6 Elements to Becoming a More Productive Writer

 

It’s hard to be a writer. I find that writers, myself included, are in a constant state of personal disappointment over their writing. For some strange reason, we writers – both new and veteran alike – have this misguided belief that anything and everything we write should be outstanding, worthy of a bestseller.

But because perfection is unattainable, we constantly seem to be engaged in a battle of self-doubt. We often sabotage our writing by doing things contrary to our goals and then feeling despair that the words are not perfect in the first draft.

Let me ask you – is there ANYTHING in your life that you were good at right off the bat? Were you an expert pianist the first time you sat at the keys? Could you run a marathon without ever having spent one second training or conditioning? Well if this is you Rainman, then don’t waste anymore of your super-human time reading any further. You’ve got Jeopardy to win. But, for the other 99.9% of you out there, the problem with your writing is not that you have no aptitude for it, but that you are probably approaching it incorrectly.

What follows are six elements that I have discovered which will help you to become a bit more productive the next time you sit down to write.

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3 Reasons Why You Need To Write Every Day

 

3 Reasons To Write GraphicWhen people ask about my writing habits and hear that I write every day, they sometimes say, “Oh, I could never do that.” They say this like it’s a choice, but really it’s something that I have come to rely on.

Writing, for me, is something I must do. It’s funny because there are other things, like going to the gym or even taking the time to cook dinner (carry-out is a writer’s best resource), that I will often just brush off.

But writing – that’s something that I ALWAYS make time for. Otherwise, I just don’t feel like myself. This wasn’t always the case. I wasn’t born with pencil in hand, scribbling stories on a notebook before I could barely speak. It’s something that formed over years and years and it really didn’t manifest itself until my college years.

Like anything, writing is a habit. But now, years after that first time of forcing myself to sit down at my desk and write, the discipline of attacking the blank page feels a little less intimidating. I think it’s like anything you work at over time – a confidence begins to emerge after constant repetition.

All habits are this way. You can’t play a musical instrument the first down you sit down with it, music requires time. It’s that first time that is the always the most difficult. But each subsequent experience becomes easier and easier. The effort it takes to begin decreases as your muscle memory takes over. It starts to feel natural, soon, even effortless.

But why should you even care in the first place about whether you need to write every day or not? Does anyone really care? Does the world need one more blog post and more Facebook notification? Maybe not. But contrary to what “the world” may believe, I still rely on this habit of writing daily.

Writing every day doesn’t just make you a better writer. It makes you a better person. Here’s why and how it works.

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6 Ways To Add Some Conflict Into Your Story

When you find your story starting to lag – throw in a problem

Story Conflicts

So you’ve started writing your story but there are parts that are starting to drag a little. Most times the proper course of action is to simply cut them out altogether. But in reality, it’s often very difficult to make slashes.
You’re certain that these slow points are important and could form the foundation for your entire plot. You believe in your heart that these elements merely need to be refocused or reworked and that cutting them out is wrong. Luckily, there’s an alternative. Let conflict come to the rescue.
Conflict is what makes a story entertaining. If you add the proper elements to your slow points, they won’t be slow any longer.

Here’s six ways to spice things up:

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The Hardest Part About Writing – Is to Get Going

startbutton

For me, the hardest thing about writing is getting myself started. Usually, I have already done tons of planning and preparation beforehand and for the most part have a plot worked out enough to where I’m comfortable to begin. The biggest problem I face after that – how to get going.

Whether you are a beginner or even an old hand at writing, chances are you’ll probably require a push to get started. Most writers that I know will tell you that starting a writing project is often the most difficult part of writing.  And even if you’ve done tons of research and have everything organized, it’s still only research until you find the will to commit to the writing.

Facing a blank page knowing that you have several hundreds more to follow is terrifying and if you let yourself think on it too long, it can psych you right out of getting started. If you’re the type of writer that just wants to see where the writing takes you, then you have my deepest admiration. Me, I can’t do that. Most us require a plot that has been constructed to at least a basic framework (a three-part story-structure) and I general idea about the story we want to tell.  But even after that it can be tough to get underway.

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The Art Of Writing – When You Really Couldn’t Give A Crap

frustrated writer

In a perfect world, I’d begin my writing day in some weird Disney-esque world where I’d happily wake up after nine hours of blissful sleep, with little birds chirping as music played in the background. Awaiting me would be a perfectly brewed cup of coffee and freshly baked muffins tickling my nose, the newspaper fresh off the driveway, and there would not be one meeting or work appointment scheduled to disturb me.

Just a  pleasantly cold, snowy day where I could just sit at my desk hearing nothing but the sound of the crackling fireplace behind me.

Ideally, I’d have a clearly formed idea along with a solid outline so that I knew EXACTLY where I was headed.  Oh, and a passionate attitude to accompany several unbroken hours to write.

While I’m at it, I would also like to have no family obligations, no holiday distractions, no phone calls or emails, and a Dictaphone app that could ACTUALLY transcribe my voice onto the page without it’s crappy auto-correct always trying to anticipate what it was that I am trying to say, instead of what I actually did say.

BUT THAT JUST ISN’T MY REALITY!!

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