This is the time of year when many writers take advantage of shorter days, drawing inward to get their stories onto the page. November is NaNoWriMo month, a great time to focus on getting started as a writer. Here are some helpful tips to keep you committed to your writing journey so you can maintain your enthusiasm to the finish line.
It doesn’t matter whether you have been dreaming about writing for a long time, or your desire to put words to the page showed up recently. These three tried and true suggestions for developing a dedicated writing practice will keep you moving toward your goals.
Step 1 for Getting Started as a Writer
Make a date with writing. Add creativity to your calendar, like you book a massage or medical appointment. Choose frequency and times that fit your schedule; aim for success.
For example, after hearing this suggestion, many aspiring writers declare, “I’m going to write half an hour a day, every day of the week!” The first time they miss a day, they’re left feeling defeated, a failure at this writing thing. If this is a recurring pattern, it’s time for a new approach to get you started as a writer.
Try choosing one creative time each week or month! Be realistic about what you can commit to AND show up. This is critical for changing old habits and beliefs. Celebrate yourself for showing up. Adding more creative dates into your calendar builds your writing muscles.
Step 2 for Starting Your Writing Practice
Develop a timed writing practice (ten minutes of writing prompted by an open-ended sentence or topic). For example, “This is where ….” or “I remember…” It’s best to use a pen and paper for this practice, and keep the pen moving for the full ten minutes.
The beauty of timed writing is that it bypasses the intellectual brain, where the inner critic resides, ultimately supporting the growth of a first draft.
Step 3 for Getting Started as a Writer
Find a writing buddy who is also on a writing journey. You can hold each other accountable to your small-step goals (e.g. write 500 words in the next two weeks), and celebrate the small wins along the way.
I celebrate my wins during meetings with my buddy. It helps to break down all the steps of creating a manuscript into smaller pieces.
“I completed 10 minutes of timed writing three times this week.”
“I completed the chapter about my mother.”
“I read a book that gave me ideas about how to structure my story.”
Take time to name all the small steps that feed your creative energy, building your writing vision.
If you decide to share your rough draft writing with your buddy, take time to learn how to give each other encouraging feedback. Treat fresh writing like a newborn baby, and look for what is strong and beautiful in the words that you are reading.
When your buddy is ready to move onto the revision stage, that is the time to offer suggestions. I’ve outlined a supportive process in my FREE gift: The Writing Feedback Guidebook.
Writing Feedback Guidebook
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