Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Good Writing Habits

Since I started college almost two years ago my blogs became less frequent. My personal writing had also suffered greatly. Between classes, rehearsals, student groups and events, spare time was very limited. I would use that time to catch up on my shows online, hang out with friends or just sleep. I wasn’t lazy, I just didn’t use that time wisely. I began doubting if I had the passion to write anymore. It was a very stressful time.
            When summer hit, I vegged out for the first week. I had absolutely nothing to do. It was the first time in five summers I wasn’t performing in a show. All I had was free time and the concept was alien to me. My mother suggested that I start writing and bloging again. What she didn’t know was that I was too afraid to write again. It had been so long since I sat down and wrote for myself. I had danced around with a few ideas, but I just couldn’t transfer them to the page. I was two years blocked.
            My mom was right though, it was time to get over myself and start writing again. I needed to take baby steps if I wanted to get back into the flow. I set aside two hours every day for writing time. I decided to continue writing a story I started working on before I went back to school. Lucky for me the story never left my head and I had plot points and character development written in various notebooks and scraps of paper. When I got to the computer, I was stomped for the first twenty minutes. My inner editor was nagging at me. Finally I had to shut her off and just wrote nonstop. I realized a lot of what I wrote didn’t fit in with what I had written previously. But I didn’t care. I was writing again.
            I tried to write for the same two hours every day, but since I was living back home with my family, it was difficult. I had no control over when dinner was or if my parents wanted to do something with the family. There were some days where I would only write for a short time or after my two hour block. One day I was out with my family and I took a notebook to write free hand. No matter what I made it an effort to write every day. It’s a struggle. Sometimes I want to punch my inner editor in the face. But it’s worth it in the long run.
            Hopefully when I return to school I will retain these good writing habits. Even if I can’t write for two hours every day it would be an accomplishment to just find time throughout the day to write a little at a time.  
Good Writing Habits tips
#1: Always find a quite distraction free space. I realized I can’t write in my bedroom. Aside from the fact that it looks like a tornado ran through it, there are just too many distractions there. Mainly my bed. It’s too comfy and I always want to sleep. Sometimes at night I can focus for a few minutes and write a paragraph or two, but it’s just not a good place for me to write. I find it that if I sit in an upright position I won’t get sleepy. I find my dining room table to be my perfect writing space.
#2 Take brakes often. I never just write for two hours straight. Sometimes I get up and stretch, especially if I can’t think of how to progress the scene. I also like to talk to my mom or grab a glass of water. Once I’m refreshed I go back to my laptop and keep the story moving, often with new ideas.
#3 Write free hand. Like I said earlier when I’m out and about I like to bring a small notebook with me. Sometimes I continue where I left off or I start a new scene for later. When I get back to my laptop it is so much easier to get back in to the flow of the story. The last time I wrote free hand I ended up writing 1000+ words. After I finished typing what I wrote I wanted to keep the story going. By the end of the day I wrote over 1700 words.

What are some good writing habits you started? Is it easy to keep up with them? Let me know.

Happy reading!

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