Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Tips to Increasing Writing Output

On Saturday I attended a workshop on increasing artistic creativity, and it spurred some wonderful creative thinking on my part. We were told that writers should work on developing the more visually artistic side of their brains to increase output on the writing side. That got me to thinking, not just of ways to increase that visual side, and I will be working on that, and writing about it once I try it, but it also made me think of other ways to increase your fiction writing output overall and how sometimes just plain writing can help us over dry spots or when we think we're plagued by writer's block.

For instance:

1.      Try journal writing.  Many writers started using and demonstrating their writing skills by keeping diaries or journals when they were young. Do you still keep a journal?  I don’t, but I have plenty of them when I was young. However, off and on I find that it just feels good to sit down and write down thoughts or ideas that only I will ever see. It is often good to go back and look at those writings later because they can give you more perspective on who you are now and how you might have coped with a problem in the past, some little thing that you might have forgotten. The best thing about writing a journal is that you can do it in any form, type it, write in long hand, and say anything since you are the only one who will read it.

2.      Try writing a non-fiction story.  I saw on facebook recently that a published fiction author friend was going to write a non fiction story about a well known historical figure.  Her ideas was to learn all about that person and write an article about the person. Eventually she would then write and publish a fiction book based on that person. I thought that was a great idea. Writing non fiction is a wonderful way to spur thinking creatively. I know that when I was writing news stories every day, I was always thinking about my writing. It was my job, I had to do it, and that carried over into my fiction work.

3.      Write a blog.  This sort of combines those first two ideas. Write a non-fiction story and a journal entry all in one – and do it in a blog form. I have heard some fiction writers say this blogs can be a waste of time because it takes time away from fiction. But just like I said before about non-fiction can stimulate fiction writing, the same is true of blogs. And when you wonder what you want to write about, well, go back to that historical figure and look at yourself. You have lots of experiences and ideas you can write about.

4.      Write an article for a local paper. Small neighborhood newspapers are always looking for content and you could either volunteer to write a weekly column or do a story and submit it. How can this help? Well, besides giving you a chance to write about something other than your thoughts, it can also spur new story ideas for future books. You might meet someone fascinating that you want to base a character on, or you might find a profession you want to use for a story.  And again, this doesn’t need to be a wasted effort. Write a story on that police detective you interviewed as research for your story. How about a story on glass sculpting or owning a business? Again, this might be something you did as research, but find out more about the person behind your research. Several years ago when I was working as a public information officer for a city, one of my jobs was putting out the monthly newsletter. Instead of just doing stories on whatever project the city manager wanted me to feature, I started visiting all the city departments and doing feature stories on the people there and on their jobs. It livened up the newsletter and it also had some of those city employees appreciating their jobs more. I remember visiting the public yard where they had they city signs and fixed the police cars and everyone was excited to talk. They’d never had a representative from the city manager’s office come to visit them, much less give them space in the city newsletter.  It was great fun!

5.      Write what you see!  Even if it isn’t a journal of your thoughts, or an interview or a visit
to some special place, think about writing something descriptive. Look around wherever you normally write and try writing a description of your work area. Write about the sights and sounds of the coffee shop where you’re working. Look around the restaurant where you're dining and get the picture in your head and go home and write about. Again, this may be work you don’t ever put out anywhere, but it can help you next time you go to write a setting. If you can describe what you’re seeing around you, you will have a better handle on writing descriptions for your book of the picture in your head.

So just write!  In any form. Keep it as long or short as you want. But you might find that once you’ve warmed up with those other words, you’re more than ready to dig back into your book.

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