It can become too easy to say we don’t have time to write – yet we’re watching TV, gaming, planning next week’s night out, procrastinating.
So what can you do about it?
Motivation & Targets
Identifying the motivational driver that works best for you will be a personal decision. It is not for anyone else to say what makes you tick, what gives you that buzz – that is your business. You know what it is, admit it, write it down, share it with others and use it to make your targets real.
- Rhythm, pattern, habit.
- Humans respond well to a beat.
- Set yourself a regular time and place to write uninterrupted.
- Guard this time, this pattern jealously, reject interruption, repeating rejection until they learn that this moment is your time; you will be with them shortly. And no sulking.
It’s not exactly the AA, yet having a writing buddy can help keep you going. Outline your targets, start writing and keep each other posted. Bragging about hitting a target is a great thing. Having someone to give you a supportive kick up the bum can also be a great thing, honest. I sometimes wonder if writing is akin to what they say about dieting: going it alone is harder. It’s one of the few times society sees ganging up with others as a good thing.
For ideas to get you going, try the below, pick one, any one – or pick them all. But pick something and action it.
Make it this year’s goal to dig out the partially edited, nearly complete stories (or even novel drafts), re-read them with a cold eye and actually finish them. It doesn’t matter if said story hasn’t seen the light of day for years, embrace your inner completer finisher (there’s one in there somewhere) and get on with it.
Ideal for writing exercises, getting a five-minute writing habit, getting you thinking down a different route, noting down overheard conversations for dialogue practise, noting down observations. It’s also great for sparking inspiration for short stories.
Investigate and identify writing competitions or magazines you want to submit your writing to. Get the deadlines into your diary, get the writing started before the deadline – and remember to send the work off.
Neil Simon once wrote:
‘[…] if I wanted to become a writer, who would you recommend I read?’
‘The entire third floor of the New York Public Library.’ *
I once met a man on a creative writing course who admitted his reading was limited to the occasional newspaper. Not surprisingly, he dropped out.
This year, expose yourself to new genres and new authors outside your ken. It doesn’t have to be classics by the bucket-load – unless that’s your thing – just something different.
Ultimately, nobody is going to make you write. And you can stop yourself from writing by reading more theory than the web or libraries hold – sometimes you just have to get on with it. Jump in, get writing – and don’t stop.
* Biloxi Blues