So many of us love to write – or want to start writing on a regular basis – but we never seem to put pen to paper (or keyboard strokes to the computer). While I have been writing for most of my life, it was not until I took a writing class a few years ago that I received some helpful advice to get me writing regularly.
Before I share the writing tips with you, let me emphasize that writing can be anything. It could be a personal blog post or article for your business website. It could be writing a piece to submit to an industry publication (or the Hera Hub blog!). It can be creative writing or a non-fiction memoir you’ve been toying with writing.
So to get you writing, here are three tips I personally practice, and pass along to others when people tell me they want to write more.
1. Carry with you at all times a writer’s notebook. Always carry with you 24/7 a small notebook or pad to write down ideas or inspiration. So if you come up with a great idea while driving, you write it down (hopefully pulling over to do so). This helps you avoid the inevitable, What was that great idea?, when you get home. My writer’s notebook is a small, simple black leather reporter’s notebook with my initials embossed on the cover. But don’t think you have to get that fancy. A simple steno pad or Evernote works just fine too.
2. If you want to write but don’t have time, you must sacrifice something to write. For many people, this can mean giving up an hour of television or surfing the web at night. A few years ago, I changed my “day job” to one where I wrote all day for a living. When I made this transition from management to writing, I felt as if my mind and brain have opened up. I was in my element, playing to my strengths. So in a sense, I “sacrificed” one job for another that allowed me to write.
I’m not suggesting you quit your day job tomorrow in order to write. But if you feel as if you’re not writing or you’re holding back your potential, look at other aspects of your life and see if those things need changing so your mind and time can open up to writing.
3. Writing memory is essentially writing fiction. This tip is for those of you wanting to write a novel but cannot picture yourself as a fiction writer. I never considered myself a fiction writer. I didn’t think I had the creativity and imagination to come up with characters, plots and ideas to support a novel. I thought of myself as a writer of memoir, facts or my opinions.
But a writing instructor said something that gave me an “a-ha” moment. She said that everyone has different memories of common experiences. This is why in families, you may remember an experience completely differently from your siblings or mother. Those memories are individual ideas, are subjective, and are true only to ourselves. Hence writing our memories is essentially fiction writing. I’d never thought this way before and for the first time, actually envisioned writing a work of fiction based on my memories (changing names and identifying details, of course).
So there you have it — three writing tips that have changed my writing process and outlook. If you want to spend more time writing, I encourage you to at least take one of these tips and start practicing them. You will be surprised at how quickly it will become a habit. Happy Writing!