by Kara Pauley, Centre Township Branch Assistant Manager
This time of social distancing seems like it would be perfect for writers. What better time to crank out that novel, update that blog, fill that journal? But wordsmithing doesn’t always come when it's called. Tackle your writing woes by taking things one step at a time.
Set a word count goal
Whether you are a novelist or a journaler, set a realistic word count goal for yourself. As a novelist, my word count goal is about 2,000 words per week. But depending on what and how often you write, your goal might be more or less. If you’re journaling, you may want to start with a goal of just a couple sentences, adding more each day.
Determine the time of day you are most productive
Every one of us has a time of day where we really hit our stride. For me, it’s early-mid afternoon. Some people want to write as soon as they get up early in the morning, still in the “dream state.” Other people are most productive late at night. Whatever your preference, make it a routine.
Know where you are going
All writing has a structure: beginning, middle, and end. If you don’t know your purpose, you will flounder. Novelists may have to think far ahead to the endgame. If you are writing a blogpost, start with a main point that you will elaborate. For journaling, it still helps to have a sense of the thoughts you want to convey to yourself.
Have a writing buddy
Checking in with another writer can be a life-saver. You can keep each other accountable for keeping your writing goals. If you’re brave enough to share what you’ve written, your writing buddy can offer an honest reaction. Or search for an online community. Join SJCPL’s Online Writer’s Workshop group on Facebook. Writing may be a solitary activity, but that doesn’t mean we have to exist in a vacuum.
While it’s important to meet your goals, fostering your creativity is crucial. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Try designing your book cover. Cut out art from magazines, newspapers, or old comic pages. Or go digital and paste images into a document. I like to use Canva, which has an option for creating book covers.
Half the fun of journaling is the journal itself. Pick a journal and decorate it with whatever supplies you have at home. You can even draw and paste art inside your journal.
Did you know that your creative brain works more easily when you use pen and paper rather than a keyboard? Try a stream-of-consciousness exercise. Spend a few minutes writing but don’t stop to think. Just write.
So you’re ready to write, now what?
It’s important to remember that any writing you do is acceptable, even if you don’t reach your goal. Just a couple of sentences, as long as you write something. You can always go back and edit later. It’s all about the process.
Join our Online Writer's Workshop for more tips and workshopping opportunities.