When we think of writing, we often think of the sexy parts. The inspiration of the muse! The poetic prose, flowing on the page! The readers whose lives are about to change!
While all that’s well and good, the truth is there’s nothing sexy about the butt-in-chair time required to actually write that book. If you’re anything like me, sitting down to write can feel like pushing a boulder uphill a lot of the time. Think hot sun, heavy load, sweaty armpits—you get my drift.
But there’s a reason you’re a writer. And after working with writers my entire adult life, I’m pretty sure that reason is a four-letter word.
So I wanted to send a little Valentine from my writer’s heart to yours. Below you’ll find 14 sweet tips to make you fall in love with writing again. Some you’ve heard before; others are just plain goofy. Think of it like a box of chocolates—each one unique in its own way. Enjoy!
14 Sweet Writing Tips from Kelly
Tip #1: Set a timer. Sometimes knowing you only have to write for 15 minutes makes it less daunting to begin.
Tip #2: As you go to sleep, think about what you want to write tomorrow. You’ll be programming your subconscious mind that you’re a writer, and that tomorrow is a writing day. Bonus: You may get some good ideas in your dreams!
Tip #3: Before you sit down, feel the joy you know you’ll feel after you’ve written. Jump up and down in celebration, turn on your favorite happy song and dance, give yourself a ticker-tape parade with a pile of index cards. Let the joy of already having written propel you to your chair. (Props to Mike Dooley for this great tip!)
Tip #4: Find a friend who is also writing and do bookend texting. Text her when you sit down, and text her when you get up. Social accountability works miracles, my friends.
Tip #5: Pick a single paragraph. A small goal turns even a short writing period into a win. Describe a character’s outfit in a critical scene; the smell of your grandma’s chicken soup; the benefits your readers will gain from a particular yoga posture. Start small and watch the will to write snowball from there.
Tip #6: Instead of writing, try dictating some text—and then editing the transcript. Talk to Siri, and let her take notes for you. Then download the transcript to your computer and edit away. The creative juices are flowing even before you sit down!
Tip #7: Make a writing altar. Open the gateway to support from the unseen realms. Set up candles and photos of writers who inspire you. Keep your favorite pen there, along with precious objects that have meaning for your book. Compose your own writing prayer or mantra and use it before you put pen to page.
Tip #8: Call a supportive friend before you write and tell her a story. Storytelling begets storytelling. Talk through a simple story with someone who “gets” you, and then go put it on the page.
Tip #10: Spark your creativity with writing prompts. What I can’t write about is…. I wish I could remember…. What my heart wants to say is…. Choose one, and write for 10 minutes, repeating the prompt whenever you get stuck.
Tip #11: Read—and practice—The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s been reliably inspiring writers for over 25 years.
Tip #12: Take your writing outside. Take your laptop to the patio, pack a journal on a hiking trail, or ruminate in a park. Let your writing be fueled by your connection to the natural world.
Tip #13: Try using software that’s built for writing books. Microsoft Word is the standard in the book industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up when you’re writing your first draft. Specialized software like Scrivener or WriteWay can be intuitive, inspiring and fun to use.
Tip #14: Write a Valentine to your future self—the one who has already finished the book. Let her know how grateful you are that she followed her heart and got her butt in that chair. Then…become that future version of you: Sit down and write!
PS: Of course, there are many other obstacles standing between you and writing. You know, parental loyalties…childhood wounds…a mortal fear of being seen. If you suspect you’ve got “that kind” of issue, check out our new Break Through Resistance coaching offering. Guaranteed to get change happening on behalf of your book.