Ever wonder how you can be more creative and productive in your writing? Me too. In fact, many times as I was writing the Tompkin’s School Trilogy I found myself wasting time on a difficult part of the plot or having such high word count goals that I would get burnt out.
And when one gets burnt out it’s hard to be creative or productive.
It took time, but I finally finished writing Tompkin’s School and after using many of the tips I’m about to share with you, I was able to make it even better than I possibly could’ve imagined. These strategies have helped me complete 7 novels and are tips that I will continue to use in my current and future writing projects.
Whether you’re a writer of fantasy, nonfiction, or even a blogger, creativity plays an important role in creating engaging content.
Not surprisingly, a lot of people (myself at times, particularly when life get distracting) find it difficult to sit in front of a computer or notebook and hash out a three-hundred page novel.
Maybe this isn’t you. Perhaps you’ve written thousands and thousands of pages, have hundreds of books published, and never experience an uninspired moment in your life. If that’s the case, please comment and share with me your secrets!
But for the rest of us mere mortals, there are times when our muse just isn’t singing. Whether it’s because you’re stuck with writer’s block or your motivation is lacking, the end result is that nothing gets written at all. Which is a sad thing, indeed.
Don’t let this get you down, though. It’s a common problem.
So how can we combat this and be more creative and productive in our writing?
1. Start Small
Choose a time-frame each day where you’re going to write. Don’t pick the whole entire Saturday (even if you’re lucky to have the whole day free). Chances are you’ll just be sitting in front of a blank slate for hours on end.
This doesn’t help motivation.
Set a few hours during some free time and then reward yourself once you’ve written your word count goals by getting up and doing something fun! Or just something else entirely.
2. Set a Word Count Goal
Now that we have our timeframe and we’re not just expected to type and type for endless hours, days, weeks, on end, we need to set a word count goal. Keep it low so that you can exceed your expectations and if you’re low on time you don’t feel bad for just reaching your number. After all, you did reach your goal!
For example, when I’m not on a deadline and on a time crunch, I set my goal for 500 words. There are many times where I write more than my goal or times where I could’ve written more and gotten wiped out/behind on chores, errands, and other parts of life. But I don’t. I stop. I get up and take care of business and then return to writing during my next timed session with a fresh pair of eyes (this is also what I do when I hit a writing roadblock).
Sometimes, though, I surprise myself and surpass my writing goal within my allotted time. Trust me, this feels way better than the alternative.
3. Read. A lot.
Yes, yes, I know that this isn’t really a new idea, but it’s so true. The more you read in the genre you wish to write in, the better writer you’ll be and the easier the words will flow. It may surprise you how quickly your writing will improve in, say, the mystery genre if you pick up a Sherlock Holmes book. Or if you’re writing an urban fantasy and haven’t read any lately then it’ll probably be difficult to write in a way that will engage your readers.
Reading will also enhance your creativity and give you the tools you’ll need to write a compelling narrative.
4. Find a Writing Support Group
When you’re just starting out in your writing career, finding an outside perspective is crucial. You may be reluctant to share because of fear of negative feedback but you want it. Even if you don’t know it yet. It’s much better to hear what’s crap about your writing now than to have it smeared all over in the reviews after your book is published.
In addition, having an outside perspective will often aid in generating new ideas, a creative new twist to take your plot, and overall advance your writing skills. There are many ways to get this feedback, from inquiring about a support group at your local library to finding a virtual group on social media. Gaining feedback is the best way to improve and if you let it, will boost your creativity.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things Up.
If you’re finding it hard to write and you’ve lost your creativity, then perhaps it’s time to change things up. If you’re writing at a desk, move to the couch. If you’re writing with something that’s not mobile, perhaps move the direction you’re facing, open a window, light a candle to set the mood. Whatever you can do to put yourself in an entirely different environment will help boost your mood and in turn your creativity.
Another way to boost your creativity by changing things up is to write something altogether, like poetry or scriptwriting. A lot of times we get stuck writing in a specific way or pattern that it makes it difficult to write creatively. By taking a break from your current writing project to write something entirely different it will give your brain a chance to relax and potentially trigger new ideas.
Are you feeling inspired to try out some of these techniques? I hope so! The most important thing is to start small and set realistic goals. If you’re not a fast writer, don’t feel bad. Just make sure that you carve out time to write every day no matter what your word count goal is. And finally, don’t be afraid to change things up when your creativity starts to wane. Experiment with new techniques, take different classes, or find a supportive group of fellow writers who can offer encouragement when the going gets tough. By following these simple tips, you’ll likely see an increase in your productivity and creativity as a writer.