You may have seen the Pinterest pins and read article after article that promised to make you a better writer. But there are certain tips and pieces of advice that the writing community does not discuss often and very well may be preventing your writing from shining in its truest form.
I have been writing for about fifteen years. I started writing miniature chapter books as a child before slowly developing longer novels by the time I finished high school. I dabbled lightly in poetry too. As a college graduate, I have written two full novels, several short stories, and a plethora of poetry.
Along the way, I have read and mulled over the same writing tips the writing community loves to address, but I was always in search of something more, something new, a tip that I never stumbled upon. If you find yourself to be in a similar situation, presented to you are some writing tips you have never heard of before.
Tip #1: Do not write everyday
“Write everyday” is advice repeated from the mouths of skilled writers and creative writing instructors. I know this tip might sound peculiar, but I think much of what writing is about is decision making and small contributions.
Each day fluctuates in terms of prolificness. All writers experience the exhilarating feeling of words flowing with ease while at other moments they seem to dribble with struggle. Writer’s block or not, writers encounter inconvenient moments where no words seem to fit. In these times, it isn’t about adding twenty pages to the story, but rather working out the kinks and making small decisions.
If you are not writing everyday, aim to contribute something to your writing each day. This can include deciding on the themes your story will feature. It may even be settling on the name of a soon-to-be-introduced character. Quite possibly, it may be making a list of words you want to integrate into a high-action scene. Or it can be finally coming up with the title of your next chapter.
A daily contribution to your writing allows for direct decision making rather than hasty choices that could throw your story off course, leading to major deletion and editing later. Small contributions are still helping to craft the book that holds bestseller potential. Contributions multiply over time and you are still able to achieve the first draft.
As writers, our story never strays far from our mind, making those daily contributions easy to obtain to.
Tip #2: Take A Writing Vacation
This is another strange writing tip to hear, but after a personal account that found a two month writing break to be beneficial for the greater good of my work, I stand by this idea.
The story starts during my sophomore year of college when I went through an intense phase of hating everything I wrote and every story idea that popped into my head. At this point, I was enrolled in my first creative writing course in my college career. Each piece I submitted to be graded I felt embarrassed that the words were mine. I just felt like I lost myself as a writer and I was unsure of what caused this feeling to bud.
Following the end of the semester, I took a solid two months off from writing. During this time, I didn’t write a single word and I didn’t think about writing either. I knew I wasn’t done writing and the passion I had never faded either. It was still something I knew I would return to.
When I made my return to writing I gravitated toward poetry. The Notes app on my phone began to fill with poetry that flooded my mind from early morning to late night. As I wrote, I took notice to this new side of writing, a new style and voice that felt more natural than ever.
After dedicating myself to poetry more than I have in the past, I took a step back into the world of novel writing. As I wrote each chapter, I noticed that the style my poems took was bleeding into my longer stories.
My two-month writing break was refreshing and helped me discover who I was as a writer. Now, it’s easier for me to notice when I’m not being my true self and am trying too hard to be a writer I’m not.
Breaks are good, reflective even. Whether they are a few weeks or a couple months, the time away from writing can teach you a lot about who are as a writer and who you want to be as an author. The therapeutic experience for me is something I recommend to all writers if they find themselves in a state of being unsure about their work.