Sunday, January 7, 2018

Best Writing Advice Of 2017

As I creep into the new year, I'm still working on a project from the old one. I'd hoped to have it finished, but the story isn't quite done with me yet and I'm pondering where to end it. I think I got that figured out yesterday, but I'm guessing it will be at least another 10K to 15K before I get there.

What I wanted to talk about here though, is a little line of advice I read last year that helped me get to this productive point where I've cranked out 95K in just over two months. I'm sorry that I don't remember where I came across it so I can't credit it properly, but it comes down to this:

Touch your writing every day.

You don't have time for a two hour writing session every single day?  Take a few minutes to touch your project. Read the last paragraph, write a couple sentences, read over the last scene, write a paragraph, sit with your words and consider what you'll write next.

The problem many of us have is we get a new sparkly idea. We binge-write until the sparkle is gone. Then the real work of maintaining plot, pace, and character sink in. After that, writing a chore, it's work, the words might not come as easily. We have to stop and think more, plan ahead, consider, contemplate. All of that takes time. Time were we may not be actively pouring out words, where we feel like we're not accomplishing much of anything and maybe we're wasting our time. Time most of us don't have much of to begin with.

When the urge isn't there or other obligations swallowed your usual writing session, make yourself sit down and touch your words.

Make small steps until the story starts to flow, ideas start to click and the plot and ending reveal themselves. Percolate. Stay familiar with your story.

Don't give in to the urge to set aside your writing for a day. That day turns into two, and three, and a week, and on and on.

Having practiced this for a couple months now, I'm having a much better time making the writing happen. I used to mostly write in the morning and call it good. Now I've added touching my words at lunch and sometimes after work or dinner. Writing once and touching here and there, it's made my time in front of the keyboard much more productive. I hope it will help you too.

What's the best writing advice you came across last year?    


  1. Happy New Year, Jean! I haven't heard quite that succinct phrasing, but that is essentially what I do, too. Something writing-related, consistently. Doesn't mean I don't have the odd day when nothing happens, but I measure it as an average over the month and that works for me to keep me honest.

  2. Hi Jean - it does make sense .. to keep in mind your project ... it'll get rolled about like sea-glass ... improving and being honed. Take care and all the best finishing that project and here's to 2018 - cheers Hilary

  3. That's a good way to go. I find sometimes that "touching" my writing means brainstorming while away so that when I sit down, words will flow like crazy. I like to write my scenes while doing other things--driving, taking a shower, etc. Granted, there are also seasons when writing is easier than others. To keep yourself in the daily habit is a good thing, but there are also season when that doesn't work out, and that's okay too.

  4. That actually is pretty good advice. I feel like I come close to that, but perhaps not close enough. EVERY day feels like a good goal. I should work to obtain that...


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