks can kick start your brain and get those creative juices flowing.
Whether it’s immersing yourself in scenes – feeling a breeze in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your face, the tang of salt in the air as you sit at the beach to scribble out a lusty romance set in the crashing waves; or concentrating on a conversation between two characters while you sit at a coffee shop, or hide in an office to knock off a chapter in complete silence; keep experimenting and finding things that work for you.
And as always… happy writing.
What tips and tricks do you use that keep up your productivity for writing? Share them in the comments section below – I’d love to hear about them.
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