Advice for Myself (and other writers)

I’m getting better at writing more.

I mean, it’s kind of difficult lately, since my daily word count goal is 4k, and there are some days where I’m busy with student teaching/job hunting/editing that I don’t always have time to write. Additionally, when I am writing, lately it’s been blog posts like this or articles. This week I ended up writing three articles that should be published next Monday; maybe I’ll end up writing more? We’ll see.

As far as fiction goes, I’ve written about four short stories since January, which is only slightly better than my track record for reading this year has been. This might sound like a success (I mean, those stories are, for the most part, finished), but I used to write around 5k words a day, and I was putting out work a lot more back in like, sophomore and junior year of college than now.

So I guess the main issue is time management.

Writing is like any skill or hobby in that you have to make time to do it. If you really like writing, it should be something you’re excited to do, so maybe you finish the rest of your work early so you can get to writing. In any case, I’ve been trying to block out at least half an hour ever day to write. It’s been moderately successful (and I haven’t been counting the writing I do before I go to bed, so maybe I’ve been writing more than I thought).

Something else I’ve been trying to do is holding myself accountable for my work. It’s how I make sure I’m walking 10k steps, it’s how I keep myself on track with my food and alcohol intake, and so far, it’s what I’m doing with my writing. Generally I’m a pretty responsible person, but it can take actually writing down the numbers to get me in the actual groove of doing something consistently. If I look and see that I wrote around 1400 words yesterday, maybe it will encourage me to write that 4k today (or, at the very least, more than I wrote yesterday).

One of my main goals for starting this blog was to get myself writing more, and so far, it’s been working.

I wish I was writing more fiction though. It’s hard when you’ve hit a dry spell and you’re not sure what words there are and what things to write about. It’s even worse when the words you get out feel like they’re not right. I’ve been counting the editing I do in with my writing practice as hours spent doing it (verses number of words written) since editing is some of the best practice a writer can get, but it doesn’t negate the fact that, for the most part, I’m not sure what I’m trying to write. I keep trying and when I can’t get fiction out, I go for the articles. Essays are easier.

If you’re trying to get back into the habit of writing after a long time of not doing so, it’s not so dissimilar to trying to ride your bike for the first time after a long winter (and hopefully I’ll be doing that again soon, too). It’s one of those things though that you can’t get better at unless you’re doing it, so if you’re struggling with something but don’t want your skills to get rusty, my biggest piece of advice is to take a break and work on something else before coming back to it. Stopping altogether isn’t going to remove the block, you know?

I was thinking about getting into journaling too, since it’s practice, and if I have prompts then I don’t have to worry so much about coming up with something to write about, but it’s one of those things where I’m worried I would do it for a week and then drop off of it (not unlike how I went almost a week of radio silence here).

In any case, keep writing regardless of what it is you’re writing. You’ll get there as surely as spelling a word a million times cements it as knowledge in your memory.

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Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

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