Monday, 22 December 2014

Every Writers Big Question Can you start again in the New Year?


 The Big Question: Can you start writing again in the New Year?

It won’t be easy. Even if it’s your new year resolution. 



The midwinter festivities, be they Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Yule –  the time you’ve taken out to celebrate, shop, wrap gifts, pray and sing, party, cook, eat, drink, unwrap gifts, party some more and finally (deliciously) sleep, has taken you away from your normal routine. For people with paid employment, getting back into a work routine is hard, but they have the boss and the alarm clock on their side with that one. Writing is often done as well as paid employment and rarely has the debatable luxury of a boss on your back.

 The only motivation is you - wanting to write. 

read like mad
It’s even sadder and harder if it had been going well, because you’ll notice the difference and mourn the loss without quite knowing how to get back in the grind. 

Here’s some tips from a lot of different writers about how to get into the grove and start writing regularly in 2015;
  • Nina Milton recommends writing when you wake. Just for five or ten minutes, and without thinking at all about it. As you’ve just woken up, the latter part of this...the ‘not thinking’ part won’t be too hard at all. If you keep the pen and pad by your bed right beside the clock at glass of water, it will be hard to bypass it. 
  • Lifehack recommends; Read great writers. This may sound obvious, but it has to be said. This is the place to start. If you don’t read great writing, you won’t know how to do it. Everyone starts by learning from the masters, by emulating them, and then through them, you find your own voice. Read a lot. As much as possible. Pay close attention to style and mechanics in addition to content. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html
  • Nina Milton recommends you find  a writing group  you can hit it off with. Search out a local writing group and ask if you can come along to see how they do things. Writing support is invaluable, and knowing you need to write for the next group meeting is a great motivator.
  • Susan Hill recommends you buy a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook. Apart from  all the info you need to think about submitting, there are powerful articles https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/
  • Nina Milton recommends you go for a walk...alone. Let the ideas for your writing swirl around in your head. Take a notebook and pen.
  • Mslexia recommends you enter their short story competition. You have between now and the 16th of March to write your story and send it in. There’s a first prize of £2000 to get you salivating. Trouble is, you do have to be a woman; https://mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/scomp_active.php 
  • Nina Milton recommends you switch modes; if you usually write onto a screen, switch off the PC and use a notebook. If you usually use pen and paper, force yourself to write on your laptop.
  • Stephen King recommends you first write for yourself, and then worry about the audience.
  • Nick Barton ( @NickBarton101 ) recommends  cutting out all the tempting opportunities from this month's @WritingMagazine. 
  • Nina Milton recommends joining a writing course. Local writing courses that started in September may now have ‘fall offs’ and so room for you. You’ll have to work hard to catch up and that will really get the blood pumping
  • Writer’s Relief recommends The Happy Writer ebook to kick start your 2015 http://writersrelief.com/the-happy-writer-ebook/
  • Rachel recommends marketing your work while you are writing (just to add the pressure) http://rachelintheoc.com/2014/12/top-3-writing-marketing-tips-author/
  • Nina Milton recommends taking out a subcription to a writing magazine in the new year. Writing Magazine is the market leader; Writer's Forum is also loved. Mslexia has the edge though, and you can still read it if you're a bloke.
  • Fiction Writing Tips ‏@WritingCraft recommends you , check out this online editiing tool… http://socialpolitan.org/fiction-writing-craft/page/AutoCrit.php
  • Nina Milton recommends that you just get on with it by trying a freewrite
    • Choose a topic, perhaps a single word, to stimulate and encourage you. 
    • Decide on a time limit, say ten minutes. 
    • go for a winter walk
    • Start writing. Allow your thoughts to ‘drop down’ onto the paper in an unfocused way. 
  • It doesn’t matter if the topic changes. It doesn’t matter what you write.
  • Once you start writing, you must not stop. You must not lay down your pen at all. If you run out of things to say, write…I can’t think of what to say…or…what shall I write, what shall I write…or repeat the last word you wrote or any other repetitive phrase over and over until you get going again (it won’t be long).
  • Do not stop to correct your work.  Don’t correct spellings, grammar or punctuation or the proper sequence of events. Try not to cross things out.
  • Use memory and your thought processes to keep writing. For example, your subject is ‘sky’ and you begin writing about stars. Then a memory of lying on your back watching the clouds comes to you, but as you write about that, you recall what you did before or after watching the clouds, so you write about that, and as you do so, you get interested in writing about the people you were with. When memory runs out, you make stuff up. 
  • Remember, that none of this need see the light of day. The reason you never need to stop writing is because it really doesn’t matter what you write.   
  • Read through your work straight away – especially if you don’t think you’ll be able to read your writing later – and use a highlighter to outline the parts you think are worthy of keeping. 
  • Feel free to add further thoughts or expand the ones that are already down.
  • Combine two recommendations! Try Freewriting when you first wake up in the morning. By writing in this half-trance state, you lift the lid to your internal world. 

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