Ah, summer is here and so is everything else that accompanies the season: unbearable heat waves, retail jobs, and, hopefully, tons of free time to spend on your creative writing. I’m going to be on hiatus with these articles over the summer in order to focus on my novel-in-progress, but I will be back from time to time to give status updates about my progress and to list both the big troubles that I encounter and the little victories I achieve.
I’m also going to leave this list of tips here for those of you working on novels and short stories. It will be updated as the summer proceeds, and I grow as a writer. If you feel like you have some valuable tips you’d like to share, or a recent experience with working on a fiction piece, let me know in the comment section below!
Now, without further ado:
Javy’s Big Ol’ List of Tips
- Read. Actually, let’s revise that: experience stories. We live in an age where having an appreciation for multi-modal methods of telling stories is key to understanding modern storyteller, so experience stories in whatever format you feel like exploring: comics, books, movies, video games, and so on. However, I would still recommend making reading novels and short story collections a priority if what you’re going to be working on is either a collection or a novel.
- Write every day. This should go without say, really. Some writers prefer to have a word count that they strive to meet every day. Mine is 1,500, but most of the time I fall below that count by a couple of hundred words. Sometimes I go over. It just depends. You don’t have to necessarily have a word count goal; the most important thing is that you write. And if you have a project that you’re working on, work on that every day. In some way. Whether it’s drafting or making notes—just don’t let up. Unless you feel like you’re going nowhere. Then take a break and write something else. Come back to your project later.
- Turn off the internet when you write. Trust me on this. Even if you feel like you need it to do research, turn it off. Do your research later and add it in. An internet connection poses more of a threat than it does a boon to your writing.
- Schedule some serious “me” time, especially if you’re a social creature. Go somewhere where you can be alone, and when I say that, I mean away from people you know, away from people that will talk to you, because they’ll get in the way. I don’t mean for that to sound cruel or insensitive, but it’s simply true: I don’t know any writer who can create worthwhile stories who writes while talking to friends and families. Get away from people you know. Go to a library or a café or a park or even your room. Just get away from people who have a tendency to interrupt you while you’re writing, even if they are your best friends. There will be time for them when you aren’t trying to devote your concentration to your craft.
- Buy a notebook. Take it everywhere. Write stuff in it. Learn from it.
- Find someone who gives reliable critiques of your work. And by that, I mean find someone who can both tell you positive and negative aspects of your work. Be sure to show them your work-in-progress from time to time. Reliable feedback is one of the most valuable resources I can think of for a writer.
More to come! Check back for updates.
Again, if you have some tips you would like to share, write it in the comment section below and I’ll put it in the list (and I’ll give you credit, too).
And have an excellent and productive summer.