A Writer’s Tip

Question to writers: What writing tips have you found useful? Recently I stumbled on two that I would like to share with you. Especially if you, like me, have gotten bored with your current writing project to the point you don’t feel like writing and entertain other self doubts. Perhaps you tell your friends or yourself that you’re suffering from writer’s block.

If so, consider trying the tip I read about in Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem! A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide To Writing a Novel in 30 Days.” Maybe it can help you. The fact that I’m reading this book written by the founder of National Novel Writing Month in October is purely coincidental. But it sure incites enthusiasm for me to consider NaNoWriMo. His tips can be used anytime of the year.

First tip to share: He recommends that you make a list of what you enjoy reading. Why do you like a particular story?

Some examples he provides:
first-person narration
quirky characters
true love
found objects
feisty old people
urban settings
cliffhanger chapter endings
happy endings

Next make a list of the things you don’t like. Such as:
irredeemably malicious main characters
books set on farms
mentally ill characters
food or eating as a central theme
unhappy endings

Once you have your two lists, post where you can easily refer to them on the occasions when your muse leaves the room for a coffee break. In the meantime, check you list and work on incorporating a “like” element. Try it. Also, is it possible you have subconsciously worked in a “dislike?”

For me, this technique helped to re-spark the fun of writing.

Now, for the second tip which came from a conversation with a writing friend who suggested making a list of 30 possible chapters that you would like to put in a story. Then write a chapter a day. At the end of the month, you have a first (though rough) draft. Easy, peasy. Right?

“Yeah, right,” I say sarcastically. But it definitely is a start and can work.

Do you have a favorite tip that helped you?

About Diane Pearson

Author of CHAOS AT HIGH ALTITUDE (2012) where turbulence and a handsome hunk get a girl's heart racing more than a near miss at a street intersection.
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9 Responses to A Writer’s Tip

  1. Jill Bisker says:

    Interesting ideas! I’ll have to give it a try!!

  2. Thanks, Diane. I have written two novels, each in the span of 30-days. That is not to say the editing and revisions were completed, but the first draft. I turn off my “inner editor” and let the words flow. Once I type “The End” I take 2 days off and then go back and read it through. It’s at that point I begin editing. It’s a system that works for me. Another thing I do now to avoid writer’s block is that I work on two projects. That way if I come up blank on one, I work on the other. Some say they can’t shift between plots that way, but I’m fortunate to be able to do this. Nice article.

    • Congrats to you for turning off your inner editor. I need more practice at this. BTW a great idea to work on two projects. I read more than one book at a time, so writing more than one should be a cinch. LOL

  3. Fun and helpful, Diane! Bottom line, best tip I’ve ever received is “Sit down and write every day, no matter what!” But I’m always looking for great new tips, and these two from you (and Chris Baty) are inspiring!

    • I absolutely agree with sit down and write! Sometimes I set a timer. I have two: one set for 15 minutes and the other for an hour because I don’t want to take the time to push the buttons to set a time. It seems I get more done when I don’t think I have a lot of time. And it helps me to remember to change the load of laundry I have going.

  4. I would agree. Write every day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. My problem is that once I start i can’t stop and life has a way of calling! In writing my Chances trilogy over the last five years, I found The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi to be invaluable. Thanks for sharing your tips. Martha O’Sullivan

  5. Marty Meyer-Gad says:

    Like, Martha, usually I can’t stop writing. A project I started through NaNoWriMo in 2010 has gone from fiction to a collection of essays and finally to my memoir: 74 cents. In my seventh draft my intent is to get consistent tenses. Of course, I weave into other refinements. But I find doing a technical edit to what is written moves me forward.

  6. LuAnn Nies says:

    If you’re like me and have too many people living under your roof, ( 5 adults, 3 dogs, a cat and one year old which has every toy ever made) therefore no quiet time to write, my tip is to stand tall and tell both of your sons that they have to move out! This afternoon I informed one and he took it like a man. Wish me luck with the other one.

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