I hope you enjoyed last weeks post full of writing resources that are completely free. If you did not read it, here is the link.
This post is about what I did aside from research to teach myself how to write. There were a lot of practices and habits that I have formed over the years, tricks of the trade if you will that have really sharpened and tightened my skills as an author and a writer.
Honestly, this is probably the largest contributor to my writing experience of them all. I have nearly 100 writing prompts on my blog to date that I have written and compiled over the last few years. Using some sort of prompt, whether it be a picture, song, or a written prompt, there are so many ways that get your brain going. They teach you to be concise, how to use your words well, how to create a cohesive story and best of all, how to utilize the non-ending. Here is a post from a while ago about writing Flash Fiction. Which, essentially is what writing prompts are.
Small Achievable Goals.
This is a big one for me and something that I still use to kick start my writing brain. With NaNo right around the corner, people set such lofty goals for themselves, and as someone with a full time job and small businesses that I run from home, a blog and sundry other things that keep me busy, writing 50K in one month is just not feasible for me. But when I feel like I can’t get anything done, I set myself a tiny goal that is super achievable, and when you do that, it actually accomplishes more than you realize. Most of my goals of the past have been to write for 15 minutes a day. That’s 15 minutes that I set aside just to work on writing. And if I get three words or 400, it still counts because I spent 15 undistracted minutes working on my project. Even if that time was spent thinking about where my story was going, it still was time well spent. I’ve done 10 minutes before, or even just writing one page a day. Often times these small goals add up and you even come to the point where your 15 minutes will stretch as you get so involved in what you are doing that you don’t really want to stop.
The scary “o” word. I feel like most people have a phobia of outlining their books. Most people like to be a pantster, but honestly outlining has helped me so much in creating books. Even if that outline changes or is somewhat flexible, at least you have thought everything through. It increases my chances of actually finishing a project and not getting stuck in the middle if I have a roadmap for where I am going. This is especially helpful when it comes to writing mysteries. In fact, it is almost essential to writing a cohesive mystery. And it can be as involved or small as you want. I tend to be right in the middle depending on the project. I usually do a chapter outline which includes a paragraph per chapter. It’s something achievable and easy, and ends up being super helpful if you are prone to get stuck in the middle of your book. When it comes to my mystery books, I tend to create a bit more rigorous of an outline and it ends up being several paragraphs per chapter.
These are some of my favorite things to do before delving into anything longer than a short story. These can be as detailed as you want, but determining your characters looks, personality, likes and dislikes, habits, etc. writing them all down and then pouring out a fabulous backstory that may or may not make it into the actual book, but actually influences your character and their decision is super helpful in figuring out motivation etc. I love doing this and after I write these, I usually feel a much larger connection to my characters than I did before.
Well, there you have it! Some things that I did to teach myself writing! What are some things that you used to teach yourself how to write?
By God’s Grace,