I am working on a novel right now. It sounds weird to even type that because (1) it sounds pompous and (2) it’s not completely true. I am working on multiple novels (or maybe they’re short stories?) and I have yet to finish any of them, although I finally figured out a routine that is bringing me closer to my goal of finishing at least one of my novels.
I figured I would share my tips in hopes that it may help you in your writing endeavors.
In the last month I have had an accountability partner when it comes to writing. We try to talk every Sunday and share our writing or at least text one another throughout the week and remind one another to write! We are both very busy and we can come up with all of the excuses, but it’s a lot harder to excuse yourself when someone else is involved.
Just like with anything, consistently writing every day makes you a better writer. Practice makes perfect, right? It also breaks the expectation that when you sit down you are going to write the Next Great American Novel. No, you’re going to sit down and write another page or paragraph that may in a month’s time be completely re-written or thrown out, but that’s okay — that’s the process of writing.
Give yourself a time limit
I have learned that if I say, “I am going to write today,” I will inevitably spend the day having the intention to write but actually doing everything else but. So, I give myself short periods of times to write. It breaks the pressure of spending hours working on my novel because that sounds like a daunting task. Instead, I say I will write for 30 minutes, and you know what? I actually do because I can give 30 minutes to something. It’s not asking that much of me. And usually I end up spending more than 30 minutes, but I need to trick myself or else I will not do it.
Find an inspiring place
Thankfully, I live in Chicago and this city is beautiful and has many places hidden and not-so-hidden throughout the city that cultivates inspiration. The places I write influence my stories and I like it that way. And if I am ever struggling with describing a person, I can look up and see hundreds of people with all types of descriptions waiting to be written down.
Tips in Action
This morning I texted my accountability partner to write, which then motivated me to write. I haven’t been as consistent this week (excuses!), but last night I wrote a paragraph, so I decided to keep the momentum going! After work, I headed to the Art Institute (one of the best art museums, if I do say so myself) and found a bench in the sculpture room. The museum was going to close in 45-minutes, so I had a time limit.
So I wrote.
If you have any tips, please leave them in the comment section. Let’s encourage one another.