Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: Tips…to getting some writing done.
One of the challenges of writing is…writing. Here are some tips for actually getting some work done:
Write every workday; don’t wait for inspiration to strike.
Write in brief chunks of time; taking frequent breaks keeps you fresh. And don’t mislead yourself with thoughts like, “If I don’t have five or six hours clear, there’s no point in starting.”
Don’t procrastinate and don’t binge on writing. These habits lead to burn-out.
If you have trouble re-entering a project, stop working in mid-thought—even mid-sentence—so it’s easy to dive back in later.
Stay patient; don’t get distracted by how much you are or aren’t getting done.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that creativity descends on you at random, or that by staying up all night you cultivate your muse. Creative thinking comes most easily when you’re writing regularly and frequently, when you’re constantly thinking about your project.
Remember that lots of good ideas and great writing come during the revision stage.
Develop a method of keeping track of thoughts, ideas, articles, or anything that catches your attention. Combing through these materials helps stimulate your creativity.
Pay attention to your physical comfort. Do you have a decent desk and chair? Are you cramped? Is the light too dim or too bright? Make a salute—if you feel relief when your hand is shading your eyes, your desk is too brightly lit.
Check your body. Lower your shoulders, make sure your tongue isn’t pressed against the top of your mouth, don’t sit in a contorted way.
Try to eliminate interruptions—by other people, email, or poking around the Internet—but don’t tell yourself that you can only work with complete peace and quiet.
Over his writing desk, Franz Kafka had one word: “Wait.” My friend Tad Low, however, keeps a different word on his desk: “Now.”
Advice from Virginia Woolf: “The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw.”