Here’s the biggest challenge with writing tips: you tend to forget them when you need them most.
A few days ago, I caught myself whining to a friend about a lack of inspiration for a current project; I wasn’t sure I’d make the deadline.
“You’re overthinking,” my friend suggested. “You’ve got dozens of writing tips for getting inspired and writing faster. Choose one, and use it.”
Writing tips: choose one, and use it
Of course, she’s right.
I made a list of tips:
- Stop worrying. Work out how many words I need to write each day.
- Start new projects anyway, despite the deadline. (“New” is always inspiring.)
- Use writing sprints to get the words done each day.
- Stop the negativity. Be like Pollyanna, rather than Eeyore.
- Pay attention and follow my creative intuition.
Here’s a little more detail on each item; start by knowing your deadline.
1. How many words? Work backward from the deadline
It’s easy to forget to do this. Once you know your deadline, work backwards from it—and remember to book any help you need from editors and designers.
Add wiggle room too: expect the unexpected. Even if you usually write six days each week, assume that you’ll only write for five days.
There’s a big challenge with long writing projects. Even if you’re enthusiastic in the beginning, that will fade. You’ll miss novelty, because you’ll take on fewer new projects.
So, take on new projects anyway.
2.“New” is powerful: start something new
Your brain loves novelty. New projects fire your enthusiasm. Give in to that. Once you know the number of words you’ll need to produce to complete your primary project on time, start a new project which captures your imagination.
Tell your creative self yes, rather than no. Check out Hemingway’s rules, below.
3. Practice writing sprints to generate words
Writing sprints are fun, and they work:
What’s a writing sprint? It’s timed writing. You set a time limit for your sprint, using a timer; you also keep track of how many words you wrote during each sprint.
Sprinting forces you to focus.
4. Follow Hemingway’s rules: be positive
One of Hemingway’s four rules for writing is be positive in your choice of words:
… say what something is rather than what it isn’t.
Consider positivity in a broader sense too.
Rather than taking a gloomy, “Eeyore” attitude, remember Pollyanna’s Glad Game. You always have something for which you can be grateful, no matter the situation.
For example, if a novel’s not selling, why not turn it into a serial?
BIG tip: be aware that you must be positive, otherwise your creative intuition stops working.
5. Use your creative intuition, it delivers
It’s easy to ignore your creative intuition. It rarely shouts, but it does whisper, and it can help you in your creative projects, as well as in practical ways.
Here’s an example of its practicality. A couple of days ago I needed a reference book, but couldn’t remember where I’d left it. After 20 frustrating minutes of searching bookshelves and cupboards, I decided to take five minutes to relax and allow my intuition to work.
Five minutes later… Nothing.
Well, that was a useless exercise, I thought. But when I picked up my coffee cup, I glanced at a stack of notebooks on the coffee table. I lifted the stack, and the book I’d been hunting was underneath.
Thank you, creative intuition.
According to Napoleon Hill, the great inventor Dr. Elmer Gates practiced “sitting for ideas”:
Your mind may create some good ideas if you don’t keep it too busy with poor ones.
If you need inspiration, why not try relaxing? Clear your mind. Your creative intuition will help, often in unexpected ways. And you’ll suffer less stress.
What writing tips have you forgotten? Make a list
Make your own list of writing tips to help with a current project. Choose one a day, and put your list into action. If all else fails, hand your challenge over to your creative intuition.
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.