Writing is supposed to be one of those things were you constantly learn, especially with what you do wrong. I’ve been writing for awhile and though I can say that I’ve picked up a thing or two, I can’t say that I’ve stopped turning over a new page. I’ve still learned some things you could call sage advice when it comes to the writing process. Here they are.
Figuring Out The Plot Line Is Crucial
Trying to just write a book from start to finish without considering what may happen to your characters along the way is a mistake I made once. The problem is that if you don’t have an inkling of the destination then how are you to know where your going? One of the first things you should do is hammer out a plot line, the more specific the better. This is advice that even Pantsers can take. You don’t have to literally right it down, but you should know who your characters are, what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what’s at stake before you even put pen to paper. If you are one of those people who writes the plot down first then detail it to the ninth degree. The written plot line should be so specific it could almost be a condensed version of the book itself.
Put Yourself On A Schedule
When I first started writing I wrote whenever the whim suited me. The problem is that–without a schedule–life can get in the way. It could be two days sense you last wrote, two weeks, or–heaven forbid–two months. Either way your writing skills get rusty and your latest literary masterpiece languishes. To avoid that I wrote out a schedule, detailing the deadlines by which each section of the novel should be finished. When I completed those sections I wrote the actual finish date next to the projected one. This helped to keep me accountable as well as giving me a sense of progress when I saw that I was ahead of schedule.
Determine The Best Time To Write
This is related to the previous point, but is it’s own separate piece of advice. Life is hectic. We all juggle jobs, hobbies, chores, kids–if you have any–and finding an hour or two to write can be incredibly difficult. The best way to find it is to ask yourself this; when am I the least busy. For the last few years I’ve held jobs that require me to work mid afternoon or evening. As a result, I can usually get in two hours of writing in the morning before I have to leave. If I don’t have that time I mandate an hour while setting aside three days a week where I get up early to carve out that time–coffee is an excellent motivator. I also try to get to work ten to fifteen minutes early so I can jot down a paragraph or two.
There’s probably plenty of other pieces of advice out there that could go with these, but if you follow what’s listed above you’ll not only make excellent progress, but save yourself a great deal of grief in the editing stage.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no claim to it.