I thought I would share some writing tips today. Things that I am learning and what is currently working for me! I am still very ‘new’ at this writing thing. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it! Is the written word dead with all of this new video content? I think not! There is still a place in this world for beautiful writing. However, maybe it is something that you do also alongside other forms of more visual content. This is what is currently working for me as I develop myself into becoming a better writer.
1. CONSISTENTLY READ + LEARN:
This is probably the number habit that you first need to create before you can begin a writing habit or try and become a better writer. Writers must read first. Create a regular time for research and reading. Read about topics that you are interested in! It will be really hard to write about something that you don’t really love and care about. Learn from others, build on their ideas. Regularly write and share your own ideas! There is no ‘wrong’ way to write, learn as you go. Consistently put that time into yourself to build up your own ideas and knowledge.
In order to grow within yourself, create new things, and improve your writing you have to spend time by yourself. It’s hard, it’s lonely and probably the reason why writers and creators sometimes struggle with addictions like substance abuse and mental health issues. You have to learn to be ok with being by yourself. It is not ‘selfish’ to be by yourself. You really learn who you are and look at the world in a whole new way when you create that regular habit of being alone. Anyone who has created anything amazing in this world has probably spent lots of time alone figuring it all out. So don’t fear to be alone!
3. 10,000 HOURS:
In the book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell, he states that it takes around 10,000 hours to get really good at something that you could consider yourself an ‘expert’. That’s a really long time! It saddens me that children are being brought up in environments where they really won’t get that kind on time to work on themselves and figure out their true gifts and talents. You will have to work on your writing for a long time to improve and get better. I have been at this trying to build a regular writing habit for around eighteen months now and I have noticed such a big progression in my writing. I still have a long way to go before I might create anything meaningful. You have to be prepared to write a bunch of garbage for a long time before you have developed yourself enough to write anything great. Success does not happen to you. You create the success in yourself first by building up the habits within yourself to regularly create/do the work.
4. WHEN DO YOU REACH FLOW?
Figure out the best time for you to write. This has to be done through trial and error! Everyone is different, everyone’s brain functions best at different times. I have come to realise that I can reach flow in the morning or in the evening. When I do any kind of writing in the afternoon it takes me twice as long. Now working in the evening – although great also does not work for me because I have children and I need to be up early in the morning to get them off the school etc. and I have found that with any kind of evening work it now really affects my sleep which never seemed to be a problem in my twenties! According to this brilliant article, you will achieve flow for around one and a half hours to two hours max. and then you will need to take a break before you can start a new period of flow. So my goal is to achieve two periods of flow each morning. I tried for a long time to do early morning writing but I have found that it was not the best for me because I would have to stop writing right in the middle of that flow state. Set up your day so you get a decent chunk of writing time in to achieve flow.
5. HAVE A REGULAR TIME:
I have recently been redoing my weekly schedule and really nailing down when is the best time for me to write. I think it is best to create a daily routine where you have a specific time to write – otherwise, it simply won’t get done. Use downtime in the weekend or afternoons/evenings to get all your research done so that when it is your writing time, you just write. So currently starting this week my writing time is 9-12 every day where I don’t do anything else I just write. I have tried lots of little writing helpers like Pomodoro technique, setting timers etc. and I find that they are good for getting started but then they disrupt the ‘flow’ somewhat. I have done a little bit of research about writing flow and I have determined that often the first 15-20 minutes of your writing time is going to be rubbish – you won’t produce much! So make sure you factor that in!
6. FLIGHT MODE:
Flight mode is amazing and yes I am talking about your phone! I never really thought to use this in the past but I use it a lot now and it really helps to switch off from the crazy hyper connection that we live in. I absolutely love how we can all be connected so much more than ever before but it can get too much at times. Especially for introverts! I usually flight mode my phone around 8.30-9pm at night so that I am not tempted to use it or stay up late watching Netflix or mucking around on my phone – too easy! I will also often flight mode weekends and holidays. If you need to use it or check something you can simply do that and then set it back to flight mode. I recommend that you be really strict during your set writing time. Go offline, flight mode, do whatever you can do to avoid any distractions. After your set writing time, you can then check your phone and catch up on anything that you have missed!
7. BEAT RESISTANCE:
I recently read ‘Turning Pro’ by Steven Pressfield and it is amazing I highly recommend it for any writer/creator/entrepreneur or even athlete. Steve coined the term ‘resistance’ and he has written several books on the subject now. We are programmed into being negative or viewing ourselves in a negative way – it is not our fault! When we beat this we really have to rise above this constant negativity/ego/shadow self to put the time in and beat resistance. Resistance sucks!! It is always there, it never goes away and every day you start a new fighting that same battle to create, produce and get your important work done – whatever that may be. Getting your writing habits on point will enable you to better beat resistance!
If you are a writer and you have any more ideas and suggestions please share in the comments!