I often get questions from fellow writers about the writing life, and I forget that Tule has put out a great book with articles and essays and writing tips with lots of my thoughts and advice on the writing life, but not everyone wants to read a book with tips and suggestions. Many people just want the short version, or the secret to getting words down.
Well, there is no secret. It’s work. It’s always been work, and yes, it was maybe more fun before I made it a full-time job, but it’s actually really fun being comfortable with what you do, and having some skills and the ability to manipulate craft to get the story you want.
So as I start a new story, Dillon Sheenan’s story, I thought I’d share with all how I keep on track with my writing. It’s not new, or revolutionary, it’s just three little things I do that are essential for me to getting the work done even when family and other commitments press in.
1) Set a goal or have a firm deadline for your WIP.
When a publisher gives me a deadline and money, I have to deliver. But before I was contracted or had sold a book, I gave myself firm deadlines, too. I HAD to meet those…which is how I sold.
2) Create a writing ritual.
Some authors work out, some take a bath or shower, some reread their work from the day before. Whatever it is that helps you settle into writing and focus, do it. My ritual is: clear off desk, make a cup of tea, light a candle, sit down, put on headphones and play music or white noise and get to work. I have to stay off the internet, too, and obviously the point is get your butt in a chair and to write. Not to fiddle or do Pinterest or answer email. The goal is word count. The goal is immersion in your story. Clear everything from your head–and desk–that isn’t related to the story.
3) Enjoy your story and characters.
If you don’t like them, and enjoy them, and believe in the world you’re creating…no one else will. Whenever I’m struggling with a story it’s probably because I don’t love them yet. So figure those characters out. Make them real. Make them honest and raw and give them goals and needs and dreams that matter. And then those characters become important…not just to you, but to your reader, too.
Still want more writing tips? You’re in luck! I’m giving away a writer’s giveaway, with a Grand Prize filled with my favorite writing reference books (several taken straight from my shelf as I have more than 2 copies of many) plus a copy of Tule Publishing’s Writing the Bestseller, along with a $10 Starbucks drink card, a Tule tote bag, water bottle, pens, notepads and fun reader/writer swag. But that’s not all…. I will also be drawing 3 runner up prize winners who will each receive a copy of Tule’s Writing the Bestseller, a $5.00 Starbucks card, a Tule tote bag, Tule water bottle, pens, and reader/writer swag. Winner will be announced on January 1st so please check back then!