Starting The New Year On The Write Note
My New Year’s resolution for 2015 is to set aside some time each day to write. Like many others, I have a love-hate relationship with writing: while I very much enjoy putting my thoughts down on paper, actually getting started is a painful process for me. As a result, I am ‘way behind on a number of articles that I’ve agreed to write for various websites and organizations, I’m having trouble getting past the research stage for a new book that I’m putting together, and my posts on this blog have been sporadic, to put it charitably. I’m very envious of colleagues like Andrzej Marczewski, who seems to churn out blog posts about gamification as reliably as Big Ben chimes the hour.
Since I always begin any writing project by doing at least some research, here’s some advice from multiple sources around the internet about getting into the writing habit, which I am sharing with you in case you’d like to write more regularly too:
- Don’t just plan to write — write. (P.D. James)
- Write…. only about things that interest you. (Annie Proulx)
- Decide when in the day (or night) it best suits you to write, and organize your life accordingly. (Andrew Motion)
- Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you. (Zadie Smith)
- Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet. (Zadie Smith)
- You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. (Jack London)
- Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down. (Neil Gaiman)
- Don’t concentrate on technique, which can be the same as concentrating on yourself. Give yourself to your story. (tracy Kidder and Richard Todd)
- Jot down ideas and phrases as they occur to you. Free yourself from paragraphs and sentences for the moment–use flow charts, arrows, boxes, outlines, even pictures. (The Center for Writing Studies)
- Make the paragraph the unit of composition. (Strunk & White)
- Don’t panic. (Sarah Walters)
- Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. (Joshua Wolf Shenk)
- Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it. (Zadie Smith)
- Write drunk; edit sober. (Ernest Hemmingway). (Since I often write in my work office, I’ll take “drunk” to be a synonym for “care freely”.)
- Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time! (Henry Miller)
- Work on one thing at a time until finished. (Henry Miller)
- Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it. (Neil Gaiman)
Well, that got me through my first writing assignment since making my resolution! Now, to get started on that book!
Posted on December 29, 2014, in Career Advice, My Career. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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