Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keeping Your Writing Interesting

There's nothing like stale writing; sort of like stale toast that you cooked up an hour ago and forgot to eat. How to keep things fresh when it comes to writing takes some planning, a willingness to shift gears quickly, and guts when guts are needed.


Photo by John McCumpha, courtesy of Flickr
Allow me to tackle each fresh idea separately:

Planning.

Planning is one of those things that takes time. But I like to think of planning like drawing out a map and filling in the cities, states and so forth. When I plan I make sure I know the days and times that I'll be working and the projects I'll be working on. But nothing is en graven in stone. Some general planning for today includes:

1. Putting out 5 marketing items--I'm on 3 currently. I got my books put on BookDaily.com, got a video placed on YouTube, and I'm working on #3 here by putting out this blog. (I've learned recently that putting out 5 items a day keeps your work in front of your readers and helps them to remember what you do).

2. Working on my novel for at least two hours between 1 and 3.

Photo by: K. Tyler Conk, courtesy of Flickr
Shift Gears.

There's nothing worse than having a plan and then having your plan interrupted. But know this, it happens to all writers, whether they plan well or not. Shifting gears means putting down your edit so you can get your child a drink of water. It means taking that phone call or answering the door when you don't want to. Now I'm not suggesting you not take your work seriously--there are times I don't answer the phone or the door, but there are other times when I do. I am flexible about this because I know with grandchildren in the house, the need for help can be frequent. When I shift gears easily, instead of fighting it and forcing the outcome that I want, I usually find that I can get back to my writing that much sooner.

Guts.

It takes guts to keep writing when the house needs cleaning or the wash needs to get done. It takes guts when some of your family members don't understand that your writer is a career and not just a past-time. It takes guts to throw out an entire chapter that isn't working and start over, or chop out that favorite line or paragraph. But when you plan, you also plan to fail (at least sometimes) and you need to have enough courage to keep going even when it hurts.

It also takes guts to leave one project and tackle another or put one aside for two weeks before you go back and revise. 
Keeping your writing interesting takes more than writing every day. It takes planning for success, shifting those gears when necessary, and using your guts even when it hurts.

Especially when it hurts.
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