Writing Tips for the New Year

Are we still talking about the New Year as if it were new? Please allow me one just more day, because I have special tips for you. Actually, I’m borrowing these tips from the blog of Jeff Goins, an excellent resource for all things writing; his post is here.

He suggested that instead of making resolutions, we should have resolve.  By this, he means we should resolve to commit to a process which can actually help us achieve our writing goals.

He offered the following three tips. They made sense to me, so I wanted to share them, adapted with my own thoughts. They are:

  1. Set aside a time to practice. This is easier said than done. If I can wake up early enough, I have a better chance of doing this. A set, established time for practice is ideal. It’s easy to let the day get away from you and to make those excuses…Oh, I’ll get back to it tomorrow.
  2. Show up. This reinforces Item #1. Even if you miss your practice time, show up some time during the day. Sometimes even just taking 15 minutes to write can result in a big burst of creativity. I’m going to focus on writing and “showing up” everyday.
  3. Give yourself grace. It’s very easy to beat yourself up and tell yourself you’re no good. Not all writing days are good ones, but it’s important to push through. Allow yourself to write the worse crap in the Universe. Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system. Any words on a page are better than none. Writing is a process and, as with anything, there will be ups and downs.

Just remember, the bees never stop! It takes time to make honey.

Go bees!Set aside a time to practice.

Show up.

Give yourself grace.

 These tips will be the first thing on my wall in my writing nook. Happy writing!

What will keep your motivated to write this year?

photo credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim via photopin cc

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52 thoughts on “Writing Tips for the New Year

  1. Great tips. I especially like #3. It’s really important to know that you don’t have to create something wonderful every day. Crap can be edited. An empty page cannot. Really helps take the pressure off. If it weren’t for that understanding, I don’t think I would’ve finished my last book on schedule.

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    1. Yes! I feel like I need to have this positive self talk going on in my head sometimes. Just keep going, keep going. You can always edit later! It’s fabulous you finished your book and even on schedule.

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      1. I hear you. Here’s to crap! It serves a purpose I think. I think you have to write the crap sometimes before you can get to the good stuff. There’s a lot of writing I do that is just for my eyes only.

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  2. Being that it’s mandatory I post three times a week, I know there’ll be some sort of writing at some point. Even if it’s a notepad in the car while the baby sleeps or at McD’s while the playplace provides exercise to my bigger one, I take the opportunity to go on about three topics. The beauty of writing is in the editorial process. So any of these beginnings could go straight up to the blog or stick around to be molded into bigger things. And the ideas out of my head.
    Love Resolve. I’ve adopted Intention and Edit.
    Love Ya’,
    Shalagh

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    1. Shalagh, Happy New Year. I think the real writing is in the editorial process. That is the beauty of it. There’s always Draft #2 so we don’t need to get it all right the first time. I admire your consistency to post three times a week. You are a blogging dynamo! I like Intention and I especially like Edit. Love ya, Amy

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  3. Great tips, Amy. Have you read Steven King’s On Writing? It’s such a great no-nonsense book about the craft and what it takes. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right? I think the thing is to write–anything–even if it sucks on a regular schedule every day if possible. Happy writing, my friend!

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    1. I love Steven King’s book On Writing! I think that’s the best one there is. I found it to be really inspiring. So far, I haven’t written today…but I will! Happy writing to you too, Brigitte!

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  4. Good tips. Over Christmas and New Year I had two weeks off work, and pretty much every morning I got up very early and worked on writing my essays – I was able to do it because I HAD to do it, I had three essays due in today, and the pressure of having to made me do it. But having said that, I enjoyed the time, it wasn’t a drag, but yet I know that if I didn’t have to do it because something was due I would find every excuse not to do it if it was just to write for myself! Maybe I can find a way to keep up the momentum when I finish my course, and keep going, but switch to creative writing (I don’t even believe that myself, sigh).

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. Essay writing is tough, so I bet you could do the creative if you wanted to. I wrote many of my college papers under pressure because I would wait too long to do them! I probably produced my best stuff this way, who knows! I think just showing up is a huge part for me. Once I get started, I can write something! Good luck with your courses!

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      1. This is why I always think writing competitions are a good idea because they give you a deadline! But then that never quite works for me either because I still know that I don’t HAVE to enter them, hehe.

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  5. Thanks for this, Amy! Well said. I particularly like the bee analogy as I have been thinking a lot lately about the time and patience that some things take.. difficult to resolve with the speed of today’s world (I’m talkin’ to you, internet).

