Since I published my first book, Dawn of the Dreamer in January 2015, I’ve learned so much not only about writing but everything that comes with it. Book publishing is the kind of industry where things are always changing. This can be frustrating at times, but it also means there is always room for growth, to try new things, and to work on your craft. If you’re new to the writing world or have come down with the dreaded writers’ block this list is for you. I’ve put together 5 tips I’ve learned over the past few years and hope that at least one can help you find the inspiration you need. Keep in mind all writers have different methods and ways to piece their stories together and these are what work for me and perhaps might work for you too.
1 – Write first. Edit later. When inspiration strikes WRITE! Even when it doesn’t you should make yourself write at least a little every day. Don’t worry about misspelled words or punctuation, just get your ideas and story down and you can take the time to edit when you’re done. I personally write what I call the ‘bones’ of my story first, making sure my story and character arcs are all there. Then when I’m happy with my story I go back and flesh it out, filling in the scenes and characters and bringing it all to life.
2- Just keep writing. Stuck? Can’t seem to find the words to write the scene you’re working on? Move on. Skip the scene and go to one that helps you find your creativity once again and you’ll find when you go back you might just have those words you couldn’t piece together. When I can’t find the push to write a certain scene or paragraph I insert a sentence stating what I want to go in the space in bold capital letters, “EPIC BATTLE SCENE.” Then I go back when I know I’m ready to finish the scene.
3- Write every day. This one has been said a million times and although it can be hard at times it works. If you make the commitment to sit down and write every day it becomes easier, and procrastination and lack of motivation slowly disappear.
4- Character trait spreadsheet. Create a spreadsheet of all of your characters and their traits. Their hair and eye colour, their personality, how they’re related to another character etc. That way, when you come to writing a scene and you can’t remember if your character had blue or green eyes, you can flick over to your spreadsheet and don’t have to spend time searching back through your manuscript. I use excel to keep all of my characters traits and even highlight them with red when they don’t make it through the end of a scene. I add in other details too, such as how old they were when their father died and what age they met a certain friend. These are details you can forget along the way, especially when writing a series, and it makes finding the information you need much easier.
5 – Take a break. Yes, I did say write every day, but make sure you stand up every hour or so, put on your favourite song, dance around the house, and grab a cup of tea and bite to eat. Your brain needs to have a rest so when you sit back down it’s ready to get creative all over again. I find stopping and taking a break actually helps my word counts and I end up writing for longer than I would if I didn’t take a break.
So, there you have it. 5 tips I use to write my books. If you enjoyed my tips keep an eye out on my blog for even more next month. Have writing hacks of your own? Leave them in the comments below!