Being a writer is often romanticised to mean constant cups of coffee, a gentle and inspiring soul, surrounded by books, a freelance schedule, a casual style. But one thing it is not romanticised to be is writing. Hours hunched over words. The work is hard and long and rarely thought of when holding it’s final product. But it is the same journey no matter who you are.
The story is always written the same. One word at a time. – Stephen King
This quote is one that always encourages me to keep going. Time restraints, although very integral to a full time writer, tend to put too much pressure on me. When I feel the pressure of time, I do everything I can to slow it down. Which usually means procrastinating. If you feel the same, I think a better way of managing time is by way of a ‘reward system’. For me it’s usually – when I hit this next goal I can eat a double decker. Because I love double deckers at the moment, but it could be anything from listening to music to having a night out. Although I enjoy writing, having something to look forward to when I’ve finished is really encouraging.
Another way is to allocate time to writing. Strict time. Either daily or weekly, block a space in your diary and accept that time is for writing only. If something else comes up, reject it. Even if you think you will allocate another time for that week/day, don’t risk it. Sometimes it will feel like you are forcing yourself to write, but even if you just sit and think about your writing or read your writing in that time, you are establishing the routine.
On the flip side, I’ve always found it really useful to carry a notebook with me everywhere. Then when I get an idea I can write it down straight away. I’m sure we’ve all had ideas we are excited about, only to find we have forgotten them once we’ve finally gone to put them on paper. I’m extremely forgetful, so sometimes reading my notebook is like seeing those ideas for the first time again. But I’m extremely grateful to past me for having my back. Also, if you’re struggling with creating a deep narrative, I always find layering the ideas in my notebooks can help guide a plot. Perhaps I should talk about that in another post!
My last piece of advice, I’m almost certain you will have been told before, but it won’t hurt for me to repeat it. You must read. Writing is an art so there is no formula which you can study. It’s all down to interpretation. Through reading others writing you will start to realise what you would like to write. Ray Bradbury may help you realise that your characters aren’t realistic enough. James Herbert may help you realise your descriptions aren’t vivid enough. By learning how to be the audience, you will learn how to perform.
Finally, when I’m really in a rut. I simply remind myself that I love writing. Writing will fill my heart with love.