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    1. You’re most welcome, Brenda. I just learned that a worker bee may visit up to 2,000 flowers in a day! Now, if that isn’t inspiration. You have a good point about the speed of things. Writing takes patience which is tough when we want everything yesterday. I’m talkin’ to you too, internet.

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  6. So true, just show up! I get Jeff’s emails too and he’s inspiring. Sometimes when I can’t think of anything worthy to write for an audience, I post to a play-blog I set up a few months ago that I do not publicize to anyone I know. It really helps me actually write rather than stare at the screen when I don’t have something super-fantastic to say. And helps me when I have ideas but I’m not sure if they fit into my blog’s focus…anyway, it has been a liberating experience. Good luck with all your 2014 goals!

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    1. Yeah, that one is big for me. By play-blog do you mean a blog that only you can see, an invisible blog? That’s a fascinating idea. Do you find that you change your writing quite a bit when you know no one will read it? I guess it would be good just to get the fingers typing. I bet you might be surprised who would read it! Sometimes when I publish an impromptu post, people seem to like that the most. Best of luck to you as well!

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      1. It’s therivermom.com. I have been doing some of the WordPress daily prompts and yes, I don’t write as much. It’s less wordy, more photos, and more outdoorsy too :). Friends on WordPress I like :)…just don’t really want family and community and colleagues to read….Maybe give it a try it, it’s kind of fun!

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  7. Give yourself grace… I love the sound of the word “grace”, as long as it’s used in a non-secular way. With my schedule, I am mad for getting any time to write, so that’s what keeps me motivated: desperation.

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    1. Number three is my favorite all because of the word “Grace.” It’s a comforting word, even in a non-secular way. Desperation? Are you sure? You mean you NEED to write, you MUST. That’s passion, Trent. Well then, you don’t even need my silly tips. You have the passion!

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  8. I’m trying to write write write, work on a project I’ve totally been procrastinating on….and I realize I need to keep writing (practicing) daily if possible so I can revise and hone and…..finish someday!! Sometimes I do need time to organize I’m my head for a bit, too. That def counts as part of the process. Great tips.

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    1. This is the closet I will get to a “resolution.” They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit. So, I’m going to give that a go! Take it as it comes and try not to beat myself up. I think the third tip helps me a lot.

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  9. Those are very good tips! Although, I do admit to not writing every day. I’ve never been one to force the words. I’m a pantster through and through. I read recently where one man described it as writing in first person, putting on the eyes of the main character, and allowing them to drive. That’s exactly how it is for me. When my main character wants to go for a drive, I write. 🙂

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    1. I love when characters do the talking. That can be the most magical thing about writing for me. Hey, my character wants to go here. And then I stop and think, but that’s not what is supposed to happen. I like it when I can let it happen the best! You know, whatever works for you. I have a tendency to start something and then let it sit forever and not finish.

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    1. A nice Pinot is a never a bad idea. I second that!

      Yes, you really do…at least when you write! It’s entirely up to you, but I know I am my worst critic. I need this rule! I think you could get good at this one too…

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  10. I definitely have to focus on the making of time to write– that’s the hardest. Blogging is one thing, but writing things down that just sit in the computer and may or may not suck/be read by anyone else and will require hours and hours of editing down the line? Much less fun! But necessary.

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    1. Yes, I think blogging can give you a sense of accomplishment, you publish, you get feedback, you completed something. The longer pieces require that extra draft, editing stage, that this sucks so bad I can’t possibly finish it stage. Hopefully, it will be satisfying to work so hard on something and finish. Like the crossing the finish line!

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    1. You’re telling me, Audra. It’s hard to write every day. I figure if I shoot for every day, I may get five days in. I’ve been better lately. Remember, don’t beat yourself up. Every day is a new day!

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  11. #1 get it in early is very very helpful. I am much more motivated first thing in the morning than I am later in the evening when people are hungry and looking at me to feed them and then all I want is a glass of wine and my feet up in a quiet room.

    Another is to try and do it every day but if I miss one, don’t think it’s all gone pear shaped. There is always tomorrow.

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    1. Me too, Sarah. Sometimes if I don’t get it in first thing, that’s it for me that day!! I always tell myself this when I don’t want to roll out of bed. This is your chance…THIS is it! It usually helps me out.

      There is always tomorrow. This is true. And to not beat yourself up if you miss a day or two…just pick it up again. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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