A question I get often is “what kind of advice can you give me for writing?” The short answer to that is: just sit down and write, no excuses. Of course, if you came here to read this post, you’d feel ripped off if that’s all I wrote and left it at that. Don’t worry, there’s more.
Write Every Day
There are a few benefits of writing every day aside from the obvious. Doing something creative has shown to promote thinking and problem-solving. Creativity also helps reduce stress and anxiety. By writing every day, you can also work past ‘writer’s block.’ Set aside an hour or two each day for writing. You don’t have to work on a novel for this if the inspiration just isn’t there. (and don’t stress over it if you go a while where you don’t work on that novel.) If you’re not working on a book, write a short story. Look for writing prompts if you find yourself struggling for ideas. You can also pick a line from a song as a prompt.
Taking notes is something I’m going to only lightly touch on, as I intend to cover something like this a little more in-depth later in a different post. Taking notes can help you keep track of what you’re doing as your story progresses. Having trouble remembering what you wrote a few chapters back doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. Don’t be hard on yourself with that.
Notes can help you with continuity. If you’re having a hard time recalling something, you can look to your notes for a quick reference rather than goes back and searching through your text to try and find what you’re looking for.
Save Your Ideas
One of the worst things in the world is an idea left unsaved. Keeping a notebook handy to jot ideas down or even scenes that comes to mind is a good idea. If you’re more tech-savvy, grab your phone. Chances are if you see me on my phone, and it looks like I’m texting, I’m probably not. Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of opening up a blank e-mail or Google doc to type out my regardless of where I am. It’s a great practice unless you’re in the check out line at the grocery store. If texting isn’t your style and you don’t mind people giving you funny looks, you can also dictate a note to your phone.
Tune Out To Tune In
Distractions, let’s talk about distractions a minute. You need to tune the world out to tune into your muse. It’s probably easier to disconnect from the world to write if you’re starting with a notebook or going hardcore old school and using a typewriter. When using a laptop or computer, the temptation to stray is as easy as a few clicks, and next, you know, you’re back on social media, or maybe you’re back on your phone. Turn your phone off. Don’t look at social media or start watching videos.
Try to have a designated spot in the house for writing as well. Don’t be afraid to tell anyone you live with that you need a few hours uninterrupted. If music helps, go for something that is strictly instruments, lyrics could distract you, and if you’re the type that has to sing along, you might not get much done.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
You probably didn’t think this would be here, but here it is. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, you’re going to have a hard time being productive. Healthy eating, exercising, and positive social interactions all contribute to being able to be productive. With the amount of time sitting you’ll do as you’re writing, make sure you’re getting enough activity during the day. If you know eating something is going to make you sluggish, you probably want to avoid snacking on that as you write. Some foods that boost your brainpower and are perfect for nibbling on are walnuts, dark chocolate, berries, pumpkin seeds, Broccoli, and celery.
Bonus tip: If you have diabetes (I do ), you want to keep your blood sugars balanced for your overall health. In terms of being productive, high blood sugars can cause brain fog. I’ve written things before while my blood sugar was too high, and afterward, it made little sense or had tons of errors. (not that I’m perfect without Grammarly and an editor, but it was terrible.)