Does your writing get away from you? As writers, we have lots of ideas and projects in our heads but sometimes life gets in the way. You know what I mean, the family activities, grocery shopping, laundry, work, binging on Netflix or Hulu and the list goes on and on. My current distraction? Hallmark Christmas movies. We have a passion for our writing but sometimes it gets neglected. Sometimes it has nothing to do with others or responsibilities. So, what do you do? Today I’m sharing my top 10 writing tips and habits to get you back on track.
Top 10 Best Writing Tips and Habits to Get You Back On Track.
Tip # 1: Have a pre-writing routine-Have the same routine everyday before you sit down to write. This prepares your body and mind for the ritual of writing. I get up every morning around seven and take a shower. Then I eat breakfast and have some devotional time and then I check my email. Once I’m done, I’m ready to dive into my writing for the day, weather it’s a blog post for myself, an article or blog post for a client, or working on one of my books.
For you it may be totally different. You may thrive in the evenings or late, late at night. I know lots of writers who are night owls. Something about being up in the dead of night when everyone else is asleep works perfect for them. They have more peace and less distractions than during the day. Not to mention, their bodies just naturally adapt to this shift.
Tip # 2: Eliminate Distractions-This is one of the biggest issues when working around others. Sometimes family can be a big distraction. They want to ask a question or chat about their day and you’re still working. To combat this, I bought a pair of headphones. If my family sees me at my desk with headphones on, they know that I’m working. This is my signal that I’m not ready to interact with them yet. That, and I usually listen to music when I write anyway. This allows them to watch TV or whatever they want to do and not distract me a bit.
Tip #3: Do your research-Take some time and do any research you need to before you start writing. Mind map and take notes. This will make your writing process go much faster.
Tip #4: Set a word count for the day-I will soon be embarking on writing my first full length book and I’m super excited. Since all of my books previous have been shorter, I haven’t really thought about word counts in the past. However, I do use word counts for my blog posts and break them down as follows. For my post on Wednesday, I write 500 words on Monday and Tuesday to equal my 1000 word count.
Tip #5: Eat, Drink, and Exercise-Okay, I know this sounds like a no brainer but when you are in “the zone” it’s easy to forget these things. I have found myself starving at 2:00 p.m. because I haven’t stopped to eat lunch. Make sure you eat, have a glass of your favorite beverage at your desk, and get up during the day. Take a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood. This will not only benefit your health, it will also help unlock your creativity if you’re struggling. Water is another great way to unleash your creativity so jump in the shower or go for a swim in the pool. I get a lot of my creative ideas around water.
More Tips to Get You Back On Track
Tip #6: Reach out to your fellow writers-If you are in a writers group online, reach out and ask questions. Let people know what you are struggling with and more than likely they will be able to help you. If you aren’t involved in any writing groups online, find one that suites you and join. There are plenty of people who will be glad to help you.
Tip #7: Banish fear and other insecurities-Every writer at one time or another gets paralyzed by fear and other insecurities. We all have imposter syndrome from time to time. There are many ways to combat this. Write down some affirmations and put them on your desk, fridge, and bathroom mirror so you will see them everyday. Come up with a mantra you say to yourself when you are having a hard time.
Remember, you are amazingly unique with a view like no one else. The world needs your words. Other ideas include picking up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul and reading a chapter everyday. Also check out Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiring Writers. You could even partner with a writer friend and agree to send an encouraging word to each other once a day. It can be anything from a heartfelt message to a simple quote.
More Ideas to Get Your Writing Mojo Back.
Tip #8: Take time between writing and editing- If you tend to do your own editing, take a break after you have finished your manuscript. Take from a few weeks to a month before you go back and start editing. This will give time for your ideas to ‘settle” and for you to kind of forget what you wrote. That way, when you go back you can edit from the start rather than worrying about a certain chapter or scene.
Tip #9: Correct some mistakes- Run your work through Grammarly to “pre-edit” on your own. At least you will catch basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes.
Tip#10: Stick to your goals-Whatever your goals are, stick to them. Hit those word counts, write those pages, dive into that research. This will make you a more efficient writer and you will prove to yourself that you can reach your goals.
Every writer drops the ball on their writing from time to time or needs a break. It wouldn’t be healthy if we didn’t. Still, it can be hard to get back on track from time to time. In using the suggestions above, you will be able to get your writing ‘groove’ back in no time.