Jun 8, 2010

Make It Happen

Time to crack that whip and get writing!

I'm on a kick of making writing time, rather than trying to find it. And it's working for me. As I force myself to write something everyday, I'm finding more creative ideas arising. It's like Paul Newman once said, "The more you do it, the more you can." (although I don't think he was referring to writing).

How can you make yourself write? Here's a few tips I've picked up from other blogs, books and my bossy little voice in my head:
  • Set a daily minimum word quota (500 seems to be popular). Keep a note of your highest number of words too, you HAVE to reach your minimum, but you might feel like aiming for your high-score some days.
  • Turn off the internet. Seriously, don't just 'say' you'll ignore it. No Facebook, emails, Farmville, Twitter or blog-visiting until your writing is DONE. If you can't resist temptation (like me). Turn off the computer and use a notebook and pen.
  • Make an appointment with writing friends or join a critique group. This way you'll have to produce something to share with them by your scheduled date.
  • Give yourself short sprints of time to write throughout the day, like little writing breaks. It doesn't matter if you can't fit in a block of an hour a day - shorter writing spurts make you more productive, because you have to work fast.
  • Use prompts to get your writing started. No sitting and staring for ten minutes. Just start anything until you're ready to write your WIP. That pen should not stop moving!
  • Bribe yourself. If you beat yesterday's high-score word count, you bake some cookies.
  • Hold your day to ransom. Write first. House is a mess, and you better get onto it or you are a bad bad mum (or it feels that way), but, you are not allowed to put those dishes away until you've done a ten minute writing stint or you've written one page. This method works best for me.
  • Record your dreams in the morning. They may not seem relevant but there may be a spark of an idea that can merge into your WIP.
  • You can stay awake for just ten more minutes, you're in bed, drowsy, write your random thoughts.
  • Plot out an idea or conflict in your novel while you do menial tasks. As soon as you're done the task, jot it down.
  • Choose the time of day that works for you, find your natural flow, perhaps you have more imaginative thoughts in the morning, or, like me, you're better after the first cup of tea.
Hope some of these get you writing today. I'll even forgive you for not commenting if it's because you're rushing offline to write. :-)


  1. These are fabulous ideas! I especially like the idea of bribing myself...

  2. I am making it happen too. Great tips. Thanks, you're making me crack the whip on myself. This is my last comment. Bye.

  3. Excellent post, I've been going great with my writing course over the last week but now I've slipped back into facebook and blogs. It's nice to catch up again but my writing suffers. Will try your ideas :o)

  4. Lydia - thanks, bribing's not so effective with me because I just get argumentative with the little voice and take the cookie anyway.

    Ronda - well done! The best reward will be a finished WIP.

    Niki - I saw your post about your course update. Well done with that! :-)

  5. Brilliant. My worst trait when trying to write is the social networks. Sometimes I pray my internet will go down so I have to write. It's complete work avoidance, and convenience, but very frustrating. Today (after blogs of course!) I'm going to work really hard NOT to go online!!

  6. Great list. I'm a master of sitting and staring for 10mins...or maybe more.

  7. The English Writer - Me too, I'm even worse when no one seems to be on Facebook, I have to keep checking if there's anything new. I'm having to get harder on myself and say no socials until after words.

    Lynda - Yes it can be hard to start when you keep looking for the right thing to write. Thanks for commenting.

  8. The first two are my key elements-- word count and no internet!! Also your last one about the time of day. I recognize that morning's my most creative, productive time, so I organize my schedule accordingly. Although I've been known to make up lost time in the wee hours :) Thanks for this inspiring post!

  9. Turn off the internet?! *GASP* That's probably the best advice you could give me - I'm terrible about blogging when I should be writing. :-)

  10. What a great list - and I'm definitely going to incorporate a few into my routine. You're absolutely right though, it's not about finding time, it's about making time.

  11. Great advice! I don't know if I can actually turn off the internet?! But I'll try :)

  12. It's so funny--I think I am an anomoly. Writing is my REWARD for having done those pesky things I hate (like the messy house or the baking cookies). And I typically write long-hand--naked in the bathtub... no internet to bug me... but I know I'm a freak.

    If anyone is INTERESTED in a wordcount challenge, at Facebook BuNoWriMo is happening this month... if you were up to 2000 words a day, you could still get a novel done in June and there is a fabulous buzz of adrenaline going on.

  13. KarenG - Internet is a big one, and a hard rule to follow. I always try to convince myself I'll be fine writing with it on, but it doesn't take long to stray... Thanks for stopping by :-)

    Shannon - Yes, somehow my blogpost seems to sneak it's way through before my WIP. ;-j

    Jaydee - Thanks! Those time-finding fairies do slack off a lot.

    Aubrie - Come on, step away from the screen Aubrie - you can do it! lol.

    Watery Tart - The bathtub sounds like a good quiet place to write steamy scenes! Thanks for the BuNoWriMo tip, like you, I've been writing longhand so I'm not sure about my word count, but I'll check it out.

  14. Those are great tips. I have no problem keeping myself writing during first drafts. I'm usually salivating to get at the laptop. I have more troubles when it's time for big revisions. *sigh*

  15. Cool post and awesome tips, too. I don't think I have any real problems though on starting my writing, but these are some good tips if I ever get the dreaded writer's block. Write on!

    P.S. Love the last image about the NO whip cracking before 7 a.m.

  16. I Loved this post, great, great tips!!! =D Im glad to see Im doing most of the items you listed, yaaaay!

  17. Charmaine, I love your blog! I've found that joining SCBWI and forming a critique group was my ticket to progress. My group keeps me on my toes and their encouragement propels me forward. Great post!

  18. Great tips, Charmaine. It's amazing how much time the Internet sucks up.

  19. I set a daily quota. And if I miss it, I have to make it up in the following days (I do keep track). My daily writing will get done. But I must say that it's hard to stay away from the internet.

  20. Great tips. I know how you feel. I've used some of these. I like the one about beating your best "time," ie word count, pages, whatever. That would be a fun challenge. I think I'll take my notebook (paper) and pen to the coffee shop this afternoon. It's another cold, potentially wet, day, why not have a coffee/writing date with myself.

  21. Jemi- thanks, now I need to come up with tips to get family off the computer so I can get on and blog.

    Vatche - that image is cute, it actually comes from a competition camp for whip-cracking.

    Clara - Thanks - and good girl!

    Amy - Thank you! Blogs are great for encouraging each other.

    Wanda - Thanks, and you are absolutely right, the internet has become a part of our lives now, no longer just a tool.

    Medeia - Daily quotas are great, that's what propels me during NaNoWriMo.

    Mary - Thanks, hope you had a great time with your date with coffee and writing!