Friday, 19 February 2016

6 Tips to Get Writing

I identify as a writer, and with that comes the dreaded creative block. I’m currently in the middle of doing my dissertation and I know I just need to sit down and get writing, so naturally I’ve decided to upload my first blog post instead.

I often see online that to become a writer…you simply write. Although this may be true it’s not always as easy as it seems. If I get inspired I can write for half an hour non-stop. All the thoughts keep flowing into my head and I have to keep writing it down otherwise I’ll forget it all. Then suddenly it goes, I’ll sit up straight and that will be it until the next surge of inspiration hits. This kind of writing is the best, it’s relaxed and it feels so good when you get some inspiration. However when you do writing as a degree and your dream job is to be a ‘writer’ this isn’t enough. You have to force the inspiration. The deadline isn’t going to change because your creative juices weren’t flowing, you will just fail.

So I’ve spent the last three years of my university life learning the skill of sitting down and start writing. For too long I thought I had figured out my cycle on how to start writing. I would check my social media outlets; Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook again. Then I would open up the word document ready to begin. After staring at the screen for a while I decide there’s no way I can get inspiration without some brain food. I mean how can I expect to write something decent when all I’ve had that morning is a bowl of cereal, a cup of tea and a big bar of chocolate. So with another cup of tea and an hour wasted, if not more, I finally begin typing.

Now although this process may have eventually been successful, it takes up too much valuable writing time. So now I have finally figured it out, and if I’m honest I think being in third year forced me to find a quicker way to start writing. If I continued with my old routine, I would not be handling all my assignments and dissertation right now. I know I joked that this is a distraction from my dissertation, but it’s still writing right? And in actual fact this leads me into my first tip.

      1)    Take scheduled breaks.

Organise your work schedule for the day, or for the few hours you have free to get some writing done. Plan what pieces of writing you want to do in the first hour, for example perhaps there’s a section in a creative piece that needs working on, then take a ten-minute break. Reward yourself in this break, whatever that may be. Personally I find keeping a sticker chart for every hour of work help motivate me, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love stickers.

2)    Turn off your Wi-Fi

If you are writing a creative piece, and you have done your research, then turn off your Internet! Actually turning it off confirms the decision that you won’t be distracted by it until your break. Trust me, it really helps your will power.

3)    Have a clean workspace

I would recommend having a desk to right at, but even if you want to stay in bed to do your writing, make sure your surroundings are clean. I’m a messy person; I could clean my room in the morning and by the evening it looks like a monster threw up clothes and make up and whatever else all over my floor and sides. When my room gets too messy, I always struggle to write. So spend ten minutes clearing everything from the floor, diminish some of the clutter on the sides, and then set up an area to write.

4)    Spend time not writing

Now I know what you’re thinking, this post is about how to get writing and I have just completely contradicted that, but hear me out. You need to spend time thinking about your writing, especially creative writing. A lot of the time when I’m working on a piece of writing it looks like I just sit and daydream, and although this used to be true, now I’m usually trying to figure out what a certain character would do in a situation, or once again rethinking my story after accidentally creating a plot hole with my last plot change. Thinking about what you’re going to write, and figuring it out in your head, is just as important as when you write it down.

5)   When you can’t write anything good, write something bad

This might sound a bit weird, but if you’re really struggling to get writing then there’s an exercise I was shown by my lecturer that really works. Basically you set a timer for five minutes, and once it starts you begin writing ANYTHING. Even if all you are writing is ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over, and eventually you should start writing out things for your story and it doesn’t matter how bad it is because you can always edit it.

And lastly;

6)    Enjoy it

I know it’s cliché but it’s so true. There is nothing worse than trying to write a 2000 word assignment on something you really couldn’t care less about. Thankfully that rarely happens in my degree, it’s only the stress that makes it less enjoyable. When it came to deciding what creative piece I was going to write for my dissertation, I didn’t think about what the lecturer would be most impressed with, I thought about what story I wanted to share. I chose the genre and subject I want to write because after spending endless hours researching (and trust me, it really can feel endless),  I still find it interesting and I still want to continue to write my story.

I hope this helps you to start writing! Let me know in the comments if any of these tips worked for you, or if you have any other methods to be inspired and get writing.

Until next time...


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