Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Strategies to Writing: Part 1

Any blog or article that talks about how to become a more productive writer or how to write a breakthrough novel has one flaw: it doesn't work for everyone. No matter how much an article or blog is lauded as the "one", it is never the "key" or the holy grail of writing.

So what does work? Discipline.

I'm going to chart 14 discipline strategies that help me--if and when I obey them. It is determination and self-control that makes a writer more productive.

--1. Make yourself sit at the computer (or notebook), even when nothing happens. Don't sit there with the idea of writing a novel. Just write: one scene, one chapter, even one page. Start in short spurts, but follow these rules: 
No email.
No internet.
No phone.
No getting up.
This is your time.

--2. Play with ideas before you begin the actual writing. Juggle scenes or write scenes from different points of view. Rearrange the plot. Sketch out those future scenes that's been in your mind lately. Basically play around with your baby before you start working.

--3. Start writing at the point you left off. This is the part of the project where you have the best idea and feel most confident.

Also, don't worry too much about content. Write the shell, and then add the filling later. 

--4. Set reasonable goals and stick to them. Determine the number of pages or the amount of hours that you will write. Start off low then gradually increase.

Use your first 15 to 20 minutes to play around with your story and ideas. (see advice #2)

Here's an example I use:
During homeschooling lessons I give myself 1 hour to write or 3 to 5 pages a day, which ever comes first. I don't worry about word count. I utilize the time or amount of pages. At first I play with my ideas of scenes. I shuffle post-it notes. I chart what my characters may do. Sometimes I even jot down notes on conversations they have before I start to write. The first 15 minutes for me are to focus my brain on my story.

Dean Koontz said it best: "Some days, those hours will leave me with 2000 words; other days with 200."

--5. Write to discover!

You don't wait until you already know what it is that you want to say and then start writing. You write to discover your ideas. You write your way through difficulties. You don't think your way through.

Readers read to discover. Your best writing comes when you write to discover.

Next week I will give 5 more strategies to increase your writing time and quality. The more you utilize these points, the more disciplined your writing becomes.

So keep writing and keep discovering.

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