Monday, February 1, 2016

5 Tips to Writing Productivity

One of the big problems writers face all the time is trying to keep productive  We have all sorts of excuses for why we don't write or can't seem to get going. Maybe we can't think of what to write in the next scene or what we want that next piece of dialogue to say.

Sometimes it pays to simply sit down and write!

But what can I write about? Where will I start?  Those are more questions that just beg to make you sit around and watch a movie or play a computer game or check on facebook, or perhaps work on your website.  Oh, or do research!  That's always a great way to put off writing. Excuses, excuses.

Again, sometimes all you can do is to sit yourself down and start writing.

For 35 years I had to sit down every morning and write.  True, I was handed stories write. When you are a newswriter you have to write every day.  As a producer I could put it off a little longer but then I was mainly writing teases or choosing the stories I wanted to write. As a newsroom manager I wrote less, but there were always proposals or a series piece or someone else's work to re-write.

But as a fiction writer what keeps us going?  In some ways I harken back to my old days in the newsroom. Here are five tips to get started writing.

1.  Write first thing in the morning.  I've suggested this before. Writing when you're fresh or when you come back from a morning jog, bike ride, or walk.  I used to plot a scene while I was walking in the morning so I had a starting point for the day.  Some of those plotting problems would be solved while I walked.

2. Start with a scene  you know you want to or need to write.  This might be anywhere in your book. I often write out of order. If you've written an outline you'll know where to put it.  Yes, I know some people refuse to write except in a straight line, but sometimes writing out of order can be fun.

3.  Write a piece of dialogue. If you insist on writing in order then write your next scene as a dialogue. Sometimes dialogue can be just the thing to get your mind flowing again. Pretend you are having a conversation with your characters and see what comes out.

4.  Write from another point of view.  One of the most freeing moments for me came when I wrote a piece of my book Blues at 11 in first person. I'd been writing it in third person like all my other suspense novels and romances and the book wasn't working. I knew I wanted it to be a mystery and have a light touch.  I wrote a scene in Kimberly's first person point of view and suddenly the words began to flow.  Kimberly and her voice took over my head and I was able to get the book written.

5.  Just write.  There are times when there is no other choice than to power through.  Usually that first line can get you started and before long you'll find that first sentence has led to another, and another, and another, and the scene is written.

Being a writer means writing. I keep a little note attached to my computer that says "touch the ball every day."  It's a saying another writer mentioned in a blog post and supposedly came from an NBA star who said that was what it took to be a star player. He had to touch the ball every day. And that is what it takes to be a writer. Touch the pen to paper or keyboard every day. Write!

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