So far, the Writer’s Corner has approached writing topics through a defined lens, focusing on narrative aspects like dialogue, writing style, and characterization. These are important aspects a writer should consider, and we believed that providing our readers a better understanding of these features, all while offering some helpful tips, was the best way to make the writing process seem a bit less daunting. But it’s dawned on me recently that we’ve yet to publish a piece offering advice on how to actually write more.
Like most creative arts, writing is a strenuous and taxing process. The act of willing oneself to sit in front of a blank document and translate the imagination into words on a page is a truly beautiful experience. But I would be a liar if I said that I loved every part of writing. I may have a really interesting plot or setting idealized in my head, but once I sit down to write it all out, it’s as if someone’s placed a concrete wall in front of me, and I can’t progress forward. I’m left mulling over a sentence’s syntax for upwards of an hour before making any creative headway. And by the time I’m somewhat satisfied, any remaining effort wants to be left doing something else other than writing.
If you’re in the same boat as me, fellow Writer’s Corner contributor Shane McIntire has a great post detailing ways to approach these all too often lapses in imagination. I’ve turned to the tips provided in Shane’s post as a guiding light to free me from numerous writing ruts, but there are still times when a lack of creative energy or perpetual writing anxiety has led me to step away from my craft for extended periods of time.
To get over this malaise, I’ve decided to confront the issue head-on, and there’s only one way to do it--I have to write more. I’ve realized that I’m only worsening my pent-up writing anxieties by not practicing my craft and that continued time spent away from writing will cause more harm than good.
But writing more is a task that’s easier said than done. I recently came across a lecture hosted by Brandon Sanderson, a well-known fantasy and sci-fi author. He explained the backbreaking demand placed on writers to constantly produce. At one point, he stated knowing several full-time authors who spend twelve hours of the day, for up to four months, just writing. That’s certainly an extreme thankfully defined to only a small demographic of the population, but what about the rest of us? What about the full-time students, workers, parents, or caretakers? How are we to make the time to write?
How to Write More
Making the time to write is one of the best services a writer can do for oneself. I hate calling it practice, but that’s essentially what you’ll be doing as you progressively write more. Great athletes aren’t forged from one or two sessions on the field, but rather through consistency and discipline.
Here are four tips I’ve come across and implemented into my lifestyle to help me write more:
1. Create a Schedule
Take some time to review your daily routine or schedule, and find times that can be dedicated to writing. Because I’m a college student whose studies mostly take place during the day, I’ve found that evening sessions have been the most optimal time for me to write. Got a lunch break or free morning? Consider those as other advantageous opportunities to get some writing done.
With regards to a writing session’s length, this is mostly preference-based and differs with each individual. What’s important isn’t the amount of time spent during a session, but rather your consistency. You should aim for a length that fits your schedule and allows you to keep coming back.
2. Get Comfy
No matter how long you decide your preferred writing session length to be, consider doing it in a setting best suited to your needs From personal experience, I’ve found that working in my room with some music playing through my headphones is the most effective way for me to write. Others may find comfort doing their writing in a café or library--it’s really up to you. Never compromise your comfort when approaching the writing process. Treat your writing time as an enriching opportunity to apply yourself to your craft.
3. Put Away the Distractions
In Brandon Sanderson’s lecture, he explained that his writing sessions are approximately four hours long. As each hour passed on, he found himself getting into a deeper state of creative flow. By the third and fourth hour, he’d make serious headway, typing at least 3000 words within each hour. But when a distraction appeared during these moments, whether it was a ding from his phone or knocking on his door, he was immediately thrown out of his flow. What resulted was a writing regression more reminiscent of the 300 words/hr expected from his first and second hours of the session.
When writing, consider silencing your phone and turning off ALL notifications. Any distraction risks impeding your writing.
4. Find Someone Who Will Keep You Accountable
This is a tip I hadn’t previously considered when creating this article, but one I gladly came across when talking with a friend. We were discussing our hobbies, and I had voiced how I wanted to write more. I told her about all the changes I’d made to initiate this, but still had times when I’d cut myself short of completing a full writing session or had “cheat-days” where I didn’t write at all. I said how I tried and tried, but I’d keep falling back into old habits.
After telling her this, she told me about her own experiences dealing with this mindset. But unlike me, she’d found a resolution. She explained how her sister would periodically ask about an art project she’d be working on and how the constant inquiring eventually motivated her to complete her painting. I asked my friend if they could do that for me and they gleefully obliged.
This tip has been the most beneficial, pushing me to apply myself during every one of my writing sessions. Keeping oneself responsible for their own actions is a lot harder than it seems. We rationalize habits that limit us and eventually fall into regressive patterns. Having someone eagerly anticipating your work can move mountains in regards to motivation and the pursuit to write more.
Though writing mechanics and structure are essential, what’s the point of writing if you don’t do it? Consider incorporating the tips above in your lifestyle to find more time to write!
Do you have any tips on ways to write more? What other topics would you like the Writer’s Corner to discuss? Sound off in the comments below!
About the Author:
Aaron Talledo is currently pursuing his BA in English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He finds inspiration from literature, music, and film and expresses creativity through writing. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fitness, meditation, and video games.