And the Universe Laughed – Writing Tips
I am a slow writer. I loath and detest being a slow writer, therefore, I’m doing my damnedest to change it and speed up my output. Hence, my writing advice stems from all of the advice *I’ve* sought out about how to speed everything up.
My first bit of writing advice is easy: Keep seeking out writing advice via other authors, workshops, conferences, and books, whatever you can find. Just about everyone who has finished a book or ten has a method for accomplishing their ‘write a book’ goal. Many of them are willing to tell you what that is. Try those methods out. See what works. See what doesn’t. You’re building a tool kit filled with different tools that all fit your hand. And in the things that don’t work for you, you’re learning to toss aside the tools that don’t serve you.
Second: Turn off the internet.
Third: Develop a ritual. A routine. Carve out a stretch of time – whenever and whatever length works for you. (Though I urge you to experiment with writing at different times of the day. You might be surprised to find you do your best work first thing in the morning before your brain wakes. Or last at night when your conscious mind is already half asleep.) Declare your chosen time sacred and inviolable. Stick to it. Don’t put pressure on yourself for word counts. Not yet. Just set your intention to sit down at your chosen time at least 5 days a week and write something.
You’re developing a habit, creating expectation within your own subconscious. This is a good thing. After you’ve established the habit and have managed to work for a few weeks in your routine, you can start pushing word count goals. Just remember to make the goals realistic – success breeds success. And above all, reward yourself when you make it. (Be realistic about those rewards, too – but a week of met word count goals totally justifies a mani/pedi if that’s your thing. I get a new book.)
The bad thing is that the moment you decide you’re going to write from 9 to midnight each night, the Universe at large is going to laugh in your face. Partners will come home in crisis. Children will projectile vomit all over and require a run to the ER. Pets will blue screen your computer or break their delicate little legs. If you’ve turned off the internet while you write, you aren’t caught up in the latest fire burning up the publishing world. Good. Now. Smile. Take a deep, calming breath and deal with whatever roadblock the Universe throws in the face of your dedication.
Then go right back to your routine the very next day. Keep coming back. Make your time pleasant (I get tea and goodies – pick your poison) so that you WANT to go back time and time again, despite opposition. If emergencies keep shattering your routine, look at your timing. Could you shift your writing schedule to another, calmer time of day? This is why early mornings are my writing time. The day seems to pile up on my family and by evening, the need for my attention means no writing happens. Ever.
The final and best advice I have to offer comes from Galaxy Quest. Yeah, you guessed it.
Never give up. Never surrender.