Thursday, January 6, 2011

Take your writing seriously- tips for new writers

For some reason a lot of starting out writers can be very shy, about telling others what it is that they do or really want to achieve. For years I was like this, Hiding my writing away like a naughty little secret, until over time I stopped writing altogether, instead spending time on more important things like raising my kids and looking after my house.
Every now and then I would buy a new note book and pen, for a few weeks in the grip of inspiration I would write, until after a while life and its drama would distract me again, for years I wrote like this achieving very little but a pile of unfinished stories and half written plots. My dream of ever being able to call myself a writer seemed very far off indeed.
But writing this today I can say that has happily changed, I have finished my first draft of a paranormal romance, I write successfully for hubpages, where my short stories and poems are being read every day and the successes of some of my online articles has given me the confidence to start this blog that you are reading now.

So how did I go from a stay at home mum with no confidence in her writing, to writing this blog about writing?
By taking my writing seriously
I had to make a choice, either I write or I give up on the dream of being a novelist. I choose to give it one last go, and by simply changing my attitude and approach I was quickly amazed at the change and the progress that I was able to make with my novel, finishing it under six months, kids in tow and all.
The steps I took were simple in hindsight but made all the difference to my writing and I now want to share these very easy changes that you can make that might lead to success with your own writing projects.

Taking your writing seriously
1.       Make goals
  Stop hiding your dream in the dark, write down what it is you want to achieve with your writing, where you would like to be, visualize it for a while and enjoy the dream again. Once you have an idea on where you want to go with it, tell someone close to you, share your dream out loud this will all help make it real to you and them. (Especially if they are your husband or wife)

2. Create a writing environment
Writing in the corner of the lounge room, surrounded by people, with the TV blaring is a good way to be social, but not very helpful with getting any real progress made with your writing.
A great way to help you and others take your writing seriously is to make an area in your home that is used solely and only for writing.  In this space have everything you will need, a surface to write at, large enough whether or not you use a computer or notebook and pen. Decorate it with images that inspire your creativity, have notepads pens sticky notes resource books and anything else you may need. If you can manage it try and have this area near a window, fresh air and an ever changing environment will work wonders for your creativity although not always possible.

3. Write every day
For me this was the hardest to put in place, but it is the most important step not only in taking your writing seriously but in teaching your brain to think creativity every day, you are making it easier and easier each time you sit down to write, as your mind will expect it and you will come to not only look forward to these writing times but treasure them.
So set out a writing time each day that you can stick to, be it the morning, during the day or after the kids and partner have all gone to bed where you can write for a period of time undisturbed. This was one of the best things I ever did for my writing

4. Word count
Set yourself a daily word count, this is a great way to give yourself a small writing goal that you can achieve each day on the road to achieving your writing ambitions. While working on my novel I had a daily word count of a minimum two thousand words, most days I reached this, sometimes I didn’t and others I well exceeded the amount. In the long run it meant that the first draft to my novel was finished in 6 months, my first writing goal reached something I had almost given up on.
So think about the amount of time that you have given yourself to write with every day and choose an amount of words that work for you, be it 500 or over two thousand and aim for this every day, this helps give you motivation and as you see those words become pages you may just start to take your writing seriously

5. Show you work,
This can mean showing your writing to your nearest and dearest, who may be hesitant in saying anything critical afraid to dash your dreams with even a hint of criticism constructive or otherwise.

So it’s always a good idea to find a way to have someone impartial of your feelings read your work, this can be by joining a writing group, having a friend or associate who reads the genre that you write in look over your work, or by posting samples of your work online (2 great sites for feedback on your writing) or even by entering some writing competitions
 The idea is to get open feedback on your writing, so any areas that need strengthening don’t get ignored giving you the opportunity to improve and hone your craft.
And there is nothing quite like the thrill of something you have written being read and enjoyed by others, so get writing today you may just surprise yourself.

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